Absolute sweetheart Nettle was admitted to our Dog Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to manage and investigate her symptoms of pyrexia (high temperature) and lethargy. She also had nasal discharge on both sides.
Blood tests showed a low neutrophil count (a type of white blood cell). Nettle also had a CT scan, X-rays, an ultrasound and rhinoscopy (a tiny camera inserted into her nose). No causes could be found for Nettle’s low neutrophil count, and so she also had biopsies of her bone marrow.
These investigations led to the final diagnosis of a rare condition called immune-mediated neutropenia.
Neutropenia is when the concentration of neutrophils in the body is abnormally low. The role of these cells is to destroy bad bacteria and so they are the body’s main defence against infections. When there is a low level of neutrophils, it effectively means the body has little to no immune system.
Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication and oxygen therapy helped Nettle to feel much better while she was in the hospital, and she was discharged after a week in our Dog ICU.
She continued to be medicated with steroids and antibiotics at home to support the replenishment of her neutrophils and to remedy her secondary infection. Nettle’s carer had to keep her close by and away from other dogs to protect her while she was still more vulnerable to infection than usual.
Nettle’s neutrophil levels have been monitored with regular blood tests since she was discharged, and the results of her most recent one showed a vast improvement. This means Nettle has been able to get back to exploring freely during her walks and she can say hello to whoever she pleases!
Nettle’s condition will need to be continually monitored, but luckily it is treatable and her symptoms are entirely manageable with immunosuppressive medications.