Murph gave me a real scare about 3 weeks ago. All of a sudden he was very sick. Listless, not jumping, not eating, didn’t bark, just slept. I had no idea what might be wrong but suspected it might be a reaction to some “all natural, freeze-dried” food that I had given him a couple of days before. (it wasn’t that)
I took him to the vet. By this time his fever was over 105°. They decided he needed to stay at the hospital so they could check for ecoli, salmonella and possibly a tick infection. They did X-rays in case he had done something to his back – a real problem for doxies since their vertebrate is a little different from other breeds. They also took blood for a complete blood test.
After a couple of days when there was no improvement, they asked me to bring some chicken to see if he would eat for me, plus it might be helpful for him to see me so he would know I hadn’t abandoned him. He ate the chicken and since his fever was down almost to 102° they thought it might be best if he came home where he would be more comfortable.
The following day, we received the blood test results. His white cell count was extremely low and his platelets were so dangerously low that he was at risk of dying from internal bleeding. The Dr’s words became a blur after that but I heard “OSU, transfusion, marrow transplant, $5,000, might not work, euthanasia”.
The tests the Dr had done ruled out the ecoli, salmonella and ticks. We wracked our brains as to what changed in his life that could have caused this sudden illness. In late August he was put on phenobarbitol for some epilepsy seizures he had one day. This normally safe drug can have a side effect in rare cases where it can deplete the white cell count. Ah-ha!
He was immediately taken off the phenobarb and given a couple of types of antibiotics to protect him from infection since his white cell count wasn’t sufficient to do that. After about 3 days, I began to notice some improvement. Little by little he continued to respond. After nine days, he seemed well enough to have another blood test taken, although the bleeding risk from the needle was unknown.
That test showed that the platelets were back to normal so the bleeding risk was gone. His white cell count had improved but not yet quite to the normal range. The difference was enough to feel that the phenobarb was definitely the culprit. It’s now been three weeks and externally, he seems back to his normal fiesty self.
While this has been a somewhat costly endeavor, I’m so glad the Dr kept exploring and making phone calls to various specialists, keeping me updated with frequent phone calls. I know that not all Dr’s would have done this and instead merely suggested euthanasia – and I would have needlessly lost my little buddy.
I began going to Best Friends in 1987 when I took my first Dobie there as a puppy. They cared for my next two Dobes throughout their lives. They’re now caring for The Murph in their new Powell location and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for totally caring group of qualified veterinarians. I especially appreciate Dr Riggs and Dr Latimer. I also appreciate their asking for people’s well wishes for Murph on their Facebook page. Just like their name, they’re the BEST!