View Full Version : Newbie From Florida

11th September 2006, 11:54 AM
Hi Everyone! What a great looking forum to assist in the care and wellbeing of these precious creatures. As well as some good comaraderie along the way.

My name is Jim. I live on the West coast of Florida with my lovely wife of 37 years, Linda, along with our two cavvies, Charley (6 yr. old Blen.) and Megan (4 yr. old Ruby). Also with Snickers (12 yr. old Schitzu) and three rescued mix breeds; Mocha (Pekinese/Schitzu mix), Abbey & Hobie (Heinze 57), two parrots, Taco (Greenwing Macaw) & Katie (Double Yellow-Head Amazon) and the cat, Hampton.

Unfortunately, what lead me to this site was my research over the weekend for any assistance and / or additional information to help with the problems we're having with our little boy Charley.

Since the end of June, we've been fighting Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia with him. We have simply been beside ourselves with the treatment required to neutralize his immune system which of course includes the use of steriods then eventually Chemo which to us is akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Then this past Thursday he took a turn to the worse. He couldn't walk after he got up and his big beautiful brown eyes indicated pain. (If only they could talk!!) We had to rush him into the Animal ER. X-rays from the 24-hr. ER showed something new, a consolidated left lung lobe. She (the 24-hr. ER Vet) said it was probably either Pnuemonia or a lesion of some sort. Pnuemonia made perfect sense to us since we've been knocking back his immune system with steriods the past two months trying to get his blood platelet counts back up. We couldn't wait for the next morning to get our regular Vet's diagnosis and recommendations.

Then, it just got worse. Diagnosis; left lung lobe twisted (I'd never heard of such a thing except for maybe a horse's stomach!) and consolidated (a mass of some sort). Two issues with proceding with surgery; 1- his already low platlet count only gave him a 50/50 chance of coming off the table. 2- if the mass was cancer, and if it was rooted at the base of the lung, there was no point in waking him up due to the short, painful few months he'd have after that.

Needless to say, my wife and I spent the last few moments laying on the floor with him before he was prepped for surgery, bawling our eyes out trying to be positive but all the while thinking we'd never see life in those beautiful brown eyes again.

The Vet permitted us to be with him during surgery. It took 1-1/2 hours and all went very well. I couldn't believe seeing the lung twisted as it was. The lesion caught on the X-ray was at the best place it could have been instead of the worse. It was at the very tip of the lung so the Vet was able to excise it completely. By eye he could not find any other areas effected. The section of lung removed was sent for biopsy which will take a week or so before we'll know what it was.

In the meantime I'm happy to say that for now, our Charley boy seems to be doing fine and recovering nicely. We were able to bring him home yesterday (Sunday) to be with his family. So far his platelet counts are holding steady for the past two days since surgery. We are hoping and praying that we don't have to re-subject our guy to those dreaded steriods. Now it's a wait & see process to ascertain whether or not this problem had anything to do with the Thrombocytopenia or if it's a separate and unrelated problem altogether.

Sorry for the "novel", I know this is supposed to be a "introduce yourself" forum but once I get going on my Charley I can't seem to keep it short.

We love all of our pets dearly and treat them all like children but our cavvies have taken a special place in our hearts.

As soon as I can figure out how, I'll post some pics of our "kids".

Thanks again for providing this special place and allowing us to be a part of it.


11th September 2006, 01:21 PM
Welcome to the board~ as you can tell we do love our pictures! :D

Im sorry you went thru a ruff spot with Charlie, Im so happy hes on the mend~

Cathy T
11th September 2006, 03:34 PM
Although this is the place for introductions we appreciate you telling us about your situation. This is a good way to introduce yourself! So sorry you are going through all of this with Charley. My heart was breaking just reading his story and what you and your wife were going through. I'm hoping and praying he continues to recover.

11th September 2006, 06:40 PM
As you can tell my husband and I are also in Florida. I am so sorry for what you all must be going through. The thought of laying with them trying to will them to understand that you are doing all that you can to make him better. I can't imagine.

We will pray for your family and Charley. Please keep us posted on his health.

Denise G.
11th September 2006, 07:28 PM
Thanks for sharing your story--I caught myself tearing up while reading through your ordeal. It's amazing how these precious little "furry souls" steal our hearts isn't it? :l*v:

I'm glad to hear that Charley is doing better and will send prayers and healing thoughts your way!

Welcome to the forum and keep us posted as to Charley's progress!

matties mum
11th September 2006, 09:28 PM
I was so sorry to hear about your little Charley and am hoping everthing gose on alright I welcome you to the site and ask if you will keep us informed about Charley sending prayers and best wishers for him Aileen

12th September 2006, 11:03 AM
Thanks everyone so much for the warm & friendly responses.

