Good Day Gone Bad

We have been working Ruby through the summer to prepare her for the busy fall agility schedule. When it gets cooler we tend to have more trials in this part of Texas. Yesterday we were back in College Station for a NADAC trial. Ruby and I are competing in Elite for some events now. What I am finding is Ruby is ready and I need to elevate my game.

Elite Jumpers

What you will notice about this run is how focused Ruby is on me (after she breaks her stay…) for the rest of the run she is brilliant, right up to me mis-queueing her over the wrong jump. All in all a great run for her…not so much for me.

And Then Things Got Worse

After the run MJ was rubbing Ruby’s belly and noticed some red blotches on her belly, thighs and near her tail. She flagged me down and after looking her over we decided it looked worse than we were comfortable with (she had crusty blood on her tail and it just looked scary), so we packed her up and headed to the on-call vet. The folks at Kingdom Vet Hospital were really great about taking us right in. (Quick note to anyone traveling with a dog, scan your rabies and vaccination certificates and save them ’to the cloud’ so you always have them ready. In my case I keep them on SkyDrive and just sent a link to the vet. This made it a lot easier to get right in.)

Following a brief examination the vet told us it could be a number of scary things but wasn’t a simple allergic reaction. A quick blood test revealed that Ruby had no platelets. There are a couple reasons why this could be the case, none of them good. Generally, it’s either a tick borne disease (TBD) or autoimmune reaction. Ticks carry all kinds of horrible diseases and they are very bad for dogs. Autoimmune issues are caused by the body going after itself for any number of reasons. It could may be a tumor or for some unexplained reason. The thing is, we may never know. The vet knew that the help we needed was over at Texas A & M University Vet School. They arranged a referral and we headed right over and admitted Ruby. They confirmed the diagnosis and the gravity of the situation.

What We Do Know

We know that Ruby has no idea that she is sick, and that’s a good thing. We also know that if you are going to have a veterinary emergency it’s great to have instant access to a Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital like TAMU. The medical staff is in love with her. Many times this disease goes on so long the dogs is VERY sick and cannot fight the battle. We caught it very early. Early tests are negative for TBD and the X-rays of her chest and abdomen are clear, so no gross tumors. The treatment at this point is to get her platelets back up, so that means steroids to suppress her immune system. Tomorrow they will perform an ultrasound to ensure there is no cancer and they’ll take blood for a more definitive TBD test.

The worst part yesterday was driving back to Austin without Ruby, then spending the night without her on the bed, then waking up without hearing her wagging tail pounding on the mattress. The house is very different without her. Please keep Ruby in your thoughts and prayers. We’ll post updates as we learn more.

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