Last update on this fight for Dylan’s life. I do believe she has used up a couple more lives in this battle. At first I was not sure she would survive the anemia, then the frantic reductions in prednisone to save her from paralysis. I did way too much planning on ending her life, including arranging a last vet visit. I hope this is the last I will see of this ugly disease. It really takes a lot out of both of us. I have done a lot of stressful things in life, but fighting this disease is by far the most draining.
Dylan continues to get stronger and is now hopping and skipping and trying to run a little on occasion. She jumps and turns in the air while getting into her kennel for her meals. She uses her tail a lot once again, she sleeps on the couch regularly and she is always up to greet me at the door when I come home. She still risks injury due to her week musculature, but we are walking again, so that will help her get stronger.
Since Dylan became ill once again, I have helped at least a dozen dogs with new cases of IMHA. I have recently seen an 8 month old dog inflicted with this disease. Although they are in a good position for strength to fight the battles, it is sad to see such a young dog have to battle this disease. I have been told of a dog who has had 12 transfusions – yes that is 12! And I know of at least one dog we did not give up on when a vet was recommending to do so that is still with us and with his owner, who is ecstatic not to have given up on her dog!
Life can be very hard, but many times there is reward. Helping other dogs and their owners get through this hellish part of the ride is gratifying at times. Of course, the loss of life can also be heart wrenching!
Today Dylan went for her first walk of the new year. She did not move very fast, but she did not want to go home so soon either. So nice to get her out now that her immune system is not suppressed by prednisone. I now consider this current attack in the past. The plan will be similar to that in the past. Walk a lot and gain strength and muscle and make sure she has a bit of a layer of fat to support another attack. I will continue to try and figure out what is triggering her attacks and we will avoid anything I think might be a trigger.
Dylan continues to get stronger and we will be starting to go for walks soon to build more strength back in her muscles. I feel more confident the disease is not lurking in the background. She is such a sweetheart and really seems to love life and my company. She makes it easier to relax and enjoy life a little now, despite that lurking paranoia that something out there might cause us serious trouble again one day. Thanks to all my friends in the AIHA/IMHA community and the canine community for all your support once again! ((((Hugs)))) to you all and your pups.
She has now been drug free for 4 days now and every day I see her return to normal. She is her happy Dog Dylan self who loves eating, loves going outside and loves sitting with me for hugs and rubs. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She bounces and turns, dancing with happiness for her food. Even a trip out into the yard warrants a little run and some hoppy skippy happy bounces. This is what I fight for! My “baby B” is alive and happy again and here to stay for awhile:-) I am so very happy to have her back.
Tough decision today, but Dylan is making it easier for me. No more prednisone! No more immune suppression. No more side effects as she clearly gets her coordination and strength back. But my fingers are certainly all still crossed that her immune system is okay with this! I won’t know necessarily for a while as the attack could start slowly, then gain ground. I am optimistic though that she will continue to improve, as she has in the past.
I think Dylan is enjoying her reduced prednisone dose. Today was the first time for her on the couch this year. I always enjoy a nice surprise I have begun seeing her enthusiasm return. It is also pretty clear to me now that she suffers from an inability to move her limbs and paralysis before she actually losses her muscle strength.
Dylan continues to do very well and is improving. Last night I decided not to give her prednisone so she is taking 5mg once a day now and should be off of it completely very soon. I can hardly wait, as we will begin going for walks again once she no longer taking it. I don’t want to take chances and expose her to the world too soon. She is such a strong spirit and truly enjoys life
Still no signs of adrenal gland issues. She seems to be handling her reductions just fine as she has in the past. Of course the fact she is not on prednisone for an extended time means her adrenal glands are more likely to kick in without issues.
I decided not to give Dylan her 5 mg prednisone tonight. She will skip the evening dose every second day now. And now I need a calendar to keep track, but no shortage of electronic devices with a calendar here. She is doing very well, hopefully she continues to do well. I’m pretty tired still though. Eat and sleep are for me now! Sounds like Dylan although she is more eat, scrounge, pee, hound me for food, scrounge some more, then sleep.