Yesterday (Monday) was Charley's first check-up by the Vet since surgery last Friday. Good news - bad news.

Good news; he's recovering from his lung surgery in leaps & bounds. All seems fine with that part of it. As a matter of fact, he seems to be his old happy self like he was before the IMT was diagnosed in June. His eyes are clear and bright and for the most part, he's "waggy tail" (my and my wife's metaphor when we think he's happy & feels good) and gives lots of good kisses like before.

Bad news; his Platelet count is dropping again. Down to 69,000 on Monday's test whereas he was holding even at 100,000 over the weekend on both Saturday & Sunday. D _ _n IMT!!

For those of you that might not be familiar with the danger of a low platelet count, as we were not up until 2-1/2 months ago, the animal will start to bleed-out internally and externally at some point. Apparently they are all a little different at which point they'll start to bleed out but we know our Charley started to bleed out when reached his lowest point of 55,000 back in July. (We've read where some have dropped as low as 5,000 without hemmoraging.)

We were hoping that the lung problem was related to, or causing, the IMT so we could be rid of both at the same time. We were especially hoping to be rid of the so-called "cure" for the IMT which is various steriods and Chemo, but it appears we're dealing with two issues.

At any rate, we have scheduled him in to see a well re-nowned small animal acupuncturist at the University of Florida in Gainesville (about 3-hours away) today. We've had great success with a local acupuncturist with our Shih-tzu, Snickers, whose getting on in age. We want to explore all natural avenues before loading him up with steriods and Chemo again.

Just one more comment / observation about laying with our Charley before surgery on Friday. (Thanks duncans_ma & others for those kind comments). We firmly believe that they can "feel" your wishes, hopes and prayers somehow. I don't know what you call it or even how to put it into words but somehow they know. Just as they are always there for you when you come home, you should always be there for them as you are all they have. In this case, even though he couldn't get up any more at that point, so we both were laying with our faces close to his and talking to him, he struggled to raise up enough to lick the tears from both of our faces which of course just brought more. That's communication from the soul and no matter what happens, I shall never forget it.

Thanks again all for the interest and providing a warm and friendly place to share and learn about these precious animals.

12th September 2006, 12:10 PM
Hi and welcome to the board.

I am so sorry to hear what you are going through with your Charley at the minute. I was in tears myself reading through this thread. Poor Charley and poor you two as well :(

These are such truly wonderful little babies and you're right, they do communicate from the soul. Hoping for a good recovery for Charley and sending positive healing thoughts his way. Give him a gentle hug from me :flwr:

13th September 2006, 12:49 AM
Hello and welcome!! Oh I sure hope that your Charley will be alright, keep us posted on how he is doing. We're all pulling for him! I think that is so wonderful that you were both there with him during his surgery. When my pets were ill or had to go to the hospital, I always stayed home from work to be with them, there was just no way I could stay away from them, especially at a time when they need you the most!

13th September 2006, 01:55 AM
Sorry to hear about all your babies problems. My dog was originally diagnosed with this issue (thrombocytopenia) and it scared me to death. Luckily he really has this-

13th September 2006, 11:42 AM
Hi all,

Charley's CBC Tuesday AM before we wisked him off to Gainesville to visit the specialist at the University of Florida showed his platelet count was back up to 106,000. We were elated but "been there, done that" before with cycling up and down.

Charley's visit with the specialist at the University was very positive with reports of high percentage success rates with previous cases of IMT, but with different breeds. We'll see.

In the meantime, we're holding our breaths to see the results of the biopsy from his lung surgery last Friday which is due this Friday at the earliest. Then we'll have a better perspective of what we're dealing with.

For my future follow-up posts on Charley, I'll start a new thread in a more appropriate forum such as Health & Diet or General Discussion so that it doesn't drag out here in the introduction forum.

Thanks everyone very much! Can't wait to get the time to peruse through other posts, pics, information, etc. on this board when things settle down to some sort of normalcy.

15th September 2006, 12:21 AM
Glad today's visit was positive. Crossing my fingers :xfngr: and hoping that things keep looking up for Charley!!

24th September 2006, 06:31 PM
I was so touched by your letter. My 6yr old Blenheim Addie has just returned home from two days at vets, with what they say could be thrombocytopenia. She went in for pain in her back, and falling over and found her very very low platlet level. They have run all the tests they did for Charlie, so now we just wait until tomorrow to see if medicine has brought levels up. How can you not love their beautiful face, and sweet nature. I hope Charlie continues to improve, and I am hoping my Addie girl gets better soon as well. AddiesMom

Cathy Moon
25th September 2006, 04:20 AM
Hello Jim and Addiesmom,

As many as 50% of all Cavaliers have large platelets which are often miscounted as white blood cells - please read these article and print copies for your vets:

One of my cavaliers has this condition, which requires no treatment. When my vet does a blood count, she manually counts the platelets.

