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My Maxwell has been diagnosed with Autoimmune Thrombocytopenia. We're having a very difficult time regulating the prednisone he has to take and every single time we try to reduce it even by the smallest amount, he crashes - his red blood count drops to anemia levels and his platelets drop to a dangerous level.

Has anyone had experience with this condition and if so, can you offer me any hope/help/advise on how to deal with it?

Thanks,

Sherry Faulkner
 

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Sorry to hear about Max. :( From the Canine Inherited Diseases Database discussion of Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia,

What is immune-mediated thrombocytopenia?

Thrombocytopenia means a reduction in platelets (thrombocytes). Platelets (one of the cell types in the blood) play an important role in the clotting process; thus the main result of a decrease in platelets is increased bleeding - for example, nosebleeds.

In immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT), the reduction happens because there is increased destruction of platelets by the body's own immune system, at a rate faster than they are produced in the bone marrow. IMT may be secondary to some other process (such as an infection, tumour, or drug reaction) or it may be primary, meaning that no other causative factor can be found. It is more common in certain breeds, suggesting there is an inherited component. IMT may occur by itself or with other conditions like systemic lupus erythematosus and autoimmune hemolytic anemia.
Here's one vet's Client Education sheet for immune-mediated thrombocytopenia. Some instructions are individualized for the particular patient, and others are good general recommendations for affected dogs.

Immune-mediated Thrombocytopenia

Additional discussion

Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia Mar Vista Animal Medical Center--a thorough and understandable discussion, written for the layperson

Acquired Thrombocytopenia Merck Veterinary Manual
 

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Sorry to hear about Maxwell. Betsy has given you some great links. Can't really add anything except I would make sure my vet has done a tick panel and also tested for the less common species of Ehrlichia.

Sending postive thoughts your way. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the links. I've seen most of them already, but a couple are new and have additional information.

I'll call my vet Monday morning and discuss Erlichia and a tick panel with him. He asked if Max had had any tick bites and I told him no, not that I was aware of, but one never knows!
 

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I would definitely check for tick disease. I dealt with severe anemia with Biscuit from tick disease. One thing the vet suggested was a liquid iron supplement. I would never ever have believed something so simple could make such a difference, but it did. You might ask you vet about doing that --- but make sure it wouldn't conflict with any of the other meds.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I visted with my vet yesterday and they did check for Erlichia and tick borne diseases. So... looks like we really are dealing with the Autoimmune disease. So far, Max has had 4 good days w/o a problem, but then we did up the prednisone,too. It's discouraging to have to up it when the long term goal is to be able to reduce it to the lowest dosage possible to sustain him.
 

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I'm sorry to read about Maxwell's autoimmune disease problems.

Ruby doesn't have these illnesses, but *I* do. I have a lot of autoimmune diseases. (human versions - ha!).

Just wanted to lend my support.

Ruby's mommy/servant
 
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