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Dr. Steven Osborne
Dr. Steven Osborne, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 4277
Experience:  20 years of Veterinary Medicine expertise with experience in canine and feline medicine and surgery
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Hi - my 11yr old neutered female Labrador has an auto-immune

Resolved Question:

Hi - my 11yr old neutered female Labrador has an auto-immune condition that causes her white blood cell count to be very low. She has had x-ray, ultra-sound and bone marrow biopsies that have shown no malignancies. Her white blood cell count rises if she takes prednisolone and taking this steroid has caused her to lose a lot of weight - mainly muscle. Over a 5 month period the vet has tried to reduce the steroid but the condition comes back. Most recently the vet tried an alternative immune-suppressive drug but that hasn't worked. She is now back on steroid treatment and the vet now thinks she should be put down as she can't survive on steroid treatment indefinitely. Any thoughts?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Steven Osborne replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Steven Osborne :

Hi I am Dr Steve. My first thought was to try another immunosuppressive drug called cyclosporine. THis may be the one that she has already been on. It does sound like your vet has tried the basic treatments for autoimmune conditions.

Dr. Steven Osborne :

It can be frustrating when there doesn't seem to be anything left to do , but being on steroids for the rest of her life may not be the ideal situation, but in your case, it may be the only thing that can be done. It is your vet's opinion to put her down, but if she is not seeming to be in pain or uncomfortable, then , in my opinion keeping her on the steroids to give her a little more time is a viable option. Of course trying to get to the lowest possible steroid dose is the best thing for her ( as you know) . Weighing the advantages of continuing her steroid treatments versus the disadvantages of putting her down now should help you make the decision. I would think your vet would respect your decision if you choose to continue the steroids, even if it oonly gives her a little more time. I realize you are hoping for another treatment to try, but in reality, this is more of a "making her comfortable and allowing her to live the rest of her life" decision. I hope this has helped. I will check back tomorrow to see if you have more questions. Thanks for your question and good luck.

Customer:

Thanks - immunosuppressive drug was Azathioprine so could ask the vet about cyclosporine. Presumably using canine GMCSF would not be appropriate as it is not immunosuppressive?

Customer:

Also I can understand that long term use of steroids isn't really an option as this will lead to other complications eventually.

Dr. Steven Osborne :

Yes cyclosporine is another medicine that may be something to at least consider or to try. . GMCSF would not likely help since she is in need of an immunosuppressive medicine as you mentioned. Thanks for the extra information. I hope the cyclosporine is something that can be helpful. Good Luck

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