As long as the platelets are large, it does not matter if the count is low, in fact it can be life threatening to the cavalier to be treated for this condition.

We have another member who had a close call with her vet wanting to treat her cavalier with this condition.

25th September 2006, 01:02 PM
Cathy, Thank you so much for the information. Addie sees the vet at 9;00 this morning. I had already planned to hold off on her medicines this morning as she has had breathing problems 2 hrs after giving her her medicine. I will let you know what they tell me. I had planned on taking her to our State Vet School anyway for her back. But I am more concerned at this point of wrong medications for her. Again, thank you for this information. AddiesMom - Carol

25th September 2006, 03:12 PM
Welcome to Cavalier Talk, and I am sorry that you boy has been unwell, good thoughts are coming over.

26th September 2006, 02:42 AM
Welcome all and sorry that you are having these problems!

I would strongly second what Cathy has mentioned about platelet counts easily being totally misdiagnosed for this breed -- large platelets are well known in the breed and they need to be hand-counted when it appears that the count might be low. Not all cavaliers have large platelets but many do. I am guessing that most likely, Charley has no thrombocyte problem as this is a rare condition and often misdiagnosed as many, many vets do not know about this situation with our cavaliers. FIngers crossed this is the case and he isn't having to deal with this as well! If so he needs to be taken off the steroids etc for that condition because, as you note, it will weaken his own immune system. :xfngr:

22nd October 2006, 04:03 PM
Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't gotten back to post in awhile but things have been a little hectic around here.

I am (cautiously) happy to announce that our little boy Charley is progressing to the positive side in spite of all he's been through.

A lot has transpired since my last post so I'll try to condense instead of my usual novel.

The diagnosis from the biopsy taken from the section of the left / middle / Lung Lobe removed during his surgery on September 8, 2006, was Bronchointerstitial Pneumonia, with filaments of Nocardia. Which of course was the preferred result over Cancer.

Post-surgery he was put on Pred. as well as Amoxicillin. His Platelet counts hovered in the 70,000-to-90,000 range for the first few weeks. The vet was still struggling to determine whether or not the lung infection had anything to do with the Thrombocytopenia. Then, as soon as he was stable enough, we elected to start him on acupuncture as well as other natural Chinese herbs.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we wanted to turn to as prominent a Acupuncturist as possible so our little boy would have the best. We landed on a Chinese Acupuncturist at Florida University, Gainesville. We began taking him to the University for once-a-week treatments (Acupuncture & herbs) which is a 2-1/2 hr trip each way from where we live in the Tampa Bay area.

He responded immediately with his counts coming to 100,000 to 105,000 in the first two weeks.

Now, he is totally off of all Western Meds except Pred. which we (the vet) is weaning him off of slowly. The second week in October his counts came up to the 130,000 range. His last Platelet test (hand counted) registered 180,000! Alledgedly, from 170,000 to 220,000 is normal for Cavvies so needless to say we are elated!

We of course are hoping that this is going to be a stable reality instead of the rollercoaster of diagnosis' that we've been through since June. He's been through all testing, MRI's (belly only) and X-rays that are known to us with exception of a full body MRI and all results are now clean and positive.

I wish to thank all of you for the many positive and kind words, especially to a "newbie". It was very comforting since it was "The Rainbow Bridge" that really led me to this site to start with when I was looking for a appropriate place to post his epitaph which is where I thought this was going back in late August, early September.

Karlin Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:42 pm
I would strongly second what Cathy has mentioned about platelet counts easily being totally misdiagnosed for this breed --

Yes, that's exactly what happened here at first (mis-diagnosis), only the wrong way. Charley's first symptoms (in late June)were sluggishness and we noticed that when we went to pick him up, he groaned as if he hurt someplace. We immediately took him to the vet. Unfortunately, our vet was out of town on vacation and he was seen by a young associate who diagnosed him as "probably pulled a muscle while jumping off the couch" and put him on a mild muscle relaxant. 48 hrs later, he started showing blood out of both ends. We knew then that there was something more seriously wrong and fortunately our vet was back. He immediately did a platelet count which was in the low 50,000 bracket.

Since then, we've done a lot of research on platelet counts for Cavvies and it's our findings that there is no dependable set limit on the low side that determines when they'll start to bleed out. (This is the condition that makes Thrombocytopenia fatal. If you cannot stop the platelet count from dropping, they will eventually bleed out). They apparently are all different. We found instances where a Cavvy has dropped all the way down to the 5,000 to 10,000 range and has recovered (although those were rare). All I can tell you is that our guy started to bleed out when he hit the low 50,000 range.

