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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 13024
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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Weeks ago my dog (8 yr old westie) was showing lethargy,

Customer Question

Hi Weeks ago my dog (8 yr old westie) was showing lethargy, lack of appetite and stiffness, not wanting to walk up/down stairs. Doc gave us Dermaxx and she showed little improvement. Doc took blood work #1 (white blood cell 18.5) and showed Lyme disease positive. She was put on Doxycycline and told us to continue Dermaxx. Doxycycline was working, she showed improvement. Blood work #2 was taken indicated elevated WBC 24.5. A vet suspected Leukemia. We took our dog to two different specialists who looked at blood work and suspected Leukemia; both wanted to start chemo. We were told to take her off Dermaxx and put her on Prednisone. Ended Dermaxx and took a 3 day break before starting Prednisone. In the time of that break blood work #3 was taken and this time WBC was normal 7.8. Dog wasn’t on Dermaxx or Prednisone and became lethargic again. Started Prednisone and she started feeling better again. After she was on Prednisone for a week blood work #4 was taken. WBC was abnormal again 100.0. Could Dermaxx or Prednisone cause WBC to go up as I’m suspecting here? Is this a way to definitively diagnose Leukemia?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Rebecca replied 7 months ago.


I am sorry to hear about Ava's problems, and that leukemia is suspected. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help.

Deramaxx and prednisone do not normally cause the white blood cell count to go up. Since both are anti inflammatory, they tend to make white counts go down. I have never seen a white count as high as 100.0 caused by these medications.

Is she spayed? I have seen a white count that high in unspayed females with infections of the uterus.

Leukemia is cancer of the white blood cells. A definitive diagnosis usually means a bone marrow biopsy. It would help to see her blood count reports and see which of her white cells are elevated: lymphocytes, or neutrophils, or eosinophils. Sometimes we can get a definitive diagnosis of leukemia by having a "clinical pathology review" of the blood cells. Your vet can request the lab they use have a pathologist look at Ava's blood cells under a microscope and see if any of them look abnormal enough to suspect leukemia.

Please let me know what other questions I can answer.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 7 months ago.

I hope you were able to see what I wrote! Let me know how she is doing, if this was helpful, and if you have any more questions.