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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog
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Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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my dog has a platelet count of 61. He is a 4 year old rescue

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my dog has a platelet count of 61. He is a 4 year old rescue put that I have had for only 1 month. He was tick infested when he was found. They are doing a test for tick borne issues. He was also neutered a month ago. If he was in danger from bleeding out due to this issue wouldn't he have done so when he was neutered? Could his low platelets be from stress, an ear infection and being fed bad food until we got him?
Hello. Thanks for writing in. If his platelet count was that low when he was neutered, he would have been in danger of bleeding out. When he was neutered, his platelet count could have been normal. Was pre-anesthetic bloodwork checked before his neuter? Ehrlichia is a tick transmitted infection that usually causes low platelets. You cannot completely rule out immune system destruction of the platelets at this point, though. Make sure that they recheck this value on a fresh blood sample and looked under the microscope to make sure it wasn't due to collection (platelets can clump during blood draw if it was difficult to draw blood from the vein, causing artificially low platelet counts. I would have him on doxycycline and prednisone until the results of the tick panel comes out. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns before rating. Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Since he was a rescue pup, they don't do major workups. But it was just 5 weeks ago that they fixed him. I'm sure they didn't do any blood work on him. Could platelets drop that quickly? What would cause immune system destruction? Is ehrlichia completely curable? He shows no symptoms at all of being sick.They only found it when they were going to clean his teeth. He also has a total protein of 9.3, albumin of 2.4 and Globulin of 6.9. An A/G ration of .3.
Platelets can drop very quickly; often in a matter of days. There are many, many things that can cause immune system destruction. It is considered a delayed allergic response. Unfortunately, we rarely find out exactly what set it off. It could be something he ate, a chemical he was exposed to, any type of plant material, a bee or wasp sting, a snake bite, vaccines, etc. Usually treatment for Ehrlichia is successful. They may still show positive on some tests even after treatment, though. Most dogs are not sick with low platelet counts, until they become low enough to start causing spontaneous hemorrhaging. At this point, you may see bruising under the skin, eyes or on the gums. At that point, the condition is most severe. Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What would they give him if it was an immune issue?
They would have to start him on high dose steroids (prednisone) and consider other medications to suppress the immune system if the steroids are not completely controlling it. With the history of ticks, though, my thought is that it would be Ehrlichia. That is why I would start doxycycline now as well. Hope this helps.
Dr. John and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Lynn,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Scooter. How is everything going?

Texas Veterinarian
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I am still waiting for my vet to give me blood results. I am not happy with her at all and most likely willchange vets. Scooter still seems healthy like nothing is wrong. Is there any reason that platelets would drop naturally due to low nutrition, stress/trauma and neglect?
It would have to be severe malnutrition or trauma. The trauma would typically be due to damage to the blood vessels, such as with heat stroke.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
The vet just called and said he was positive for Ehrlichia and she thinks he may have another tick disease and is waiting for the rest of the lab results. She says it never really can be cured. Is this true? She seems to be a naysayer. Should I worry that my dog will never be well? The results from the rescue shelter vet said he tested neg for Ehrlichia and that was a April 9th. Why wouldn't it have showed up then?
While there may be some dogs that remain chronically infected with Ehrlichia, you can usually get rid of the organism with doxycycline or tetracycline for 30 days. Lyme disease tends to be the infection that you usually cannot fully get rid of. They may still show a positive test for Ehrlichia, even after eliminating the organism, though, so response to therapy is dependent on platelet levels going back to normal and remaining normal during therapy. A test could be negative if it is too early in the infection to detect antibodies. You can also just get false negative test. There is no test that is 100% sensitive to detecting a certain disease. Hope this helps.