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My 8 yo mini Schnauzer has Anemia

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by Henry.W, Aug 22, 2018.


  1. Henry.W

    Henry.W PetForums Newbie

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    Recently my dog Max has been diagnosed with Anemia. He is at 16% out of what I think is supposed to be over 30% blood count. He is lethargic but seems to be improving and eats normally. The vet doesn't know what is causing the Anemia. He has already done tests for parasites, tumours, and tested negative for IMHA (i think that's what its called).

    However, he is currently doing a blood smear along with some tests to make sure the test for IMHA was not a false negative.

    His feces are black and tarry but I think that may be because of eating liver and not because of bleeding in the digestive system (since he has done tests for parasites and worms etc). We are currently giving him lots of beef, chicken, some chicken liver, but the vet recommended to not give too much liver because he is not yet sure what is causing the anemia, so he wants us to hold off on too many vitamins and other healthy supplements.

    What can I do to help him? It seems like most dogs with anemia refuse to eat, but my dog loves eating (i think he eats too much) and also wants to go on walks (we have to carry him back because he wants to keep walking, but the vet said to just let him rest and avoid going on long walks). He has regained some health since 2 weeks ago and his blood count increased by a very small amount after a 2nd blood test.

    He had a vaccine last week so I think that may also be part of the reason he is sick. Aside from eating and walking, he just sleeps on the couch.

    Also, he suddenly is showing signs of blindness (he has never shown any signs before) and when we went to the vet, he was walking into walls and things. Can this be connected to his anemia or the vaccine?

    The vet thinks he may have bleeding somewhere or he has IMHA (which is why he is redoing the test). The two choices are to continue testing with ultrasounds which could cost thousands and not find the problem, or to just put him a steroid and suppressants like prednisone and see what happens.

    I have read online and it seems some dogs live past this and some do not. What should I do??? Please HELP!
     
  2. ttaylor45

    ttaylor45 PetForums Member

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  3. ttaylor45

    ttaylor45 PetForums Member

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    My toy poodle (the one on the right as you look at the picture) had anemia last year his blood count was down to 7 and should be around 12. He was initially treated with Predisolone by my vet and after a few weeks was referred to a specialist internal medicine vet in Surrey where he stayed overnight and had various tests including ultrasound which showed nothing and also test for imha. It was thought to be the latter imha and he stayed on steroids for about 10 months. His blood count in now normal but he now has kidney problems and also cataracts which have left him blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other. He now goes regularly to optivet an eye specialist as he has glaucoma in both eyes which require eye drops as the glaucoma has prevented him from having the cataracts removed which we were going to have done back in January when he was first referred. He is 12 years old and whether the anaemia caused these problems I don’t know. The poodle on the left of the photo we sadly lost in May due to a growth near his liver,he was related to Pepe but suffered none of the illnesses Pepe has and was 13 and a half when he left us his name was Rusty. I hope all goes well with your dog sorry for the long reply.
     
  4. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    Hi Henry W

    I'm so sorry to hear about Max. I'm mum to Gwylim who's 5 year's old. Mini Schnauzer's are such happy go lucky little dogs and its heartbreaking when they're ill.

    I don't know much about anemia or IMHA so can't be much help, but I do know that sadly it's fairly common in the breed. I would suggest that you join "Lovely Schnauzers" on FB where you'll find owners who have been through a similar experience as you.

    I was wondering whether he has been tested for this?

    https://healthypets.mercola.com/sit...2/12/19/immune-mediated-thrombocytopenia.aspx

    If you want to increase the iron content in his diet with something other than liver then I would suggest you add some lightly cooked leafy green vegetables to his food.

    Vegetable like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage and green beans.

    Fruits like blueberry, strawberry and blackberry are also good for vitamin C.

    Tinned sardines with the oil drained off and fish like salmon, halibut and haddock are also high in iron

    Not much I know, but hope it helps in a small way.

    Thinking of you and your boy and please let us know how he gets on!
     
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  5. Henry.W

    Henry.W PetForums Newbie

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    Yes I do think the vaccine did something to him. We are feeding him lots of vegetables but he has never like fruits as much.

    I think his blood levels are stable though - will be going back for a CBC (complete blood count) in a couple days.
     
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  6. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    My two (Schnauzer and Shar-Pei) don't like raw fruit but will eat them quite happily if they're cooked and mixed in with the vegetables

    Sounds promising about his blood levels
     
  7. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Have you mentioned the black tarry stools to the vet?

    Usually liver or too much liver causes light coloured stools in dogs.

    Liver should only bed fed sporadically due to high vitamin A levels as well which can cause problems none that I am aware of relate to anaemia
     
  8. Happy Paws2

    Happy Paws2 PetForums VIP

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    Sorry your boy is unwell, I hope they sort out whats wrong with him soon. Send hugs to your baby, I know what it's like when they ill.
     