Since my efforts to prevent this from turning into a novel has already failed, I want to add one more footnote / opinion.

My wife and I are not in the medical field, we are just lay persons and proud Cavvy owners trying to do the best we can for our "kids". However, it is our considered opinion at this point that this whole thing was started by giving him his annual vaccination shots which included distemper. His beginning symptons started 24 - 36 hrs after that. I know from reading a lot of input here as well as elsewhere on this subject that the jury is still out on the matter however, we are convinced at this point that it was the cause.

Thanks again everyone. Here are some pics taken during Charley's recent journey;


Shot in August while still fighting multiple symptoms




Our little boy immediately after surgery on Sept. 8, 2006.
He is laying on a post-surgery warming bankie. The personalized heart on the
bandage was made by one of the female assistants just for Charley.
My lovely wife, seated on the floor to the right, never left his side.


Our little guy this morning (10/22/06), waiting for
his breakfast treat.

Thanks again everybody! Really appreciate the kind thoughts and prayers.

22nd October 2006, 04:26 PM
I am so glad Charley is doing so well. It is so frightening, and at least you had some wonderful care. As I stated before my little girl Addie was going thur a similiar situation. She started with not being able to walk, took exrays of spine and found her platlet count to be around 50,000, during this time I was lead to this site and read your original story. Also had response concerning idiopathic asymptomatic thromboytopenai. And hand counting platelets. Our first hand count was in the 40's range, then she dropped to 33,000 but no bleeding. On last count her level was 88,000 and seems to be recovering. We are weaning her off the steriods. Her platelets are very large and they clump. I just want you to know you your wife and Charley have been in our thoughts and prayers. And I cannot be more thankful for finding this site. As we love our girl Addie dearly. Best of luck. Addies Mom

Cathy Moon
22nd October 2006, 04:43 PM
Thanks so much for giving us an update on Charley! He has been in the back of my mind for ages, and I was wondering if he made it. I'm so glad he has pulled through and has had such loving caregivers!

I'm glad you found the alternative medicine for Charley, too. I once had a very elderly maltese mix who had severe arthritis in her knees along with luxating patellas. Her vet studied Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and aqua-pressure in Switzerland, and this knowledge and treatments added a few more good years to her life. I like the idea of utilizing the best medicine of both East and West.

Hope Charley continues to improve! :flwr:

molly+charlies mum
22nd October 2006, 05:48 PM
icon_welcome i am so glad your little charley is better, he looks lovely, hope you enjoy your time on here...

22nd October 2006, 10:44 PM
Thanks everyone for the kind responses.

Addiesmom - So glad to hear that your little girl seems to be on the mend. This disease is very frustrating to deal with because of the variables and mis-diagnosis possibilities involved. One of the things I feel is so very important for treatment of any disease is to have faith in the Vet that you're trusting your pet's future to. In our case, we had complete faith in our Veterinarian from the start. We've been using the same Vet for years for all of our animals & birds and credit his expertise and willingness to confer with other experts in the Platelet field for saving our boy. He is the author of many books and has been involved and participated in many specials on Animal Planet. He is one of the very few I've heard of that lets the pet owner observe any and all surgeries that is performed on your pet. He was one of the first to encourage us to seek out alternative methods (which he practices also) especially when he had to resort to such potent Western Meds such as the steriods and chemo. I noticed Addie is exactly the same age as our Charley. Just curious. Was there anything in particular that precipitated Addie's symptoms?

I know in our case, we went on the warpath immediately after different possibilities such as our pest control man to our pool man after being told that "any changes in their immediate environment" could trigger IT or other immune associative diseases. You start (at least we did) to go a little crazy when your little boy or girl is deteriorating before your eyes and the 'experts' can't tell you anything definitive. Best wishes to you and Addie for her continued recovery.

During all this I've sort of neglected introducing our little Ruby girl Megan. Megan is four yrs old and is my favorite girl. Megan's only health problem with the exception of her mom and dad spoiling her and letting her weight get out of control is BOAS. We now have her on a regimented diet which should help with the airway obstruction problem once we get some weight back off of her.

Here are a few pics of our little Megy girl;



Thanks all!

Cathy T
22nd October 2006, 11:30 PM
Wow! I was so nervous and anxious to read your newest post. So afraid we were going to hear bad news. What wonderful news. Truly made my afternoon...and then reading further about your new baby. What a truly uplifting story. Charley is an absolute charmer. And obviously a very strong willed boy to pull through all of that. And Megan...what a sweet pea!!

So glad you gave us an update on your story. I, too, have wondered how things were going.