Peanut is a 10-year-old spayed female Labrador Retriever mix who we saw in the middle of July. Peanut had not been herself for several days and had stopped eating. She had no energy and was very lethargic. Her physical exam revealed a dog that was running a very high fever of 105.2. The sclera of her eyes was very inflamed and she was moderately dehydrated. We ran a full blood screen that showed her organs were functioning well but her platelet count was very low. Her white and red blood cell counts were normal.
Our immediate concern was the low platelet count, as spontaneous bleeding can occur at levels just below hers. Our main rule outs were immune mediated disease, tick-borne disease or neoplasia. She tested negative for Lyme disease but was started on antibiotics for possible Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. An abdominal ultrasound did not indicate any sign of neoplasia and she was started on intravenous fluid therapy. Within 4 hours of being admitted to the hospital, her fever was down almost two degrees. We started prednisone for the possible immune mediated disease. Twenty-four hours later Peanut was eating and feeling great. She was discharged and given oral medications to continue. During several follow-ups over the next few weeks she showed a steady and marked improvement. Now, almost 2 months later, she feels great and is back to normal.
This case demonstrates some of the frustrations of veterinary medicine. We do not have quick and accurate tests for many diseases including Rocky Mountain Spotted fever or immune mediated thrombocytopenia, so sometimes we have to treat for both. While she responded like a Spotted Fever dog, she never developed the anemia or elevated white blood cell count that is more classic for this disease. Regardless, we are pleased that Peanut responded so well and for that reason she is our canine Pet of the Month.
Shirley the Boy
“Shirley the Boy” has been a patient with us for many years. He enjoys both indoor and outdoor living at his home. He has a history of urinary problems that have been treated with antibiotics and diet. He has even been obstructed in the past and was unable to urinate on his own. He has overcome many trials and continues to be a familiar face between boarding and wellness visits. Recently, Shirley became very sick and lost weight. He did not want to eat and was very lethargic. His blood work and imaging indicated that he had an infection in his kidneys called pyelonephritis. Once he was started on the right antibiotic, he began to feel better almost immediately. There was also an interesting find on his radiographs. We saw two “white circles” in his chest. These are called “Bates bodies” and are incidental findings. Bates bodies are calcified fat and do not cause any problems. They can be seen in older cats in the chest or abdomen. Shirley the Boy is currently doing well and back to his feisty self! This is why he is our feline Pet of the Month.