Thursday, April 29, 2004

Hailey Gave Us Quite A Scare

Yesterday, we got quite a scare from Hailey.

It was time for her vaccinations. And, we suspected she had a bladder infection. After acquiring a urine sample (“Mom, what are you doing behind me while I try to pee?”), Lynne was taking Hailey to the vet mid-morning. On the way, Hailey started coughing up blood. Well, instead of vaccinations she got a good examination to figure out where the blood was coming from and why. Actually, there was no definitive answer. The urine sample did show lots of white blood cells and an infection, so antibiotics were prescribed and she was sent home.

After an hour or so, Lynne noticed continued bleeding, now coming from the nose. So, she rushed Hailey to a close-by specialty/emergency hospital (which we happen to know very, very well…).

The bleeding would not stop. She was swallowing blood and aspirating blood into her lungs. Her packed cell count was down to 16% from a normal level of about 40%. She was close to anemia, heart arrythmia, and other problems due to blood loss and lack of oxygen to her system.

The vets found a small wound behind her tonsil, and they had to cauterize it to stop the bleeding. She needed a blood transfusion from a donor dog (a black lab…so now we call her a “labernese”) overnight.

There was an immediate assumption that something was causing a condition that prevented her blood from clotting. As I understand it, there were three possible general causes: 1) some kind of clotting disorder that might be causing a lack of vitamin K; 2) her eating some kind of rodenticide that prevents blood clotting as a method for killing mice and rats; 3) Von Willebrand’s disease, an inherited or acquired disease that prevent blood from clotting.

We proceeded to have her tested for all conditions. As of this writing, we’ve only ruled out the first. Clotting tests were all positive.

The vet thinks this was some kind of one-time issue, caused by something like rodenticide…although we have been unable to find the source or cause. More test results over the next few days will tell us more.

In the meantime, she is pretty much back to normal. She is happy and relatively active. We are supervising her closely, making sure she doesn’t do anything to cause bruising or bleeding. She is eating soft food only and we don’t allow her to chew on plastic bones or sticks from the yard. She is on an antibiotic to both fight the infection in her bladder as well as any potential infection from blood in her lungs.

We came very, very close to losing her last night. We didn’t sleep a wink, each having our own nightmares about possible bad outcomes. Still, she is here with us as happy and cute as ever and we are so very grateful to the specialists who cared for her and the Black Lab who donated blood.

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Posted under: Dog Stuff • by Rick on 04/29/2004 at 09:07 PM
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  1. Today, we got the news that Hailey does have borderline Von Willebrand’s Disease. I need to research it more, but apparently the disease exists when a certain factor (called Von Willebrand’s) in the blood drops below 35%. Hailey’s is at 39%.

    So, it is borderline. Nevertheless, we must deal with it as a serious illness. First steps are to get a prescription for a clotting agent that can be given by shot in case of an injury. Next, we need to get clotting agents that can be used in case we clip a toenail, or something minor like that. We’ll package these things together into a kit-bag that goes everywhere she goes.

    We’ve decided to be cautious and watchful—smart, really—but not overly restrict her activities or her life.

    Also, we’ll need to get her spayed soon, and that carries it own dangers, of course. After spaying, in some cases, the changed hormone levels cause the Von Willebrand’s danger to decrease. We are not yet sure of the dangers of allowing her to have a normal heat, so we need to figure that out and that will give us the timing on the spay.

    We are now in the process of calling all related dogs (their owners, actually) and telling them about this disease. We assume Sailor may be a carrier as well as the bitch he bred to (Hailey’s mom). The other puppies in Hailey’s litter should be tested. And, it goes on.

    A very sad day for us.

    I’ll be posting more comments to this article clarifying things, providing links to information and documenting what we learn and how we deal with it. That way, maybe others can learn from our experiences.

    Posted by Rick  on  05/04/2004  at  07:05 PM
  2. Sorry to hear about Hailey & glad she is doing better!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/05/2004  at  02:01 PM
  3. Very interesting blog!

    Posted by Gaby  on  09/16/2005  at  12:07 PM
  4. Realy good site!

    Posted by Donny  on  09/16/2005  at  12:15 PM

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