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I originally posted this in a golf forum I belong to. But I am finally transferring it to here. Hope it does people some good if they run into it. He was diagnosed 1/13/2009. I am including the original post dates from the other forum.

January 21, 2009: For all you people who have pets out there, please, please, please spend the $300 or so a year to get insurance for your pets! My five year old dog has a really bad disease called ITP (Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura) which basically causes his red blood cells to attack his blood platelets. We spent way more on his treatment than I ever would have believed I would (we don't have kids, so our dogs are our babies) and now he is home (at their suggestion) but the prognosis is still poor. He goes in Friday to check his platelet count again and we'll see where we stand then. We are giving him every chance to get better but we aren't going to drag it out for our sake. We figured it would be the 3 year old spastic case dog that would need the insurance because she is a freakin' daredevil (we just know she's gonna break legs in the future!) but she has it now, well as soon as it goes through underwriting.

Please take a look at this website: www.petinsurance.com and at least consider buying this for your pets. I had been on the fence about getting them insurance for close to a year now. I wish I had done it.
 

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January 22, 2009: If you have something to post, please feel free to add anything or put your own story here.
I was told to post some pictues of Bandit, so here they are. He's the Brown/Black hairy dog and Tara is the mostly black dog.
An update: his leg joints swelled up which made it extremely painful to walk, so we had to carry him out and use a towel to hold up his back end to do his business. Last night about 11:00 he was able to lock his legs in place while he went (so we didn't have to support him) and then he walked himself back to the steps. This morning he took a walk around the yard leaving us by the deck. He kinda looks like a weeble (he wobbles!) but he's getting his strength back in the legs. So things look a lot better than they did when I made the post to start the thread. Thanks for the nice pm's I have gotten! He's not out of the woods yet, but we can at least see the edge of the treeline.



 

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January 22, 2009 (8:50 PM): So we decide to not use the sling at all unless he needs it. So this morning we take him out to do his business and since Jacqui works out of the office downstairs, we decide to just have him walk around the house and go in the front door and into the office for the day. Well, he makes it to the front of the house before he stops and I put the sling on. He continues on his way and although the sling is on him, I am not supporting him at all. We still have to help him get up but after that, he walks out of the office, down the hall and out the front door and gets in the yard to go. Then walks himself back and flops down on his "bed", which is actually a papasan chair cushion we got off Craigslist (our house is furnished off Craigslist!).

This evening, when Jacqui is done working, we take him upstairs for the rest of the night. Well he takes himself. Out the door, around the house, does his business and waits for me at the steps of the deck. I carry him up 5 steps and set him down and he does the rest. So shortly, Jacqui is getting their dinner ready, and Tara is there waiting for it. Bandit actually gets up by himself and walks into the kitchen like always and ended up eating standing up at his usual spot. (I didn't see him get up but I saw him heading for the kitchen, so I hollered at Jacqui and she turned around and there he was!).

So now we know he can get up, this is what we make him do just now when we took him out. He stumbled a little and I steadied him but he made it up and out and I had to hurry and catch him before he took the steps on his own. We'll try that, hopefully, tomorrow.

We are looking forward to him walking in to the vet hospital tomorrow for his checkup. I honestly don't think they thought he would be coming in for it, and to tell the truth, I wasn't 100% sure either. Let's just hope his platelet count is up and things will really be looking good.
 

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January 23, 2009 (11:25 AM): Friday morning update: We walk him in for his checkup and they are all surprised to see him walking. We could hear people saying to other people, "did you see Bandit yet?” They take him back for his checkup and you could hear the people saying hi to him. Doc comes back out with him and says the tests will be little while and she'll be back out. She also says she was proud of us for all the nursing care we did; that most people would not have done what we did for him. Anyway, she comes back out in half an hour or so, his blood platelets (which were at 12,000 when he left) were up to 370,000 (normal) today. Red cell count is at 28 (should be 35-55,000) and white cell count is 70,000 (should be 10,000). His red cells were at about 21 when he came home so it's coming up. The white cell count they aren't concerned about because he is on steroids and other drugs which will raise it. He goes in again on Tuesday to see which of his many pills he will still need to take. From what I researched, he'll be on the steroid for probably a couple of years. (They will slowly decrease it to the point his platelets start dropping, and then increase slightly until he doesn't need them any more).

It's not completely over yet, but they seem pleased with his progress.
 

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January 24, 2009 (6:36 PM): Yesterday afternoon Jacqui took Bandit out and wasn't able to stop him at the top of the steps. He went all the way down and didn't know what to do at the bottom and ended up sitting on his butt. So I guess he's ready to go down the steps. I try to go in front of him so I can slow him down, and he can hit the bottom and keep walking. Sometimes he's too quick for me and there's a wipeout at the bottom. I've tried to see if he'll go up them too, but the back legs aren't strong enough to push up yet.

