Immune Mediated Thrombocytopaenia in Dogs: Rhea’s Story

Michelle Heltay

Posted on October 31 2019

Immune Mediated Thrombocytopaenia in Dogs: Rhea’s Story

Originally published on my previous website:
This is a true story of my dog Rhea.

Immune Mediated Thrombocytopaenia: An Introduction

Immune Mediated Thrombocytopaenia (IMT) in canines is a very serious auto immune disease. In fact, it is so serious, that dogs do die from it by literally bleeding to death.

There are some very simple steps to ensure your dog will not develop this preventable disease, or if your best friend already has the disease, there are nutritional supplements you can give to help them heal.

What is Immune Mediated Thrombocytopaenia?

Rhea’s Story of How She Beat IMT

Immune Mediated Thrombocytopaenia is an insidious auto immune disease. The immune system ‘attacks’ the platelets in the blood and basically kills them off. It has a very similar action to rat poisoning in that it causes internal bleeding.

Signs and symptoms are: anemia – white gums & inside of ears, bruising – most noticably under the tummy, the ‘armpits’ and inside the hind quarters, lethargy, black stools and even bleeding from the gums. Breeds that are mostly affected by this disease are poodles, golden retrievers, old english sheepdogs & cocker spaniels. Interestingly enough, IMT affects females more than males and especially after the age of 6. This is generally due to the fact that around middle age is the time when most immune systems have had enough abuse from a lifetime of neglect, vaccinations, heart worm medications, cortisone treatements, tick & flea treatments, commercial dog food etc.

My own dog, Rhea, suffered from this disease. She was the only dog out of 5 diagnosed by the local vet clinic that survived in the same time frame. I am a Naturopath who used to specialise in human immune system disorders, so I decided to look into our canine friends too. It turns out that they are not much different than us!

We first discovered Rhea had IMT after she ate a particuarly large lamb shank. Her gums were bleeding quite a bit after gnawing mercilessly at the shank but by the next morning, they were actually bleeding even more! I rushed her to the vet in case she has eaten some of the rat poison we had just laid for some particularly troublesome rodents. It turned out, her blood count was so low, the veternarian was seriously considering whether or not to give her a blood transfusion!

After a lot of research and soul searching, the following is the information I found on treating IMT naturally and what I used to heal Rhea. (By the way, Rhea is a retriever, staffy, ridgeback mix).

Dogs require 50mg of Vitamin C per kg of body weight. Don’t believe the old rot that dogs manufacture their own C so giving them extra will harm them! That is a lie designed to keep our animals sick! Humans also require this amount of C in the exact same ratio JUST TO MAINTAIN NORMAL EVERYDAY HEALTH! You need to increase the Vitamin C slowly until your body and your dogs body reaches a threshold, then keep the dose there for about a week, and then increase the dose again. I recommend adding an extra 1000mg each week until you get to the desired level. I gave Rhea 1/4 teaspoon of Nutrition Care C Plus Powder twice a day and built it up to nearly 1 teaspoon. Please note: Vitamin C increases urine output. Please don’t blame your dog if they bug you to go wee in the middle of the night. Remember to take them out before bedtime!

You can add all these supplements into human grade mince meat or a porridge meal. Stay right away from Kangaroo mince or pet minces as most of these contain a nasty chemical additive called sulphur dioxide. This additive makes the meat appear more red and ‘fresh’ and usually takes away the rotten meat smell if the meat is getting past it’s use by date. Sulphur dioxide affects the kidneys most significantly. Really nasty stuff this sulphur dioxide!

Vitamin B complex: I gave Rhea Nutritional Yeast initially at 1/4 teaspoon twice a day. I had to increase this slowly as the medication she was on made her feel ill and nauseous. She went outside constantly to eat lots of grass! B complex is VITAL for proper functioning of the immune system. B complex helped to organise the immune system while the medication she was on, (Imuran) suppressed it from functioning. Sounds complex? Not really. The reason Rhea needed to have her immune system repressed is so that hopefully it would stop attacking itself. It needed to be halted for 3 months minimum as all cells have memory. It takes approximately 3 months for most cells to reproduce. The theory is that once the new ‘daughter’ cells have developed, they hopefully didn’t pass on the ‘memory’ of their ‘parents’.

I added in a 1/2 teaspoon of Rosehip granules, 1/2 teaspoon of seaweed mix and 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon Bee Pollen. All important for proper immune & cellular functioning.

Next, I supplemented her with a Practitioner Range called Sanum. I cannot stress the value of this product enough! You can only get this product from a Practitioner such as myself.

She receieved 20 drops Sanum Seleokehl (Selenium) once a day, 120 drops Sanum Sanumgerman (Organic Germanium) once a day, 8 drops twice a day of Sanum Mucedokehl Monday – Friday and 8 drops twice a day of Sanum Notakehl Saturday and Sunday and 20 drops three times a day of Sanum Sanuvis.

To read more about the virtues of the Sanum range: click here.  It will give you more of an idea of what the products can and can’t do and how they work. Legally, I cannot tell you anything about the product as the TGA won’t permit me to give out any information about the range to non clients.

Mucokehl is specific for any type of blood disease including blood cancer. It is a must in my clinic when any animals present with IMT,  circulatory disease or blood cancer.

Most importantly, I added in Sanum Recarcin capsules – 1 on Thursday only and Sanum ‘S’ Utilin capsules – 1 on Sunday only. These are vital for proper immune functioning. Only one of each per week is needed to get a strong immune response.

When the vet first told me Rhea needed to be put onto an immune suppressant drug and a chemotherapy drug, I nearly cried! I am a Naturopath through and through and this went totally against the grain for me. I understood what was happening to Rhea and wanted to help her naturally only. In the end, I decided to put her on those drugs but added in all the above supplements. I already had Rhea on the BARF diet (Bones And Raw Food) but increased her intake of raw meats such as lamb and veal shanks, gravy beef and meaty beef soup bones.

I had to add in Slippery Elm powder as the Prednisolne therapy causes ulceration of the stomach hence internal bleeding; this is extremely lethal and intensely painful for the dog. She receieved 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of slippery elm powder with every meal! This coated her intestines so the Pred could do its job and not affect her intestinal walls. Please be aware that anyone – animal or human medicating with Prednisolne NEEDS slippery elm powder!  She was only on it for a short time. The vet took Rhea off the Pred as she was doing so well! I truly was not happy about her being on Pred as it's a type of chemo drug. But mum wanted Rhea on it as it was the vet's advice so I had to compromise

They examined Rhea’s blood every 2 weeks to make sure she had enough Red Blood Cells. At the 3 month stage, the vet came back to me with a bewildered look on her face. Apparently, Rhea’s blood count was climbing! Normal RBC count is 50 – 60. Initally, Rhea’s was only 18. At 3 months into treatment, it was at 27. The platelets were whole and fully formed with NO sign of damage!

When I explained all the supplements I had Rhea on, the vet was amazed!

It has been 9 years now since Rhea was first diagnosed. She is stronger than ever and younger than before starting treatment. She is now 15 years old but only looks 6! She is full of energy and vitality. I still occasionally need to put her back on a single large dose of Sanum Mucokehl, but apart from that, she is better than before.

I don’t know what I would do without Rhea. She has so much unconditional love, always has time for a hug and a kiss, she is always ready to play, she is even wonderful with my 3.5 year old son. I am just glad I had the knowledge to heal her – and if this information can somehow help your doggie friend(s) too, then it is well worth it!

**Editors note: Rhea passed away 2nd October 2014, age 16. She passed away quietly at home the day after her 16th birthday.

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