Living with an auto-immune disease

March 10, 2014 at 5:34 am

A little over a year ago, my precious pup Rusty was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease known as Thrombocytopenia.

It came as a bit of a shock, as the only symptom we could see was a pink rash on his belly, and luckily he was going to a groomer attached to a veterinary hospital, so it was picked up pretty quickly.

Thrombocytopenia is not only a hard word to say.  It is a serious medical condition where the blood platelet count is too low. Because the platelets are low in numbers, the body doesn’t heal after getting a cut or a bruise. This is because the blood cannot clot properly, which can lead to internal bleeding.

This condition can become quite dangerous, as the bone marrow isn’t producing enough platelets to help heal the body, and it could also be a result of many other illnesses.

Obviously I’m not an expert – so if you see that your dog has symptoms such as the above; or if they show symptoms of a fever, lethargy, urinary bleeding, excessive coughing etc, I would suggest you see your local veterinarian.

What I’ve learned so far

Since Rusty was diagnosed, it has been a roller-coaster ride. He also developed diabetes and a toxic liver – but that’s a story for another time.

What I have learned throughout the whole experience is that:

1. Dogs really live in the moment. Even though Rusty is still ill, he is so happy and willing to greet me at the door with lots of licks and tail wags.

2. You should never take your dog for granted. You have them for such a short amount of time. Rusty is only half way through his life, yet there were times when we almost lost him – so make sure to cuddle your pooch every day!

3. Yes, they are worth the money. Pet insurance is a life saver – literally. It has helped us pay for some huge vet bills that we may not have been able to afford otherwise.

4. All they need is love. When Rusty was in emergency with drips attached to him and all he could do was sit in a cage, a soft pat and soothing words were all he needed to reassure him that everything would be OK and I was there for him.