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Sudden atraumatic bruising and petechiae - worried sick.

(88 Posts)
moosemama Fri 22-Feb-19 13:35:56

Just waiting for it to be time to go to our emergency vet appointment, but thought I’d ask on here if anyone has any ideas, as I am driving myself round the twist worrying.

Woke this morning, everything seemed normal, dogs not behaving out of the ordinary at all, then at 10.00, when he rolled over whilst playing, I noticed my 5 year old male lurcher had what looked like a big (about 2 1/12 inch diameter) very dark purple, almost black bruise between his back legs. Checked him over, he had another 50p size one on his side and smaller petechia on the inside of his back leg. I didn’t panic until I saw the petechia, as he is accident prone and well known at the vets for ripping his paper thin skin as a result of brakes failure and general pointy dog mayhem, so I initally though he must have failed to brake and maybe slid into the old tree stump in the garden. Although that would have been odd for him as there are no cuts or tears anywhere. Then I saw the petechiae and realised it’s something systemic.

Called vets immediately, the earliest they could get me in was 2.15. Had to rush ds1 to a vital medical appointment, left other teen son dog-sitting, came home to find more petechiae appearing all over and pin-prick blood spots on his gums, plus his gums bled when I brushed them, which they don’t usually.

He isn’t behaving out of character, seems happy in himself, still flung fluffy toys all over the place and charged about like a looney when I arrived home. He’s usually a real wimp, so you know about it if he’s under the weather.

I daren’t google, as I have a pretty good idea of the scary stuff that might come up.

He hasn’t had access to anything poisonous that I am aware of. We don’t have any slug pellets or rodent poison on the property. Shed door is locked and we pretty much only have lawn outside. He didn’t get his walk yesterday because I was too ill to take him, so there wasn’t an opportunity for him to have ingested something elsewhere.

Has anyone had any experience of anything like this before? I am dreading them wanting to keep him in, as last time he was an inpatient he tried to escape and shredded his back legs, requiring multiple stitches.

OP’s posts: |
RedHelenB Fri 22-Feb-19 17:52:37

No ideas but hope the appointment went well and it's not as scary a diagnosis as you fear.

notapizzaeater Fri 22-Feb-19 17:54:55

Hope everything went ok and it's something easy to sort

stayathomegardener Fri 22-Feb-19 17:54:55

Hope appointment was positive.
Could it be an allergic reaction?

FriarTuck Fri 22-Feb-19 17:55:36

Fingers and paws crossed

moosemama Fri 22-Feb-19 19:33:45

He has Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia (ITP). His platelet count was below 5,000 and we had to rush him to a specialist veterinary hospital where he is now an inpatient in their intensive care unit.

He has severe separation anxiety and once ripped his legs to shreds trying to escape when he was an inpatient at our own vets, but there really is no other choice but hospitalisation for him. They may have to sedate him to keep him quiet if he winds himself up.

He’s going for a CT and other imaging first thing in the morning. Most cases are idiopathic, but a small minority can be caused by cancer, so they need to rule that out.

My other lurcher has been beside himself all day. My son has been trying to keep him calm, but he has just howled and paced the whole time. He’s finally fallen asleep now I am home.

Thankfully he is fully insured with a lifetime policy and has £7,000 of cover available for this year. Unfortunately, if he needs repeated blood transfusions, each one costs £1,000 and the final cost could be around £12,000.

Aside from all the other worries, there is a risk of severe haemorrhage, which means we could lose him. The positives are that he isn’t showing signs of feeling unwell, still playing, eating, drinking, etc and he didn’t haemorrhage after having blood taken from his jugular and leg. His age and general good health is also a positive.

It has been one hell of a day, from noticing one bruise on him first thing to him now being covered in them from head to foot, the whites of his eyes going red and bleeding gums.

He has not had one single illness since he recovered from severe campylobacter which almost killed him as a rescue pup. Almost 6 years without a single illness and now this.

They are going to call us first thing tomorrow to tell us the results of the scans and we have had to agree not to visit him, because it’s likely to upset him when he needs to be kept calm and quiet. If he refuses food, etc and becomes extremely distressed without us, they are going to call us to go in.

The house feels very quiet without him flinging his toys around, he’s a big dog in both size and personality.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Fri 22-Feb-19 19:39:01

Oh I am so sorry flowers

Fingers and paws crossed for the results.

RedHelenB Fri 22-Feb-19 19:45:48

That's awful but he's in the best place.

picklemepopcorn Fri 22-Feb-19 19:50:11

I'm so sorry! You were so quick to spot the problem!