  9. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    From what I've read tarry stools are one of the symptoms of both IMHA and IMT both of which are fairly common in Miniature Schnauzers.
     
  10. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Isn't imha auto immune and can be also be caused by secondary cause which is internal bleeding somewhere which is probably the cause of the stools. I am going off what as a human who has symptoms of internal bleeding ie anemia not caused by diet and was told it was maybe autoimmune which reminded me of of IMHA which has been mentioned occasionally in forums in the past

    I also wanted to point out that clay coloured stools are common for those who eat too much liver so those who lurk don't think oh well we gave our dog a treat of liver must be that as the OP suggests. Black tarry stools are always cause for concern in any mammal.

    Plus the importance of too much vitamin A which is abundant in Liver is not a good thing either. Which can add complications to certain problems.
     
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  11. Henry.W

    Henry.W PetForums Newbie

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    Ok the pathologist exam came back and the vet does not think he has IMHA or any similar autoimmune disease. He seems to be getting stronger everyday, and he was able to see a dog on the other side of the street today. I think his eyesight problem is with his peripheral vision. He sometimes bumps into things but only when he is looking at something else. That said, we ordered some more vitamins and supplements to boost his health and immune system. Hopefully he gets better. The vet has a feeling that he has Hemangiosarcoma, also known as a tumour in the spleen. I think this is unlikely as the vet did an x-ray earlier and it did not reveal any tumours.
     
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  12. Henry.W

    Henry.W PetForums Newbie

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    We stopped giving him too much liver, only once or twice a week. His poop today was not as black and tarry (a bit red and brown) as it used to be. We are ordering some supplements but his general health is definitely improving. Things are looking good! Unfortunately, the vet thinks he has a cancerous tumour in his spleen (no evidence yet, just a "hunch"). I personally don't think so because he does not behave like a sick dog despite having lower blood levels than many dogs. What I find odd is that every example of anemia in dogs shows that the dogs dont want to eat anymore. Even some with over 10% more blood levels than my dog. My dog has no problem with eating, no diarrhea, no vomiting (except for when he ate some dirt today - but I think thats cause its dirt and not cause of anemia or anything else). Aside from not being as active as he used to be 4 months ago, he is getting better.
     
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  13. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Often with tumours of the spleen from my limited knowledge is they usually are not symptomatic till exceptionally large

    As a human with anaemia caused by internal bleeding no one knows with me either. It's not diet related as there are two values to look at iron supplements help but not greatly so unless they are missing something that heals and opens somewhere they haven't a clue

    I think with a lot of tumours anaemia can be present hence the probability it is probably one somewhere

    Ultrasounds are one step up from an X ray but can miss things if small to be honest so can CT and MRI and exploritary surgery.

    If the vet is happy to go with the flow and reassess after a few months I think that's the best.

    Anaemia will give lethargy though.

    Oh and Google quite often is no help with medical issues
     
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  14. Henry.W

    Henry.W PetForums Newbie

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    I have been reading alot online and it seems many people that have anemic dogs are not sure what the problem is but they just give the dog supplements and some prednisone or maybe steroids and the dog gets better without knowing what is causing the anemia. Hopefully if there is a tumour its benign and the anemia is from something else.
     
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  15. ttaylor45

    ttaylor45 PetForums Member

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    My toy poodle was suspected of IMHA but despite visits to a specialist vet It was not confirmed and he was treated with steroids for nearly a year. Whether this led to the problems he has now I don’t know.
     
  16. Henry.W

    Henry.W PetForums Newbie

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    May I ask what problems he has now? Hopefully they aren't too harmful.
     
  17. ttaylor45

    ttaylor45 PetForums Member

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    If you look at the top of this page I replied to your first post with details of pepes problems now although I’m not sure whether they are linked with the anaemia or not.
     
  18. Henry.W

    Henry.W PetForums Newbie

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    Ok we have the results for his blood test on Monday. He went from 16% to 22%, which I think is great! His bone marrow red blood cell production is high, so an enlarged spleen makes sense. Things are looking good. His stool is a brown colour and I think his gums are getting less pale. The vet suspects his vision problems are either due to PRA or some sort of mass blocking his eyesight.
     
    #18 Henry.W, Aug 23, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
  19. Henry.W

    Henry.W PetForums Newbie

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    I'm so sorry, somehow I forgot that I even read that. Hopefully, you can get cataracts removed soon. Do you think an ultrasound will reveal anything that the x-ray hasn't already? It seems like in a lot of these cases the owners never find the actual cause but the dog gets better with medication.
     
  20. ttaylor45

    ttaylor45 PetForums Member

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    He has had an ultrasound but it did not show anything we can’t have the cataracts removed because the pressure in his eyes was so high due to the glaucoma the specialist eye vet said it will have caused damage to the eyes and also he has kidney problems which means he can’t have an anaesthetic, so we have to use eye drops to keep the pressure under control so sadly he only has a little sight in one eye. He also has to take a blood pressure tablet because of his kidneys.
     
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