Athena . . .
Case Study submitted by Gary Richter, DVM
Holistic Veterinary Care & Rehabilitation Center - Oakland, CA.
Athena (12 YO FS Husky Mix) was hospitalized at her general practice veterinarian in early October, 2013 for thrombocytopenia after the owner noticed bruising on her abdomen, bloody stool/ vomit, and decreased activity level.
Prednisone was started and her platelet count improved but then began to decrease further as time went on. Azothioprine was added and her platelet count improved but her hematocrit dropped. Abdominal ultrasound revealed hepatomegaly but no obvious masses. Since her diagnosis in October her activity level has been low and she has developed significant muscle wasting and weakness secondary to her disease and her medication regimen.
Athena was referred to an internal medicine specialist in late January. Prednisone and azathioprine were continued and cyclosporine, doxycycline, melatonin, famotidine, and sucralfate were added to her treatment regimen. Despite the changes in her medications, her hematocrit remained low and her weakness progressed.
Athena was referred to Holistic Veterinary Care in late February because of ongoing anemia and decreasing quality of life in that she was very weak and unable to stand up on her own. She had severe muscle wasting due to the high doses of prednisone. She could walk if she was picked her up and put her on her feet but could not get up from a sitting or laying position. Upon referral, the owner had one request for treatment: for Athena to be able to stand up on her own and walk around. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and herbal/ nutritional supplementation were initiated. Athena began HBOT at 2 ATA for 60 minutes per dive. She was treated five times over a one-week period. In the week following HBOT, the owner reported Athena was feeling better and more active. Two weeks post treatment, Athena was easily able to get up and walk around on her own. She could sit and stand on command from the owner as well. Her blood work (below) also dramatically improved. The owners are thrilled that they have their dog back and her lab values continue to improve as her doses of medications are slowly being reduced.