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Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30036
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, emphasis in dermatology, internal medicine, pain management
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dog: collapsed and quit breathing..emergency vet..platelet count

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My dog collapsed and quit breathing for a minute last Saturday. He was saved by the emergency vet. They found that he had an extremely low platelet count and PT/PTT counts. He was given a transfusion and some other drugs and his counts went back to normal. Now he is on Doxycycline and Prednisone. He had previously been diagnosed as low heartworm positive, and started by our vet on a slow kill program, taking Heartguard each month and allowing the adult worms to die off naturally. The emergency vet said that he believed the emergency with my dog was caused by an adult heartworm dying off and a massive allergic reaction because of it. Now, my regular vet says that he doesn't think it was caused by a worm death. What are some possible causes for his collapse and near death? Thanks.
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Dr. Andy :

Hello. tough question to answer "definitively". I will wait for your reply, so I know you are there, and we can chat.


Ok, I'm here.

Dr. Andy :

none of my answer came through to you. Let me resend now.

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5:11 PM

bare with me a sec

5:13 PM

Okay. A few comments. I am a little suspicious for the heartworm issue causing all of these symptoms as well.

5:17 PM

With a really low platelet count, I would also be strongly considering an autoimmune thrombocytopenia.

5:18 PM

Autoimmune conditions are when the body attacks itself.

5:18 PM

This can happen with only the platelets resulting in a thrombocytopenia, as your pet has. Sometimes, it only happens with the red blood cells, and that is called a autoimmune hemolytic anemia.

5:20 PM

Now, the collapsing episode would NOT be connected to his low platelet count.

5:20 PM

That, in fact, probably could be induced by a dying heartworm.

5:21 PM

I like the plan to do the initial slow kill program. The only thing of question may be the prednisone dose. Ask your vet about "autoimmune thrombocytopenia". If they think it is possible, they may suggest doing a higher dose of prednisone initially.

5:21 PM

Dr. Andy


Again, sorry for delay. As you can see, I was typing to you, and it wasn't going through.



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Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok, so let me see if I understand what you think. There may be an autoimmune issue causing the low platelet count. Then, the collaspe was a separate issue that could have occured with a heartworm death. Do I have that right?

Yes. It is just hard for me to make a good connection between the worm dying off and causing the reaction, to also explain the low platelet count. Possible? Yes. But, to properly answer your question, I wanted to think a little bit outside of the box and mention the autoimmune theory.


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