The vet examined her, and she looks in great health, aside from her bad knees, which we already know about (nothing to be done for her there). Figured the panting is due to soreness when she's overdone it. Agreed it's not time to put her on metacam or rimadyl, we want to save that for when she's acting sore and starting to slow down. A certain amount of pain is good - it tells us what our body shouldn't do, and the fact is, Angel shouldn't do some things because of her joints.
I had the bloodwork done as an afterthough, just to be sure. I also had bloodwork done a year ago, before putting her under anesthetic to x-ray her hips and knees (Angel has congenital luxating patellas, tibial rotation, a deformity and laxity in her ankle, and hip dysplasia, and she hadn't had x-rays in 3 years, so she was due for a check).
Anyway, both last year's bloodwork and this year's bloodwork show low neutrophils. The rest of her bloodwork is normal.
Last year, because the rest of her bloodwork was normal, we dismissed it as an anomaly, the tail end of an infection maybe.
However, with two tests, a year apart, showing the same result, we now have to figure out why she's got neutropenia (low neutrophils).
the vet told me possible causes are:
- infection (which she has no symptoms of)
He's going to talk with the specialist tomorrow, to get advice on what the next step should be. He said that his course of action, going on his gut and experience, would be to start with a set of chest x-rays to rule out a chest infection or tumours. If that was normal, then a trial of prednisone, to see if it improves (immune-related neutropinia is treated with steroids). And finally, if that doesn't give us the answer, a bone biopsy.
I asked if it was possible that her "normal" was just to have lower neutrophils. He said that some breeds are predisposed to that, but with Angel being a mixed breed it wasn't likely. It's more likely she has some underlying health issue. Since she's asymptomatic, whatever it is, if it's serious, we've probably caught it in time to treat it.
Anyway, do any of you vet techies have any experience with this?
I'm not worried, I'm totally sure that whatever it is, we've caught it in time, and Angel will be fine.
It's weird, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's cancer. Dh and I were chatting, and it turns out we've both always thought, secretly, that Angel would have cancer at some point in her life. We've both thought that since she was a puppy.
Gut instincts aside, from my reading, it seems the most common cause of neutropinia is infection. They list the pathogens most often responsible, and two of them are fungus that come from bird droppings, particularly pigeons. Angel has a habit of catching birds, our neighbour keeps pigeons and chickens, and the people who owned our house before us bred budgies and every other type of bird, so Angel's had plenty of potential exposure. Dogs infected with these fungi are often asymptomatic, but chest x-ray shows chronic lung infection. So, if we get some chest x-rays done, it will rule that in or out.
I should have more info tomorrow, but would love any feedback in the meantime.