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A Picture of Health

A Happy Bandit

I’d like to thank our reader Ann for sharing Bandit’s journey.

When your companion is diagnosed with a serious illness, it throws you into a seemingly endless roller coaster of emotions and decisions. It’s a gut-wrenching time and only those who have gone through it can truly understand it’s depth.

I would like to thank everyone that has shared their story and offered comfort to those who are in the midst of caring for a sick companion, or worse, dealing with their loss. I hope that you will continue to provide us with updates – sometimes that glimmer of hope is the only thing that gives a bit of relief.

Reader Ann posted last year shortly after Bandit was diagnosed with Evans. Thankfully, Bandit responded well to her initial treatment and continued to progress to the point that she was taken off all medications four months later. On February 27th, it will be a year from the original diagnosis.

It’s import to be reminded that there are success stories,  even with some of the more serious illnesses. It’s a brutally difficult experience to endure, and I hope that this site can offer some level of comfort and support during a difficult time – and see you through to a happy ending.


Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia Diagnosis

After receiving an initial diagnosis of Evans Syndrome and an estimate of 2,000 to confirm the diagnosis, we sought a second opinion. We opted to take Petey to a long-time family friend who is a veterinarian.  Although we respected the opinion of the initial hospital, we just felt more comfortable having another consultation with someone that we knew. We were then referred to Dr. Slusser, an internal medicine specialist.

We took Petey in immediately for evaluation and treatment, knowing by then that he was a very sick boy. His energy level was non-existent, and I was worried that he might not make it through the night. He was seen by Dr. Slusser who confirmed that he was in very serious condition. He was given a complete ultrasound and additional blood work was ordered. His red blood count was so low that he was admitted into ER for blood transfusions. Without them, it was doubtful that he would pull through, and even with the transfusions, there were no guarantees. After the final round of blood work, it was confirmed that Petey had Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA). Like with Evan’s Syndrome, IMHA is a disease that attacks its own red blood cells. Evans has an additional component that also attacks the platelets which thankfully was not the case with Petey.

Petey was given a 30% chance of survival, with the first few weeks after diagnosis being the most critical. It was not a good prognosis, but Dr. Slusser worked with us in terms of what our best options for treatment would be.  To be continued…

Evan’s Syndrome Symptoms

By 2009, our rescue Petey, had been part of our family for nearly four years. He settled in nicely, was healthy, eating well and a pretty happy go lucky dog in general.

Every August, we have a summer party with friends and family and Petey and Marina are regulars.   At the party that year Petey seemed a little mellower than usual, to the point that more than one person commented that he seemed to be laying low.  We kept an eye on him and the next morning, he continued to be a bit lethargic and didn’t have his usual appetite. At one point we thought that maybe he had eaten something at the party that didn’t agree with him. Later that evening, he was getting more and more lethargic and we knew we had to get him in to the vet. We weren’t able to get him in to our regular vet and felt that his symptoms warranted a trip to a nearby animal hospital.

The hospital conducted an initial exam, CBC, Chem Panel, Urinalysis and a brief abdominal ultrasound. Per the hospital, Petey’s blood-work, while not 100% conclusive suggested that he had Evan’s Syndrome, a disease where the immune system begins to destroy it’s own red blood cells and platelets. It was also suspected that he had a biliary obstruction and moderate to severe osteoarthritis (we knew about the osteoarthritis).

Since the results were inconclusive, the hospital’s recommendation was to leave him overnight for further testing which was estimated at over $2,000. We opted for a second opinion, which marked the beginning of a very long journey.  To be continued..

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