I would like to take a moment to apologize to all of you faithful readers who may have been wondering why I haven’t been living up to my New Year’s Resolution of three posts per week.
Initially, I was extremely busy with work. My company hosts a conference and trade show every year, and I’m in charge of the show’s website and much of the collateral that goes along with it–name badges, conference directory, signage, etc. This year, not only did I do all of that, but I was working on making innovative pieces that were totally different than anything we’d ever done. I was also working directly with the printers we were using for the items, instead of having my boss handling that. It was a lot of work, and 3 straight weeks of minimum 10 hour days. While I love my job, it was stressful, to say the least.
But on top of everything, Trixie was sick. If you’re a fan on Facebook, you’ve been getting updates. If not, or even if you are, here’s what’s been going on…
It started off with a simple infection, which really wasn’t all that simple because it was actually a cancer scare–our second one recently. Talk about stress! But, we were able to clear it up with a simple, two-week round of antibiotics. Er, well, we thought it cleared up. It hadn’t, so we did a second round of antibiotics for two weeks. During that course, we noticed it didn’t seem to be getting much better, and that the infection was spreading to other lymph nodes. We kept an eye on things, intending to finish out the two weeks of meds before taking her back to the vet.
We were on our last day of meds when things headed south fast. Hubs and I had driven out to Michigan with my parents to help them with some stuff regarding the construction they’re doing at the lake house. We left at 6AM, after a lump-check, and returned at around 3PM. My mom mentioned to me that she had felt a small bump, and I told her we knew about it and that I was calling the vet about it Monday because her meds clearly hadn’t worked.
But then I noticed the lump had gone from the size of a Lima bean to the size of a Clementine orange, and looked bruised. It was instant panic, and after confirming with my mom that she had felt it when it was small, we rushed in to the emergency vet. After giving the vet a rundown of Trixie’s recent history, a visual exam, and some prodding, they took Trixie in back to do a blood draw. The results were terrifying.
“Her white count is well below the normal range, but her platelet count is what scares me,” is what the vet said. Trixie’s platelet count was, shockingly, at zero. For a dog, the normal platelet count starts at 160,000, she explained, so this was not only abnormal, but very scary, and very lucky. Even as we sat there, the area around Trixie’s lump grew more and more bruised. She was essentially bleeding out internally, because her blood couldn’t clot itself.
They kept her overnight, while my husband and I worried. I was sick over it, and spent hours awake crying, trying not to wake my husband, and fighting the urge to call to check on her every 5 minutes. Thankfully, it was Saturday that all of this went down, because Sunday we were able to go in and see her without missing work.
When we went to see her Sunday, the vet informed us that her counts were up enough that we could take her home. This was good news, but not great. She still had to be kept somewhere where she couldn’t jump on anything or get hurt in any way, because her platelet count was still so low that she would bleed out if she were injured. So we slept on an air mattress in our spare room with the dog. During the day, we boarded her at the vet so we wouldn’t have to worry.
Rather quickly, her platelet count rose to a near-normal level, and boarding her daily wasn’t necessary. She was on 6 pills every morning and 5 every evening, and took them all like a champ with some peanut butter. I still slept with her on the air mattress, because we didn’t want her jumping on the bed, and she needed to go out every 2 hours or so. We were (and still are) on a strict feeding schedule because of the meds.
We’re done with 2 of the meds, which is fantastic, but not off everything. She’s still on prednisone and it makes her eat and drink like crazy, which means we’re still getting up multiple in the middle of the night to let her out to pee. In another 2 weeks we head back to the vet for another CBC. It’s completely unknown how long she’ll have to be on prednisone or the-one-I-can’t-pronounce-but-am-not-supposed-to-touch-because-it-could-fuck-with-my-reproductive-goodies.
It’s also completely unknown what caused all of this. It may have been a reaction to carprofin, which is the generic form of Rimadyl, an NSAID for dogs, which she was on for some discomfort and swelling related to an infection she had. I’d switched her to that after 2 weeks of Rimadyl and an antibiotic for said infection, because it hadn’t gone away. Whether or not the infection hadn’t gone away (or came about in the first place) because her white count was suddenly low to begin with, we’ll never know. There’s now a note in her chart that she’s not to have NSAIDs ever again, because I don’t want to chance it. But past that, it’s anyone’s best guess as to whether this was medication or autoimmune.
What we do know, is that we were extremely lucky. Had we not been monitoring that lump, or had she bruised in an area of her body that wasn’t so visible, it’s quite likely that we wouldn’t have found this at all. And it’s entirely possible that she would have passed away “suddenly”, without us understanding why or what happened.
While this whole ordeal is costing us a fortune, has stressed us out like crazy, and is leaving us not fully rested for who knows how long, I’m ok with that. Trixie is ok, and she’s going to continue to get better. In fact, as of last Monday, her platelet count was back up into the healthy, normal range, which means her next CBC determines whether-or-not we can start weaning her off the meds. It’s likely an ordeal that is going to last months, and may be trying at times, but I’m ok with that, because she’s going to be ok.
Thank you again for all of the support and love you’ve shown Trixie.
It’s brought tears to my eyes, on more than one occasion, seeing well-wishes from friends and family, and even complete strangers. It’s kept all of us in better spirits, which I know has helped get us through this. From the bottom of all of our hearts, it’s meant the world. A big huge thank you to all of you for your continued support and love!