I remember seeing a comic a few years ago, a simple drawing of a potato-shaped figure, with a mask and cape, and titled with “ANXIETY GIRL! able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound!”
Ouch. I’m not going to lie… that smarted!
I am ANXIETY GIRL! sometimes, especially when I’m dealing with nebulous concepts, like why my Muppet has low platelets.
It started out innocnetly enough. I took Zenobia in for her spay. Since we found her on in a parking lot, we had no idea if she’d been spayed and although our old vet was pretty sure she’d found a spay scar, we wanted to make sure, and when she went into heat, well, we knew she had not been spayed.
So, off we went to disable her ability to produce puppies. (Look, I love my Muppet. I adore that silly little dog who thinks I’m the best thing EVER, but I want Muppetlings like I want a root canal without anesthesia.) They did some routine bloodwork to make sure she was healthy enough for surgery, and then mid-morning, I got a call I wasn’t expecting.
Her bloodwork had come back showing low platelets. Normally, the vet explained, they want platelets up around 200,000, because well, platelets and clotting are interdependent and Zenobia’s weren’t anywhere near that. In fact, her platelet count was about 90,000.
The vet was very kind and walked me through a few things, like what might cause the drop- tick-borne diseases (unlikely since we hadn’t picked up anything on her first exam), heartworms (negative heartworm test made that unlikely), or possibly an immune issue that caused her body to attack her own platelets (possibly, but more a diagnosis after we’d eliminated everything else). The doc mentioned it could be something along the lines of it might could maybe be leukemia, but she didn’t think that was the case.
We didn’t do surgery that day. The vet really didn’t think she’d bleed out on the table or anything, but she was concerned that healing would take much longer and be harder on the puppy, so we put it off. I made an appointment for another check, and yesterday, John took her in for another platelet count.
Her platelets hadn’t come up at all, and if I remember her weight at the last visit, she’s lost a bit of weight. (Twelve and a half-ish pounds-ish to 11.4 pounds, which on a dog I can fit in my purse is a fair bit of weight.)
So, we’re going to start her on a 10-day regimen of antibiotics and steroids, to see if there’s some little underlying infection, and to see if it boosts her platelets. Where we go after that will all depend on the bloodwork.
This is where ANXIETY GIRL! comes in. I leaped to The Googles in a single bound and searched for “low platelet count in dogs.”
Don’t do that.
(I’m not kidding. Don’t do that.)
There isn’t exactly a dog-specific equivalent for WebMD’s tendency to diagnose your hangnail as cancerous, but there are some sites that I should be categorically banned from, because while I couldn’t tell you the website names, I can tell you that lymphoma and leukemia are the only words I remember. Also, an immune disorder that I’m pretty sure means my dog’s cells are out to get her. (Look, it’s a really long Latin name that I can’t really remember, but it was Latin and my dog is involved and so, it’s really scary okay?)
John let me know the results via FB Messenger because I’m out in the field, and of COURSE I leaped to “OMG MY DOG IS DYING!”
John had to remind me that Zenobia is not on a fainting couch, whimpering in pain and acting like she’s sick. She might have some weird blood thing that would make surgery risky. If so, we’ll limit her contact with intact male dogs, and shore up the fences so the little weasel-dog can’t get out, and we’ll manage it.
To quote my beloved husband- “Don’t bury her, then.”
So, yeah, need to remember that. Also? I need to stay off Google because I will inevitably find the website to convince me the dog is dead and I’m snuggling with a staggering zombie Zenobia. (Zomnobia? That seems unlikely, unless zombies like to play “Hands,” which is Zenobia’s favorite game. She is uninterested in whether or not it is your favorite game.)
Also, I need to work on my ability to redirect catastrophic thinking. I need to figure out how to catch those trains of thought before we’re going 80 mph on a rickety bridge across a chasm, and we can’t stop even though we KNOW we just flashed by a “bridge out ahead” sign.
Yay. Geez, this whole “fixing my brain” think is still hard and a pain the ass, but I gotta do it.