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Readers Respond: Thrombocytopenia: Dealing with your pet's disease and low platelet count

Responses: 26


Thrombocytopenia is a low blood platelet count. Thrombocytopenia isn't a disease in and of itself, but a potential sign of many different diseases. The disease process may be immune-mediated (the body destroying its own platelets), a decrease in production (as with bone marrow disease) or a toxic or infectious agent (parasites, bacteria, drug-induced, etc.).

Whatever the cause, this condition can be dangerous. Please share your pet's story here to help others dealing with this condition.

update on george

george took a turn for the worse it was as if he had pulled a muscle in his leg at first he was yelping every time he stood up back to vet give him a pain relief shot then the panting started,the next day when he finally got up he could not sit or lie down without yelping i could tell he was in a lot of pain he was arching his back and he would yelp if i lifted under his chest so i think it was some thing to do with his back i am positive that the massive weight gain due to the steroids was to blame called vet out and had to put george to sleep i am heartbroken and i feel guilty for trying to save him but really i feel i should have let him go sooner this illness is devastating i will miss him so much no more dogs for us its to upsetting
—Guest steve


Our beloved pup Sophie died yesterday. Her energy and appetite were "off" for about 5 days. She's was a 6 plus yr old Goodledoodle and their bellies are sensitive, especially in the springtime. Sunday night, we noticed that her pupils were dilated.(Actually was bleeding into her eyes.) Rushed her to the ER. Did blood work and her platelets were 7000. Took her home because she hated to be crated and if she wasn't going to make it, we didn't want her to die there. They started her on Prednisone and anti-nausea meds right away. Consult on w/internist Monday. Ultrasound showed no masses. Scheduled for "chemo"-type treatment the next day to boost platelets. Had one last wonderful day with her. She was very vulnerable but still affectionate, ate and drank. We were guarded but hopeful. Monday night she started vomiting lots of blood and had tarry stools. Rushed back to the ER. She was bleeding out and there was nothing they could do to stop the bleeding. She died w/in a few mins. So, so sad!

My dog George

I look at my George who has the same condition has most of your dogs he is not even 3 but acts like he is 13 the prednisone Definitely safed his life but the weight gain and premature ageing hardly seems worth it I am all for quality of life and George don't seem to be getting it for nearly a year now any body now how to deal with this wits end
—Guest Steve

My Pug child is going thru this

My baby girl was given a rabies vac, 2 weeks, prior to emergency. Vet said her platelets were around 200-400, and should be around 200,000-400,000. The put her on 60mg of Prednisone per day, she's having an upset belly from it. She's eating betert -- more like a typical pug! But she's very tired, has no energy, had to drink a ton & potty soooo much! After a week on the extremely high doses of Pred, e go back to vet today to have her blood re-checked. What is so bad about this is that 2 yrs ago, she was acting odd; tired, not greeting me when I came home, not as hungry. Vet said her red blood cells were low. They put her on Pred to level out her red blood cells, over 6 months, she deleloped diabetes, we weaned her off Pred, but kept her on Azathioprine & added insulin for disbetes for a year. She adapted very well to the insulin. Then, she got her rabies vac & 2 weeks later, the low platelets & high doses of Pred. I just worry about my baby girl!
—Guest Tyra

Diagnosis IMT

3 yr old doxie swallowed a silica gel pac in a bag of beef jerky. 3 vets said should see no symptoms only a little diarrhea. Next day he was vomiting dark brown and pooping the same. Went to ER. They inserted a "back" IV and naseaus medicine. Woke up next morning nd he had bled all over his bed. Back to his own vet this time and thought something wAs major wrong because he did not clot from the IV site. Suggested specialist at MU. Still here. Diagnosis IMT. Platelet count is 6,000, red blood cells normL. Antibiotics and high doses of steroids. Next day platelet count 45,000! So happy! She may go home the next day. Woke up to a call saying platelets dropped back down to 6,000. Cried all day. Got to see her for 30 min. She wagged tail, barked, pooped and kissed me all over! They started her on a 4 hr drip the medicine was glud something. Oh, yes, she has a bleed in her GI with bruising. Tomorrow I'm praying. Please Lord allow DJ to live! We love her so much! Before I brought her
—Guest Margo


Marley was our 10 yr old shar pei mix. We discovered lesions in her mouth on Sat. On Sunday we saw bruising on her belly. She showed no signs of illness right up until taking her to the vet on Mon. She was diagnosed with what they thought was Auto-immune thrombocytopenia. Platelets were 7 but red cell was normal and blood was clotting. Sent home with Pred, Doxy, famotidine & misoprostal. After returning home, she went down fast. Wouldn't eat or drink, blood in poop. Next morning, she couldn't walk. Rushed her to ER for transfusion. Hospitalized with estimated bill of 5000. Platelets were 0. Started Platelets and other IVs. Went to breakfast for 1 hour, came back and she was in obvious distress. Blood was coming out her nose, mouth, eyes and ears. We could tell she was in pain and they did not think she would make it through the day. We decided to end her suffering. They think the bleeding was in her brain.
—Guest Sherry

heart broken

Our small dog was fine everyone went to bed and she started peeing tarry blood and drinking a lot. Earlier that day i did notice purple bruising on her. she cried all night long was getting weaker and weaker. By the next morning i was getting ready to place the call to the vet and my husband informed me our precious doggie passed away. What could have been wrong with her. There is no poising around has not really been outside its been below 0 we are clueless
—Guest Sami

Boykin Spaniel

We just lost our beautiful 10 year old Boykin Spaniel, New Years Eve 2013. We found out she had IMT about 3 weeks ago because she was chewing her nylabone and poked her lip the bleeding would not stop the vet corterized it 4 differant time with no luck. Finally they stitched it up and that worked. They took blood work and found her platelets real low and liver inzimes high. a week later they started her on prednisone and antibiotics. When they gave her the pred shot she would get huge hematoma. The size of a baseball. A few days later her gums were very pale and another trip to the vet they gave her another pred shot and took her blood again her platelets were still dropping. We were really hoping and praying that the pred would kick in. But no luck. New Year's Eve she became quickly lethargic and collapsed she had labored breathing and we rushed her to the vet hospital. Her chest was very large and tight with internal bleeding. We said good by to her and will never be the same. RIP MD
—Guest Robyn

Not yet 3!