I will have to keep an eye out for symptoms she is suffering from reduced cortisol, as she will now require her adrenal glands to produce some. This will cause her to be uncomfortable and maybe in some pain so it should be easy to see in her if they don’t kick in.
Well, Happy Birthday Dog Dylan!!! Blood work results are in and Dylan has some awesome numbers; Hematocrit (equivalent of PCV) is .42 (42%) wooohooo, normal is above .39, and the other critical numbers like hemoglobin and rbc count are just below normal; lots of reticulocytes (immature red blood cells) and no spherocytes (destroyed rbc’s)!!!
And the drop to 2x5mg daily prednisone is showing positive results as Dylan’s greeting involved more tail wagging than I have seen in a month. I love seeing seeing the things I love about her, return.
This is a perfect present, although her Birthday was on January 8th, I’ll take this as her present any day!
Just got back from the vet where Dylan had an exam and blood drawn for some tests. Janice thought Dylan looked great, her gums were good and so was her heart. If she were anemic her heart would have to work harder and her gums would be pale. I should get results from her blood work tomorrow, but cutting her prednisone from 10 mg to 5 mg tonight, which will help her begin to get stronger. Prognosis is looking good
Still a risk especially as I drop her prednisone below a level that is required for immune suppression. This is when being able to recognize small changes in behavior is an advantage. Knowing she is getting stronger or weaker and what to look for really matters. Currently she is still relatively paralyzed from the prednisone, so I am just beginning to see some of her happy traits. Tail wagging is still infrequent, but I do see her starting to use her tail once again for balance.
A great day for many reasons. Not too cold and a beautiful snow fall. Dylan is finally doing well after her third attack of AIHA and it seems has been given another life to enjoy. Big hugs for my “Baby B” on a Monday I was almost certain she would not see. Makes me want to just curl up with her beautiful furry body.
Thank you everyone for your prayers, healing karma and support. Although the roller coaster of IMHA is holding my joy in check, I feel like we have experienced another miracle for Dylan. I am certain her anemia is not getting worse at this time. I feel like I will be able to reduce her prednisone again sooner rather than later. This is very beneficial to Dylan and her future. Huge sigh of relief! There is still a lot of work to do for her, but I think I can get some real work done now that I feel the balance of life and death is not tilted critically against her.
Dylan is very weak, but still mobile and very food motivated. I had trouble determining if she was weaker from anemia last night, fear of worsening anemia almost made me up her dose of prednisone, but I chose not to because I decided that she would still be very weak from muscle loss, or still suffering the paralysis she has been experiencing.
Today I mostly feel that was the right decision. Tomorrow I will arrange a blood test and depending on the results I may add a full thyroid panel using Dr.Dodds lab. It is time for more information so I can decide if further prednisone reductions are possible and if supplementing her thyroid function would help regeneration of RBC’s. I have plenty of hope that she can pull through.
Great news; I still have 4 dogs and all 4 are up hounding me for breakfast! Considering I have been preparing for only having 3, this is very sweet indeed! So far she continues to stand and may indeed be improving. It is still too soon to know for sure, especially regarding the longer range impact on her immune system and red blood cells.
Today I am once again grateful for the very simple ability to stand! Dylan is once again up for her food, as she was yesterday. And tomorrow, I will hope for that very same capability we all take for granted. A beautiful site and worthy of some great big hugs; (((((Dylan)))))
Today we continued our quest to stop Dylan’s paralysis and muscle wasting as the first priority. She has handled 15 mg 2X per day really well. She might even be slightly better PCV wise and is still able to stand up, which is contrary to what I have been anticipating. This has left me on the high side of the emotional roller coaster today, guardedly optimistic. This morning I dropped her to 10 mg 2X/day and pray her anemia continues to be held at bay. I love my Dog Dylan :-))
So far prednisone reductions are really helping. These fast reductions are terrifying in some ways as the disease could be sitting there waiting to take over once again. Despite Dylan standing today, it is hard to feel over joyed as I don’t know if the anemia will get worse, or better. But Dylan standing is the difference between life and death, so it is of critical importance to us.
