From Coco’s Owner: Coco is my beautiful 5 year old blue merle Australian Shepherd. My old primary veterinarian had noticed Coco’s red blood cell count (PVC) was low during her yearly wellness checkup. I began monitoring her f for any changes in behavior and her gum/nose/belly pinkness. The vet instructed me to keep going about as normal, and there was really nothing I could do to ensure that her borderline anemia did not get worse.
On the evening of July 15th, during her nightly teeth brushing I noticed her gums were very pale as well as her nose and belly. That evening her breathing was very slow and heavy. The following day I took her to the vet and they told me I needed to take her to the emergency veterinary clinic as soon as possible, because her red blood cell count had dropped to 14. After checking her into Pet Emergency and Specialty Center they recommend an immediate blood transfusion, ultrasound to see if she had anything cancerous and/or tumors in her abdomen, and a full tick panel to rule out lyme or another tick borne illness.
Two days later, after the transfusion and the lab results came back, they determined that the transfusion did not make much of an improvement as they had hoped, The ER vet believed it was IMHA and recommended that we go forward with a bone marrow procedure to confirm. She had the procedure that same day, and I was able to take her home the following day. Coco was given new medication to preemptively start treating her for IMHA while waiting for the bone marrow results to come back. I went back on the 22nd for a recheck, and it was confirmed that she has IMHA and she also has fibrosis in the bone marrow.
I am a disabled military veteran and live off of my monthly disability compensation and my veteran education benefits as a full-time student. I was able to get a care credit line when I took Coco in to the emergency vet but I have already exceeded that limit and a friend allowed me to charge the balance on her card. I applied for a grant through a local veterinary program but was turned down because of the nature of her disease.
Coco will need to be monitored every few days for now and if her blood count drops again she will need another blood transfusion which is very expensive. This is a difficult disease to deal with with, but I cannot give up on my special girl without doing everything I can to fight this illness.
Primary - Helix Pet Hospital, La Mesa, CA
Emergency - Pet Emergency and Specialty Center