Last night Jacqui saw him in our room trying to jump up on the bed. He wasn't getting any air, but she could tell he was trying. So she helped him up the ramp (yes, we made our dog a ramp to get up on the bed when we thought he had a torn ACL - - - so sue me, we baby our dogs!). He always loved to spend the days lying on the bed. So just now I got him into the bedroom and tried to help him up the ramp but he pulled away from me so I stood back and he did it himself. So hopefully a day or two working on the ramp will get him to be able to do the stairs. Then we'll work on the dog door.
 

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January 27, 2009 (6:22 PM): The news of the day:

Took Bandit in this morning. His platelets have increased now to 640,000. So he has gone from 12,000 to today in one week. I don't think you can have too many because they didn't seem upset about it nor did they decrease his steroid prescription. The steroids are to increase the count. Red blood is up to 30 from 28 last Friday so we're working our way up to 35 (35 to 50 is normal). White cells down from 70,000 to 39,600 and working the way down to 10,000 (normal).

I made him walk down the stairs today (about 10 steps with a 90 degree turn at the bottom). He has been taking the steps off the deck fine so we thought we'd try this. Yesterday evening we had him walk up the deck steps, with our help. He's not quite ready for that yet. He still stares at us from the bottom of the steps when he's ready to come in! Finally I had him go back into the house through the dog door (if you remember it is actually built into a cabinet and has two sets of double flaps). Not sure if that was the best thing to get him to do since he won't climb the steps yet! Although he's using the ramp all the time (up and down on his own), so hopefully the steps aren't too far away.

They didn't refill the three prescriptions that ran out yesterday, kept him on the same dose of Prednisone and halved the amount of the Azathioprene; he'll take it once every two days instead of every day. All they told us to do was double his food so he starts gaining his weight back. So all good news so far, hope it keeps up.

Should I make everyone's jaw drop by saying how much this has cost so far? I still can't believe I would ever have spent this much.
 

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January 27, 2009 (9:55 PM): Well, it seems like updates come sooner than later anymore. Jacqui went out for a smoke and Bandit went out with her. When she came in he wanted to keep licking up the snow off the deck, so she went back inside. She hollers at me to come here, so I go upstairs and I guess he had to go do his business and had been waiting for us to come lift him up the stairs, because he was about halfway up them so we let him keep going, and he made it all the way up! First time!
 

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February 6, 2009 (9:53 AM): Bandit's Tuesday exam went pretty well. His platelets were down to 150,000 but the vet said she wasn’t concerned; it is common for it to fluctuate for a while. His red cells were up to 39,000 (35-50,000 is normal). He was about 21 when he left ICU. They did a liver test since he is on steroids and saw a little stuff they gave us pills for and expect it to be gone by the time the pills are gone. Again, common and they aren't concerned. Because they did the liver test they didn't check his white cell count because she wasn't worried about it because of how he looks and because she wanted to save us some money (This check up was twice as expensive as the previous ones!).

Still has some swelling in his left legs but that keeps coming down daily (his joints are where the swelling is). He's walking and standing up much easier and he actually went down the stairs (from upstairs to downstairs, not the steps on the deck) for the first time yesterday. The best thing I have seen though is our other dog has started messing with him again (biting his snout, chewing on his neck) like she used to do. I take it that she knows he is getting better, because the first day home she smelled him and stayed away. Every day she would do more with him (lay next to him, stuff like that). But now that she is being a brat to him again I think she can tell he's improving.

He has gone outside on his own (using the dog door) because Jacqui has found him outside during the day and she didn't let him out! He also has climbed the steps and came back in thru the dog door because Jacqui has forgotten him outside because he didn't want to come back in right away and when she comes upstairs an hour later he's already inside. Usually he will just wait at the bottom of the steps wagging his tail waiting for someone to come and carry him up the steps. So it's starting to get some sort of normalcy again. We still have 6-8 more months of checkups and treatments before it's all over. Hopefully those will go down to once a month soon!

I am still kicking myself for not getting the insurance a year ago when I started thinking about it. Tara, however, got approved for hers yesterday so she will have hers in a few days. She is the one I figured would need it since she is a daredevil.
 

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February 10, 2009 (7:02 PM): Platelets up to 183,000, still low but better. Swelling in left legs is almost gone and they dropped his Prednisone (steroid) down to 50 mg a day (from 60). Today was the first bill under $117.00 though, which is great! (It was $44). Bandit's been much livelier the last week and has still been using the dog door to go out and come back in without Jacqui's knowledge. This means he has been going up the deck steps more often. It's funny to watch him because he will get both front feet up then kinda of go up the stairs slowly at about a 45 degree angle (he is going straight up, but his body is angled). He still needs to put on about 5 to 10 more pounds but he's gaining steadily.

