Melon, a lovely 2 year old female white poodle, presented to us for a routine desexing procedure.
A couple of days prior to her hospital visit, Melon was a little tired and not wanting to eat or drink. When she arrived for her procedure, she was back to being happy and wagging her tail.
A physical examination was performed and Melon was given a clean bill of health.
Without finding any abnormalities externally, it was important that we took a closer look via a blood test prior to the procedure.
Upon receiving the blood test results, it was found that Melon's platelet count (cells that help blood clot) was zero. This bizarre, and abnormal, finding indicated that we needed to further investigate Melon's blood via microscopic examination.
When looking at Melon's previous blood collection site, a large bruise was noticed.
The bruise made it highly suspicious that Melon was having difficulty clotting her blood.
After a discussion with Melon's family, it was decided that:
1) we needed to confirm this by sending a sample off to the laboratory, and
2) we needed to act quickly
The diagnosis: Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMT)
Its meaning: Melon's immune system was attacking its platelets. This occurs when the body tries to fight an immune stimulation, and gets confused, and starts attacking itself.
Its consequences: Any form of bleeding could not be stopped.
Her treatment: Using multiple immune suppressive medications to stop her body's immune response and allowing her bone marrow to produce adequate numbers of platelets
After providing initial intensive medical therapy, it was important that Melon stayed in hospital until her platelet count came back into the normal range and we were sure that she was not bleeding from anywhere.
Melon went home after four long days in hospital on medications to help defend her platelets.
After five months of medical therapy, Melon is finally off her medications and her platelets are happy, functioning and in abundance.
The value of blood tests prior to procedures is largely unrecognised, but in Melon's case, it was the key to her survival. This is why we offer pre-anaesthetic blood testing prior to surgery for all of our patients, you never know what might be happening under the surface.
Today, Melon is back at home with her loving family enjoying a normal life and we hope, with continued regular monitoring, that this remains the case going forward.