On December 6th 2013 my happy, healthy, energetic 2 years and 11 month old Labrador retriever woke up and by mid-morning was vomiting blood. A few minutes later he was having bloody diarrhea. I rushed him to the vet where he was examined, x-rayed and sent to the animal hospital. Although the X-rays did not show anything, the vet noticed bruising on his leg from where blood had been taken, in his ears and in his mouth. At the hospital he was immediately admitted, hooked up to an IV and started on antibiotics and steroids. I brought him home the next evening on 7 different medicines to be administered around the clock. He was lethargic and had to urinate every 1.5 – 2 hours due to the medication. I was told he had auto immune disease. The animal hospital wanted him to stay another couple of days but at $1,000 a night it was cost prohibitive. They cautioned me to be very careful, not to leave his collar on or to let him do anything. They said he ran the risk of bleeding to death.


Dorsai was diagnosed th a platelet problem in 1995. They weren't calling it ITP then but he would get transfusions whenever he went down. Had to declare bankruptcy to pay for all his treatments. He started with extreme lethargy. I knew he was having some kind of problem and I took him to the vet and he did blood tests. Had to send them off to test. That afternoon Dorsai couldn't even hold his head up so we went straight back to the vet where he got his first transfusion. They tried the steroids but he still would have a major relapse about every six months. Funny thing is now I have ITP. Steroids don't work for me. Have to have IVs about every three months cause my count gets down lower than he ever did.

vet medicine.com

My shepherd had I M T He cried when he walked own the steps I thought he pulled a muscle platelets were so low. After 1 week in hospital treated with prednisone platelets continued going up. There is hope
—Guest Madelyn

Sam's Journey

My dig Sam seemed not to be feeling well so we took him to our regular vet. He had a temp of 104 so he gave him an antibiotic and said to bring him back if he did not get better. Took him back a few days later and they found spots on his lungs and very low platlet count. He suggested I rake him to a specialist which I did and they got him better but really could not tell me what was wrong. On the high doses of prednisone his platelets improved but started damaging his liver. No answer. I finally found a wonderful vet who started reducing the prednisone, liver returned to normal levels and now we will continue to reduce and if the platlet drops he said there are other Medes he can take that will keep the platlets up but will not cause liver damage. He also said he could stay on prednisone 10 mg. much longer than you can leave a dog on 30 pr 20mg. The second place I took my dog to could not figure out why is liver was so off the chart and wanted to biopsy for cancer. Find good vet!!!
—Guest Kathy Smith

My 4yr old Cocker Spaniels Immune System

My Dog Cinnamon was a vets for a dental cleaning. the Vet called shortley after dropping her off and said she is bleeding internally, and cant do the procedure. We rushed her to the Hospital and they immediately started a transfusion of blood. At that point she had 1 or 2 platelets. She remained in the hospital for 7 days and had 2 more transfusions. she was real close to dying. After the results of the blood tests came back she had been biten by a tick which then in turn gave her a bacterium that tanked her immune system. She was on Predisone and an antibiotic for months. Gradually weaned her off of the Predisone and is doing great. I did add some vitamins and good healthy snacks to her diet. She can never be vaccinated again or do anything to challenge her immune system. i also am not a fan of numerous vaccinations. Frontine seems so toxic to me. I give her a half of a dose and do give heartgard. I check for ticks fleas on her like a crazy lady. Thank Goodness she is fine
—Guest Cocker Patty


Our cat has this also. We found out after finding bruises on his temples. this was in 2008. He would get very ill after vaccines. I can't be sure but I think they are related to his illness. He was diagnosed and put on predizone, platelets numbers improved. Weaning caused them to drop. It's a horrible disease which we caught in time to save him. We moved, new vet, and we are introducing 3 ml melatonin. Reducing predizone to 10 mil per day along with 25 mg of Atopica a day, eventually getting him off predizone. We'll see. Just began new routine today. Max (feline) is on a strict weight loss, also solid gold vitamins, a teaspoon of plain yogurt a day and a teaspoon of pure pumpkin in a spoonful of moist food he's allowed in addition to the diet dry. This helps for fiber and help with sometimes straining to go poop. I'm sure all caused by the steroids. This is the first sight I've seen with more peoples pets having this rare disease. Thank you.
—Guest Cindy

Golden with ITP

In November of 2011 our 2 year old golden retriever, Sali, received her Rabies and Parvo vaccinations. Within 3 weeks she became lethargic and had a red area in the white of her eye. The vet diagnosed her with Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia. Treatment was 40 mg prednisone daily. Her platelet numbers improved immediately but after tapering there was a steady decline again. We resumed higher doses of prednisone combined with 6 mg melatonin twice daily. We are tapering more slowly this time but platelet numbers are still declining. I am wondering why the vet and online sources are so quick to reject the connection between administering vaccines with onset of disease. It seems that there is a relationship since dog was so young and otherwise healthy and active. I would like to know if anyone else has experienced this and if their are any suggestions for further treatment.
—Guest cfjensenpdx
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