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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My male Beagle, Mickey, is 8 1/2 years old. About 4 months ago he was in pain in his neck and shoulder area. After the vet examined him and took xrays (which showed no problems) we assumed he had a compressed disk in his neck/shoulder area and he was put on Rimadyl for 6 weeks. He has never been quite the same since. He is lathargic and his gums and eyelids are pale. He has no fever or any other signs of illness but he seems almost depressed. I took him back to the vet about one week ago and his red blood cell count was at 13 (should be around 35). We've run every test imaginable and taken more xrays but can't diagnose him. He is being treated with prendisone and an antibiotic. We are worried sick about him. Has anyone else ever had such a situation? Please comment as any info would be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Birddog, Well, Mickey's PCV count was down to 10 (what is your dog's PCV count?) and we went ahead and gave him a blood transfusion (that costs about $700 for the blood, but the vet stay came to $3000.00) He responded very well, but his count started to slip down about 1 month later. We began hormone injections 3X/week for about 2 months this kept his count at about 22 which is not great but they can live comfortably. When we stopped the hormone injections I was worried that the count would drop, but it didn't. He is still on predisone daily. It has been 9 months since he became ill. This summer he went on a road trip with us and on vacation for a month and he did great!!! Good luck to you. This can be hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Bird dog, I don't remember the name of the hormone, but it was meant to increase red blood cell production. My vet said that any PCV count under 20 was criticle. You might want to start thinking about the predisone. We eliminated all the tick-born illnesses too and the only answer left was an auto immune system disorder. So by suppressing the immune system w/steroids you give the body a chance to make more red blood cells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
When we faced the question of doing a Marrow test I asked the doctor these questions: Is it painful ? If the results of the marrow test show that the disease is in the marrow are the treatments any different than what we are doing right now? Is it a dangerous test. The answers were that it is very uncomfortable for the dog as it is very intrusive. The treatment would be exactly the same and that any test that is that intrusive can have it's complications. All of that information plus the fact that I had reached my financial threshold (which was a secondary reason, but still a factor) helped me to decide to leave that test out.
After Mickey had the transfusion his PCV count went into the high 30's, but expect that number to drop a little. The steroid treatment can take a long time to work, but eventually they do respond. Mickey was as ill as your Maggie in January. It is September and he is still with us. Not 100%, but very comfortable and with a very high quality of life. At the end of the day our vet/treatment bills came to $9000.00. It was worth every penny, but now he is 9.5 years old and should he relapse I will be prepared to say goodbye. For now it looks like he will be with us for a very long time !!!!!Best of luck. It is so emotional when we love these little guys so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We struggled with Mickey's weight too as he has been ravenous since being on the prendisone. I'm sure your vet told you not to exercise Maggie. We were told just to let Mickey out to use the bathroom and then come back in to rest for about 3 months. He now has the energy to sniff around the yard and be outside for longer periods of time. Also, the heat really tires him out. We live in Scottsdale, AZ so we are just now able to go outside for any length of time. We also spent the month of July in MN and as you know in Wisconsin, this summer was beastly hot and humid. Mickey really stayed in the A/C for most of the days. Instead of feeding him 2 times a day, I've started feeding him mini-meals several times a day. That helps keep him full (I think)!! Also, instead of dog treats, I give him ice cube chips. That helps with the thirst as well as the hunger !! We never were able to figure out what caused this either. I suspected a drug called Rymidal (sp) because when this first happened he had been taking that drug for a shoulder pain that he had. I did alot of research on the internet and found that other people suspected that drug caused anemia as well. The vet said no, he didnt think that had anything to do with it. Who really knows!! All I know is that my husband and I and the two kids are so grateful that we didn't lose our little guy!! Best of luck with Maggie and keep me posted!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just can't believe this!! Just yesterday, about 1:00 p.m. I took Mickey to have his nails trimmed. On my way into the groomer I thought to myself, "I wonder how Maggy is doing"? AMAZING!!!! Well, it is so good to hear from you and I'm thrilled that Maggy is doing so well. I've been weening Mickey from the Prendisone as well. I made this decision on my own as I just do not have the funds to keep paying for vet vistis. The last time he saw a vet was in July up in Mpls. He is down to 10 mg. every other day. He seems to be doing very well. He as alot of energy and has his personality back! Also, alot of pink color in his gums and ears! I am taking him in for an assessment on Dec. 30 as I am almost out of prendisone and I should really get some professional advice. Enjoy your Christmas!!! I am so glad that you're having success with Maggy!! Take care!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Well, Mickey is still with us and his quality of life is pretty good. His red blood cell level is not normal. His PCV was at 28 when I had him checked this past January. Normal would be between 37-45-ish. He is still on prendesone and that has caused his liver and spleen to enlarge alot and he is VERY heavy. He also tires quickly and pretty much lays around all day. But he is happy and not in any pain and he is loved. Mickey turns 10 years old this June and we are happy to have him with us! Thanks for asking.
 
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