I have been really struggling with whether to try cyclosporine to get her off prednisone. The more I read though, the less likely I am and in fact have now decided not to. Maybe if she was 10, or 5, but she is so much more frail than when we started this journey 2 years ago. I have 3 other dogs who need to get out and do things and I am around other dogs almost every day and I am certain sooner or later I will bring an infection to Dylan. Side effects of increased risk of cancer, gum disease, kidney disease, liver… just make the choice to use cyclosporine so difficult. She is old and frail and I would hate to have her struggle to the end. She has struggled from the very beginning, abused, neglected and then set free and wild for 2 months before capture. Then time at the spca. She has had a great life despite her early beginnings and vicious nature (thanks to that early beginning). I love her dearly and I don’t want to let go. We have become so close over the years.
Over the next 24-48 hours I will lower her prednisone to 10 mg 2X per day and if she remains okay, that is her anemia does not get worse again, she has a shot at pulling through. Since her PCV is still mid 20’s, recovery is less likely than is slipping back. She is very weak from muscle loss and it is very hard now for her to stand, but she is still able to. She is now at the point though where she tries to do things she is no longer capable of and if I am not here to help, she can and will hurt herself. Things like rolling over, or even just getting in or out of her kennel are now very risky as not all of her body follows the lead. Tough to watch and tough to be here always for her. She managed to get on the couch while I was out yesterday after 2 days of failed attempts. Getting off scares the crap out of me. She still wants to jump instead of using the steps. So many little things we take for granted normally, are mountains for her and so risky. I would hate to come home and find her trapped with a broken leg… So I continue to pray for a miracle. It has happened before, so maybe just one more soon.
My heart is breaking! I am fairly certain her lack of recovery is not a lack of iron or vitamin B. She has the same diet as before and she recovered quickly both times previously without supplements. I could tell from the beginning that this attack was harder than the 2nd one. The situation is more complicated than simply money and the cost of cyclosporine. I have already sacrificed so much, from my future and that of my other dog’s. I finally started treating Stevie Ray for her arthritis, which I had stopped for Dylan. My pups were to be trained to win a world championship in dog agility, but for the last 2 years could not train them due to time and cognitive difficulties as a result of saving Dylan previously. My ability to earn an income is completely dependent on my cognitive abilities and the constant care and lack of sleep make it impossible to work.I spent every penny I had the first time, not on vet bills which would have been covered by insurance if I had it, but on lost income due to being unable to think and work, which are not covered by any pet insurance. I never want to give up on Dylan, but I need the disease to let go.
I do have serious trouble with adding immune suppressant drugs given their side effects, but this is not the complete issue. The real issue is how much more should everyone else here sacrifice for Dylan. If I had help here, a full time caretaker and of course the finances to go with it, the decision would be easier. But I don’t have help, nor the funds to buy it. Maybe a miracle? But I don’t view the end of life on earth as the end of our relationship. Dylan, like Jagger before her, will always be with me. Like with Jagger, Dylan has brought me world of new friends. She has completely changed who I am and what is important to me. Although it makes me very sad to think of losing her, it is not the end of our relationship. And if things don’t improve for her, there is nothing for her here and maybe God wants her in heaven and maybe it is better for her to be at peace with God and not here suffering just to stay with me? Life is complicated, decisions are difficult. I will talk to my vet tomorrow and I will continue to try and save Dylan. I love her deeply, but too much to force her to stay here with me at any cost.
Although I came home to a pee soaked bed thanks to prednisone, after being out for 5 hours (which was unavoidable); I came home to Dylan standing up on the arm of my couch to greet me at the door (1st time in 2 weeks), wagging her tail. Yes, wagging her tail! which I have not seen much in the last 2 weeks! She is carrying it higher as she goes out for pee, and wagging it when excited :-))
Spent today mostly hanging out with Dylan, massaging and petting her, feeding her and doing her laundry, making sure she gets lots of water and gets safely out to pee, making sure everywhere she goes is well lit. Everything is much harder for her to do these days, so I do my best to make it easier for her.