Tara has been pestering him a lot more and a lot more often. I think she is getting antsy for him to be able to run and play in the yard with her. But he's moving a lot better and has started shaking with his left paw again (he had been shaking with his right for close to two weeks now). He's also been sitting up more often, which means he's getting stronger in the hind area. He's also been coming downstairs a lot more often (which is cool but it sucks because one of us has to carry him back up; he'll do the outside steps but there is less than half as many of them!).

The doctor is very pleased with the progress he has made. She calls him their miracle dog! It's neat to see the people come out to see him and the look of amazement on their faces is priceless! Hopefully soon we'll go down to every other week for his check-ups but we had to set another appointment for next Tuesday. I think though, once they don't need to see him every week it will probably drop to once a month. I have a feeling we'll be skipping the every other week schedule.
 

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February 19, 2009: They faxed us a list of all of Bandit's test results from Tuesday and everything is in the acceptable ranges. Some are on the low end, some on the high end and some right in the middle. Platelets are up to 207,000 from 183,000; Red Blood up to 53 from 39 two weeks ago and White Blood is at 12,700 from 39,600 three weeks ago (they hadn't checked red and white blood for a while). He is still taking the Azathioprene one pill every other day (this was the last thing they gave him in ICU to try to get his platelets up; it is generally used with cancer chemo as an immune suppressant) and is down to 40 mg of prednisone a day (from 50). The Prednisone is also an immune suppressant (because his white blood cells were destroying the blood platelets). He's finally over 60 pounds again (after doubling his food for two weeks!). He got as low as 54 the day he came home and should be 65 to 70. He had been maintaining 65 pounds for the last couple of years before this happened so that's our target.

Yesterday Jacqui went to take Tara out for a walk, so she gave Bandit a treat out back and by the time she was putting on Tara's leash downstairs, Bandit was sitting in front of the front door wanting to go too. So instead of going around the block, she just took them both three houses down and back. She said he was fine and kept up the whole way and didn't appear to be ready to go back home but she didn't want to push it and have him wear out all the way down the street. So she'll go a house or two further each day. He's flying through the dog door when he doesn't think about it first and he's getting up the steps on the deck quicker. Still going up sideways. He still has slight swelling in the left legs but very minimal.

So it's getting better all the time. We're also not taking him in every week for now; they only want to go ever two weeks for a while.
 

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March 11, 2009: Forgot to post here. The exam on March 3 went great, his weight is up to 64 punds, which is 1 pound under his normal. Platelets are at 180,000. They noticed something with his liver enzymes, which they later decided was OK but we are still keeping him on the liver medicine (something I forgot to mention before); the steroids increas bad things in the liver so they gotta keep an eye on it as well. We have gone down to one 20mg pill of prednisone daily (it was 60 mg when we brought him home). The doctor told us to increase his meals by another half a cup since he has been out in the yard eating poop, which is kind of a side effect of the prednisone, since it makes him hungrier! So they cut down on the prednisone to help stop that. But they have to be careful not to go down to quick so his platlet count doesn't start dropping again. He's still on the Azathioprene though, one pill every other day. Getting more active all the time. He'll go in again next Tuesday.
 

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March 23, 2009: From his March 16 exam: Best results yet. Platelets are at 203,000. They have held steady for the past month and a half, ranging between 180 and 207 since the first part of February. White blood is at the lowest levels since this all happened. In fact everything is within the reference range and has been for at least the last month. This month’s tests showed everything moving more toward the middle points of all the different readings they took. He’s down to half a pill a day of Prednisone (10 mg, down from 20 mg two weeks ago and down from the 60 they started him at). He’s still taking one pill every other day of Azathioprene and his liver pill, one pill every day.

He’s up to 68 pounds so we are going to start cutting back his food to 2 cups per meal (had been 2-1/2 for a while now) because the last thing we need is a fat Bandit. He’s getting better with the steps, climbing the deck steps pretty quickly now; still can’t get upstairs from downstairs without help. He also tried to jump up on the bed this weekend. Well kind of. We tried to get him to use the ramp but he wanted to jump up. The best way to describe it is he looked like Phil Mickelson winning the Masters. His butt end didn’t move but his front feet got about two or three inches off the ground! He’ll go back in again next week.

They noticed something with his knee that they want to keep an eye on; but it’s a side effect of the Prednisone in their patients with joint issues that they can’t really look at real good until he’s off it. The doctor said most of the time it goes back to normal after the pred is over but sometimes they have to go in and fix it. So we’ll worry about that if needed.
 
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