Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Louie by Numbers

One week ago, that is last Tuesday, Scissors called me at work to report that Louie was not himself and appeared to be off balance. We called the vet and brought him in that evening where blood was drawn and no reassurances given. There was also concern on the vet's part that Louie's mucous membranes were light in color.

The following day, I called in for the results and was told that the vet was in with eight dogs and the other vet was only there for "exotics" which Louie having neither scales nor feathers, qualified as. I waited anxiously and finally got a call in the afternoon from the vet saying that Louie's immune system had gone askew and was essentially destroying its own red blood cells and the count was low. The good news was that he was still producing them. Essentially he had something called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) which though the doctors can't confirm but certainly won't deny was brought on by the vaccines administered on his visit the week prior as a healthy dog in for a routine checkup and vaccinations. Apparently, in a very small number, vaccines have been linked to AIHA (something like 4 in 10,000). Maybe Louie and I should play the lottery.

His red blood cell count was 20.5 and when we tested it the following night it had just dropped to 20. Louie was again tested last night after five days on steroids and antibiotics, and the numbers are encouragingly going up, now 24. The normal range is reportedly somewhere between 40-59 so we're not out of the woods yet. He is getting a little color back in his gums and his appetite is back. I was never so happy as to see him begging for food again. His energy level is still understandably low and we are being quite ginger with him.

We were rather devastated when the doctor first told me as she was sprinkling terms such as "can be fatal" into the diagnosis delivery. I pressed her for stats from the practice which seemed a bit more encouraging. The young vet that we saw last night had personal experience as her dog has AIHA and did have two relapses but is alive and doing well otherwise. We have every belief that Louie will recuperate and beat this into remission.

We are upset that doctors don't (and I did let the head vet called in to discuss last night know) tell owners of dogs about this possible link. Although sympathetic to my feelings on the matter, they tried to explain with the usual scientific lack of evidence argument but I won't be swayed on this. Of course being a hindsight holistic myself, I should never have given Louie all the vaccinations on one day. In fact when I went home, Scissors was more than upset that Louie did have all of his vaccinations and felt that it was too many for our little pup. Who knows if it was numbers, or a certain combo, or if Louie's system was a little askew and this just threw him. Now we probably won't have him vaccinated or have to take extreme caution before doing so in the future. Some vaccines last three years in the system even though vets administer them annually. That's something they didn't tell me before this. Again the argument being that the titer test to find out if it's necessary is about $65 while the vaccine itself is $15. I'd like to have made that decision myself. Thank you. Caveat emptor.

It has been a roller coaster of a week but we're hoping that Louie's future (and gums) will turn a rosy shade. But please, if you have dogs (and cats which seem to be prone to a lesser degree to AIHA) reconsider how your beloved pets are vaccinated and how many of them are really necessary. Louie thinks it important and I'm sure your furry family will too.

PS: Ethical question: Scissors is upset and doesn't think that we should go back to the same veterinary practice. I am upset too and although not thrilled with the lack of caution on vaccines (which we of course know stems quite a bit from the monetary as well as scientific standpoint), feel that it could have happened at any practice that administers the vaccines all at once. In truth, I can't help but hold it against the practice a bit myself but you know that's the mother in me talking. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

I'm sitting here with Tali providing moral support while she completes a project for school. I miss my blog. I miss writing. I can't get out of the habit of writing everyday events into posts in my mind. Maybe it's time to put a few to paper. Miss you all. Have been hopping about, trying to catch up. I really miss each of your blogs and the individual perspective that they provide. Often times I come for a visit while I'm at work and can't really get into "comment mode."

I'll be around soon. That's both a promise and a threat.

On the collage above: Just some random photos that were saved as catching my eye. Wish that I had the proper info. to credit them. Go ahead, click on it and have a good look.

Also on the collage: When Tali asked what I was doing, I told her that I was just making a collage for a blog post. Her reply, "that's like something 70 year olds would do." I was both offended and amused all at once. "Well, I'm preparing myself" was my more terse than I planned to let on reply.

PS: I'm also terribly sorry about not returning comments on my previous posts. I've read and appreciated them all.