Can I gently mention that as your dog has severe separation anxiety, and this is a serious illness ne3ding a lot of intervention, it may be kinder to think about how far you want to go with treatment.

moosemama Fri 22-Feb-19 20:03:43

Thank you.

picklemepopcorn at this point he will most likely be sedated anyway, as he needs to be kept calm and quiet all the time. He is in intensive care, with a nurse present 24/7. Generally he isn’t happy and will whine and pace, but can handle separation from me/us ok, as long as there’s someone/anyone there with him, so we’re hoping he will be ok. He even goes to kennels a couple of times a year, but he has our other dog for company then and has bonded with the lady that looks after them. He’s had a lot of veterinary treatment for a multitude of typical lurcher-acquired injuries over the years and is very used to being handled and treated by vets and nurses, plus he was down there almost every day when he was very poorly as a pup - in fact he’s a favourite at our usual surgery because he is so calm when being treated. He was ok when he went in to ours until the nurse forgot and left the room while he was in a metal run - hence the resulting injuries. This set up is completely different and he won’t be alone for even a second. The vet is going to monitor closely how he is and sedate as necessary.

If they can get his platelets up to 30,000 then he can come home and have the rest of his treatment on a daily outpatient basis. We are so lucky that this specialist centre is only a 10 minute drive from our house and I have just found out that the vet who is treating him is the UK’s leading specialist, which is reassuring.

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moosemama Fri 22-Feb-19 20:06:35

I should add, that we spotted the problem so easily purely because he’s a blue fawn lurcher with very little coat cover on his stomach and inside legs, so it was obvious immediately. If it had been my other lurcher who has a thick, shaggy grey coat there is no way we would have caught it so early. From first sign to inpatient in a specialist centre within 6 hours - thank goodness.

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picklemepopcorn Fri 22-Feb-19 22:25:54

I'm so pleased he's close by! They can be delicate little flowers, lurchers. I miss my old man still.

moosemama Fri 22-Feb-19 23:06:04

Yes, he’s a complicated fellow, but after the very bad start he had it’s not really surprising. The vet at the specialist hospital couldn’t believe how well behaved he was, he’s such a sweetheart, yet he can be extremely difficult to accommodate because of all his anxieties and fears. He’s the only dog I know that can tolerate other dogs close up on the lead, but is petrified if he sees one that’s off their lead - to the extent he will bolt to get away if he sees one. We’ve done years of work with him with minimal improvement and eventually decided it was kinder just to let him be himself and give him what he needs to feel safe. So lead walks round the roads in the week and a private hire field at the weekend for off-lead zoomies.

Our other lurcher is the polar opposite, really calm and steady. He gives the overall impression of a wise old man, but doesn’t have the brains to follow through. The only problem he’s ever had was developing separation anxiety when our old girl passed on. (He’d never known life without her and she was a bit like a mum to him.) He’s never been all that keen on the younger lad, even though the separation anxiety stopped as soon as we brought him home, but is really missing him tonight. He keeps going and looking under the table where our younger lad usually sleeps overnight, in his favourite bed and you can see him thinking ‘where has he gone’ then coming away all hangdog. Dh has decided he’s sleeping on the sofa so he doesn’t feel too alone.

I’m off to bed now. I have the landline and my mobile next to the bed - just in case.

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stayathomegardener Sat 23-Feb-19 01:49:20

I love the detailed descriptions of their personalities.
We've a blue Whippet and a big hairy deerhound x greyhound who sound very similar.
Fingers crossed for good news.

SneakyGremlins Sat 23-Feb-19 01:52:41

Paws crossed OP. I don't have a dog but my friend has a lurcher - they're just big balls of personality and love aren't they?

FriarTuck Sat 23-Feb-19 09:34:23

Offered up prayers for DDog OP - hopefully you'll finish today with some really positive news (and preferably with him back home being smothered with tlc).

FloatingthroughSpace Sat 23-Feb-19 09:42:01

I was going to say it sounds like itp.
In humans they feel fine with itp, not ill, if that is any comfort.

moosemama Sat 23-Feb-19 09:58:32

stayathomegardener our old boy is part Deerhound, but is relatively short of leg, as he has Bearded Collie in his mix as well. Thank you for the well wishes.

SneakyGremlins Thank you. Absolutely, that’s a brilliant description.

Thank you FriarTuck. Unfortunately he’s not going to be home for at least 7, if not 10 days, even if the treatment goes really well.

FloatingthroughSpace. Interestingly ds1 was tested for human ITP (among other things) last year, as he has a problem with recurrent petechiae, although nothing like as bad as this. Thankfully he didn’t/doesn’t have it and his is down to leaky capillaries/vessels due to genetic connective tissue disorder. I mentioned it to the vet when she was explaining the blood tests and was amazed to find out dogs can have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as well as humans. I only wish that was the underlying reason with my poor dog.

