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Reggie has IMHA

Reggie hasn’t been feeling well the past few days and has eaten very little so I took him to the vets this afternoon; the results were not good. Reggie has Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA)…his immune system is trying to fight something and is instead destroying his own red-blood cells. The prognosis is basically unknown at this time. It partly depends on whether we can find the cause, which might be a tick bite, cancer or other illness, a reaction to drugs, or it might be that he was simply predisposed to it. If they can find and if fight the cause, then the outlook might be better, but overall this is really bad. Here’s additional information about IMHA.

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Reggie is now in an animal hospital about 45 minutes away from me, but nearer my parent’s town. This hospital was chosen because they are very good, they provide 24-hour care instead of just days or just nights, and they have specialists there all the time. Reggie is also dehydrated and his weight is down to 13+ pounds; he was 15-16 pounds a few months ago. They are starting IV drugs at the hospital, but if he gets worse he might have to have a blood transfusion, which this hospital does. He’s already had several blood tests, including one sample being sent out for the tick test. Reggie’s vets didn’t mention, but the hospital also thinks an ultra scan should also be done. They’re going to discuss that with the vets tomorrow morning.

The good news is that most of Reggie’s other blood counts were good. It’s also good news that Reggie is still pretty active. He wasn’t eating much and was sleeping a lot, but he also was still trotting around the yard for extended periods whenever I put him out. I won’t know more till mid- or late-morning Saturday.

Sigh.

Saturday Update (1:00 P.M.): Reggie did really well through the night. His platelets did not drop any further, so he has not needed a transfusion. That’s really good news. He’s eating and drinking a little, so they have taken him off the IV drugs and switched him to pills. Since platelet counts can drop radically during the start of treatment, they want to keep him till at least tomorrow. I’ve got a call into Reggie’s regular vets to discuss the ultra scan issue and next steps.

Sunday Update (11:00 A.M.): I just talked to the animal hospital and they said Reggie continues to do pretty well. (They said pretty well, but didn’t really define what they meant by that.) It was a bit of an odd conversation. First she said he ate a lot after my visit…but I hadn’t visited because they didn’t want him getting upset when I left. Then she named the wrong dog food…twice…but I’m not sure if she was distracted and was saying j/d when she meant g/d or if he really ate the wrong food. I’ll check when I’m there. Good grief! (They were giving him the right food; she was just saying the wrong thing.) They said he can come home, so I’m leaving shortly to get him. We’re all sure he’ll eat and sleep better here. Fortunately, they told me yesterday that he might be able to come home today so I went to an early church service. We both need sleep, but I also have a lot of work to do. He’ll probably go back later in the week for an ultra sound.

Sunday Update (2:30 P.M.): Reggie is home. YAY! He seems better than he was, but it’s clear he still doesn’t feel great. He drank a ton of water as soon as we got home and a second ton a few minutes later. He’s trotted around the yard already and is now curled up in his bed. He’s also licking the area where his IV was…hopefully that will stop soon. The area has stopped bleeding, which is a concern since his platelets were so low. I didn’t realize till after we left the hospital that I never heard what his platelet count was from their last test. Yesterday morning it was in the mid-twenties, but today they just said that it was up. I’ll ask the vets tomorrow.

We still don’t know what has caused his immune system to attack his red blood cells. I’ll call tomorrow to schedule an ultra sound scan for him and we’re still waiting for results from the tick blood test. We won’t really know how treatable this is until we know the cause. Thanks for all your prayers!

Sunday Update (11:00 P.M.): Each time I called the animal hospital to check on Reggie, the technicians told me he was just fine, very quiet and very sweet. I learned tonight that wasn’t really the full truth. Reggie threw up tonight. Normally I deal with it and we move on, but when I first took Reggie to the vets and then the animal hospital they both asked a few times if he’d thrown up. So when he did tonight, I decided I’d better call. As I talked to the doctor, she asked what Reggie’s behavior had been since he’d been home. I told her he’d been sleeping most of the time, which I’d expected him to do. She revealed she wasn’t surprised, because Reggie had paced and dug a lot while at the hospital. They’d tried covering his cage to calm him down, they’d put him in the doctor’s office area instead of the kennel area with other dogs and a few other things…but Reggie had rarely slept his two nights there. I don’t know if this means Reggie was fine and resting during the day, which is when I was checking on him, and only restless at night…or if they just were giving me a standard line; “he’s fine.” As I told the doctor, Reggie’s nervousness is exactly why he’s never been overnight at a vet’s, hospital or kennel.

As for the vomiting, she didn’t seem too concerned. He ate a little yogurt afterward, but she said he shouldn’t have anything else for a few hours. Since we don’t know how much of his medication had been digested, we’ll have to wait till morning to continue with that. She also said to keep an eye on him during the night. I guess I’ll be getting up every few hours, but I doubt he has anything else in his stomach to make him sick. The big question is what to do if the vomiting continues…is it food that’s making him sick, nerves from being in the hospital or the medication? Sigh. Poor Reggie.

Monday Update (early afternoon): Reggie slept all night and was a bit annoyed with me for checking on him around 4:00 A.M. He’s slept most of today, but is peppy and happy when he’s up. He ate some yogurt and rice for breakfast, and kept that and his medicines all down. He’s not drinking much water and that is a concern, but I can’t really force him to drink. His ultrasound is scheduled for Wednesday morning. Now, if he’d just drink and stay healthy, and if we could both wake up enough to be more active!!!

Wednesday Update: Reggie’s ultrasound showed no major issues, but some minor issues. The good news is that there were no sign of tumors or cancer! His liver, which used to be abnormally small and uniform, is now slightly enlarged and has a few inconsistencies. The doctor didn’t seem to think this was too big of a concern. There were also signs of new stones starting in both his kidneys and bladders, but they weren’t big enough to worry about at this point. I’ll have to discuss the results with Reggie’s vets. We still don’t know what is causing the IMHA.

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