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Newly here from Russia and have doggy catastrophe. Need advice

Friday, January 15th, 2010

I moved to Moscow from the U.S. last week and unfortunately on the night of arrival (Friday 22nd) my 10 year old dachshund, Riley, got a piece of rawhide stuck in his esophagus which ended up requiring surgery. The surgery took place on Monday. The surgeon pushed the rawhide down to the stomach and then opened the stomach to retrieve the raw hide. Riley was supposed to come home tonight, but his RBC, Hemoglobin, and Hematocrit levels have been dropping for last two days. Today the 29th, they were 3.2, 70, and 23 respectively. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a count on reticulocytes before the transfusion, but the vet said that even if he was producing RBC he wasn’t producing at a rate fast enough to catch up. They did ultrasound and xray to make sure there was no internal bleeding. And so, today they kept him to do a transfusion. I have been struggling with language barriers and am frustrated beyond belief…Half the time I am scared I am going to loose the little guy and half the time I am sure that they are just creating these tests and procedures to get more money out of me,

A little background on Riley… 2 years ago he was diagnosed with SARDS and lost 100% of his eye sight. Approximately one year before the SARDS, he had developed a severe gastro intestinal problem. He was loosing weight fast and couldn’t keep food down. We and vet feared he may have cancer. After putting a scope down into his gut, the vet described his stomach/intestines as hamburger meat and the intestine walls were thickened and unable to absorb nutrients. I can’t remember all of the discussions, but the vet said that there was an increased level of some type of bacteria that was causing the problem. It was assumed ( I don’t think we ever got a strong diagnosis) that he had a food allergy and the vet put him on Z/D ultra and 1/4 of a 250g Metronidazole tablet 2 times daily with food. This has managed his symptoms very well. We thought we had lost him and then he was back and doing great as long as we did not change his food and continue the metronidazole. He has had annual liver function tests since he went on the metronidazole 3 years ago. Then as I said one year after the gastro intestinal problems he goes blind, diagnosis SARDS.

Now after this latest catastrophe, I am trying to figure out what could be causing the anemia…if as the doctor thinks it is not due to bleeding.

Could it simply be an iron deficiency due to blood loss during the surgery?

Could it be stress or some other kind of delayed reaction to surgery due to blood loss?

I have heard that SARDS is associated with Cushing’s. Riley may have had some early symptoms. He was loosing hair, and he was always hungry (but since he was a puppy he was always hungry so I don’t count that one). Should we check further for Cushings? If he has Cushings could it have compromised his liver, which might have been helped along further by surgery?

The vet here in Moscow has been using intravenous metronidazole on Riley. Is that dangerous for his liver, since Riley has been on Metronidazole for three years?

Anything else we should consider?

Your help would be most appreciated.

Yours Truly
Worried Doggy Mommy

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