Ds1 does have Autism, OCD and severe anxiety issues. The worst part of his OCD is fear of death, particularly anyone in the family. Of the two dogs, this one is the one he has bonded with and finds real comfort in. The first thing he does every day after college is go and sit with him for half an hour and just quietly stroke him to help him let go of the day’s stress. Unfortunately he had a massive emotional meltdown last night, that took hours to come down from. We ended up having to stay up into the night playing computer games with him to distract him until hes was exhausted enough to sleep.

Just had a call from the vet as I was typing this. Apparently his bruising seems to have settled and there don’t seemt to be new ones appearing all the time, so things seem to have stabilised a bit. All his obs have been normal through the night. He wasn’t happy, but not freaking out, so the intensive care nurse kept him with her and he went with her on her rounds, which seemed to keep him happy. Then when they needed him to sleep he had a tiny bit of sedative and slept through the night. He is going for his CT in the next hour and they are going to call me back with the results later today.

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FriarTuck Sat 23-Feb-19 11:04:25

Poor DDog and poor DS1 as well. 7-10 days seems like ages sad But I'm glad the news so far is positive.

picklemepopcorn Sat 23-Feb-19 11:19:28

Poor DS1! Maybe he can make a special effort to make sure DDog2 doesn't miss his pal while he's away.

moosemama Sat 23-Feb-19 13:12:00

Vet just called with an update.

CT scan was all clear, no cancer or internal haemmorhage, so it’s primary ITP and we have caught it early. They will continue the drugs he started last night, along with immunosuppressants and one dose of a human chemo drug that is known to stimulate platelet production. They will retest his platelet count either Sunday evening or Monday, as it takes a few days for the drugs to do their job.

Vet is cautiously optimistic for a successful recovery, as he stabilised and his bruising stopped after his first dose of drugs, he doesn’t have any underlying pathologies, plus he’s a strong, fit lad, which always helps. We still have to be cautious though as there’s no guarantees he won’t have any setbacks and haemmorhages are still a possibility.

He’s still coping ok with being there at the moment and the nurses are monitoring him closely. If there are any problems or setbacks or he starts getting distressed they will let us know straight away.

OP’s posts: |
moosemama Sat 23-Feb-19 13:14:08

Oh - and ds1 is much happier after the latest update. Everyone else is getting ready to take ddog2 on his favourite walk and I am in bed with a migraine and exacerbation of my health condition, which was only to be expected with all the stress. I am going to try and get some sleep now, as I barely slept last night and when I did I had nightmares.

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FriarTuck Sat 23-Feb-19 13:29:45

Good news!!!! Sorry to hear you're now struggling health-wise - take care of yourself too. flowers

BiteyShark Sat 23-Feb-19 13:30:26

That's good news in the circumstances flowers

moosemama Sun 24-Feb-19 10:33:14

Vet just called with an update.

He’s had a bit of a set back. The bruising on one side of his body has worsened and he has vomitted some blood, but only once and they said not enough to indicate haemorrhage at this stage. They think it was probably precipitated by the chemo drug he had yesterday and he’s now on anti-emetics, although he’s only having one dose of that drug anyway.

His rbc has fallen, which is partially to be expected due to blood loss, but they are having to give consideration to his breed, as apparently Greyhounds/Lurchers/Sighthounds tend to have a higher rbc than the rest of the canine population, so he won’t tolerate his levels dropping lower than some other dogs and they will have to consider transfusion at a higher level.

They did check his platelets, as they had to take blood anyway. It’s too early for their to have been any improvement and they didn’t tell me numbers, but I got the impression platelet levels are actually lower now than they were on Friday afternoon.

He is now being kept sedated on Trazadone, which they are happy is working to keep him calm and a bit dopey, so he’s not stressed at all and is sleeping a lot.

They will call with another update tomorrow morning and have told me I can call the intensive care unit any time to check how he is, but I think I’d be better not interrupting their work and would rather they weren’t disturbed and can focus on giving him the best care.

Lots of tears here this morning, I am missing him so much and feel awful that I can’t be with him. If it was your child you’d have a bed next to theirs and wouldn’t leave them for a second and I know this is what he needs and is giving him his best chance and my visiting would just upset him when I had to leave, but I just wish I could be with him and let him know I haven’t abandoned him. If he so much as gets a scratch at home he will come straight in and find me, then stay with me after I’ve cleaned it up. I hate that he is so ill and I am not able to be there to comfort him.

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