Why Asia Died....
By Guardian Angel
Joanne & Angel Asia
The major point
I want to make with this article on autoimmune
hemolytic anemia and autoimmune thyroiditis is to encourage
you to have titers done instead of having annual vaccination boosters for
all your dogs, not just your epi's. Titers reflect the quantity of antibody
level in the blood.
Dr. Jean Dodds, who has done thousands of titers in the last 12 years,
says that 97% of the dogs who have parvo titers have enough immunity and
do not need parvo boosters. She also found that 98% of the dogs who have
distemper titers have enough immunity and do not need distemper
boosters. A parvo/distemper titer is $20. to $30. for both. A small price to
pay for peace of mind....
It has taken me a whole year to be able to sit down and write about my
sweet little Asia who died when she was not yet 3 years old. Her loss
was so painful I couldn't even verbalize it. Now, if her story can save just
one epi's life by having titers instead of boosters, her loss will not have
been in vain.
My beautiful red Dobie Asia collapsed and I
rushed her to the vet's. Her diagnosis was Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia
(AIHA). When I asked what the prognosis was I was told she would probably die
within two weeks...
I cannot tell you the shock and disbelief of such a diagnosis. Asia was still
an adolescent puppy and she was my "heart dog." I loved her with
every fiber in my being. It was her little face looking up at me from
her pillow next to mine every morning with those huge
pussywillow brown eyes that would put a smile on my
face for the rest of the day..
Every bit of research I found on the computer that day validated what I
had been told. The recovery rate of Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia was very
low. Most died within 2 to 3 weeks. These were long odds that I would tackle
every minute of every day. Asia was my "baby" and I couldn't
She was a rescued epi that crawled into my heart on Christmas Day 1999
and found her "forever" home.
The big question was "WHY"? That same day I opened a bill from the vet with
last months charges. I was stunned to find a charge for a parvo/distemper
booster exactly 30 days before Asia collapsed and was diagnosed. Asia was
hypothyroid and also had autoimmune thyroiditis. It
was written on her chart and it was very clear that she was NOT to receive
parvo boosters. When I took her in for her distemper booster I heard my
vet tell the tech to only give Asia a distemper
I called the vets to confirm what booster she had been given and when I
heard the story, my heart sank. It seems while Asia was being taken in
the back for her distemper booster, two other dogs got into a fight in the hall
and there was chaos trying to get them under control. Evidentially the vet
tech was badly shaken that when she took Asia back for her booster she
accidentally gave her a "combo" booster which included parvo. She didn't realize
how deadly this was until Asia was diagnosed with AIHA.
I called Dr. Dodds who was very concerned by the news. She explained that
because Asia was hypothyroid and had autoimmune thyroiditis, the parvo booster
over stimulated her immune system which ended up destroying her
red blood cells. Basically her immune system
turned on her.
The next two weeks were a daily tenacious fight for Asia's life by myself, Dr.
Dodds, my vet and the ER vet. I spent nights in the ER sleeping on
the floor next to Asia while she received blood transfusions of
oxygloblin. Dr. Dodds would come by the ER to stay
with Asia while I went to get something to eat. I
spent the days by her side at home comforting her, monitoring her breathing, her
pulse and trying to get her to eat to keep her strength up. She slept under an
infrared lamp next to me to keep her warm. She never complained, never whimpered
and there was always a warm lick for my cheek.
Asia had blood tests every other day to monitor her platelet count. Day after
day I watched helplessly as her blood counts dropped lower and
lower. It was an emotional roller coaster. I never gave up even when my
vet told me she was dying. I couldn't accept that, I
couldn't believe that. I just believed that my love and care along with all the
medications and the transfusions would pull her though. I couldn't imagine a
world without that adoring face looking up at me with
all the love in her heart.
Unfortunately, one of the major complications of autoimmune hemolytic
anemia is thrombosis (over active clotting). One night the ER x-rays
showed tiny spots on her lungs and she was having problems breathing. I held my
breath and prayed like I have never prayed before. There was not much
else anyone could do. Everyone I knew was praying for
Asia and sending supportive e-mails. The next day
while I was holding Asia, she threw a blood clot to her lungs and she was gone
in seconds. I don't remember the next few weeks because I was in shock and so
much pain. I just remembered crying day after day
Why did I loose the love of my life? It is clear to me. Asia was
hypothyroid and she also had autoimmune
thyroiditis. She accidentally received a parvo booster which caused AIHA
exactly 30 days later. 90% of the dogs who are
hypothyroid also have autoimmune thyroiditis. When a dog has autoimmune
thyroiditis, you have to be adamant and not let the vet give
the combination vaccination booster that includes parvo. You need to do
Below are links to other articles I have written to
encourage you to do titers instead of vaccinations. Additionally,
Guardian Angel Jan & Kirk wrote an article on a recent
news report on vaccinations that you should print out and take to your vet.
Here is what you need to do to avoid AIHA:
1. Determine if your pup has an autoimmune disease. If your pup is
hypothyroid there is a 90% chance it has autoimmune thyroiditis. Check
this out with your vet or Dr. Dodds. If your pup has an autoimmune
disease DO NOT allow it be vaccinated with the
distemper/parvo combo. The actual number of dogs
contracting AIHA from modified live parvo virus vaccine is not yet
known but there have been too many cases to ignore it. The safe thing to
do is titers.
2. INSIST on your vet doing titers instead of the annual distemper/parvo
vaccination booster. Any large commercial lab can do titers and also Dr.
Dodd does titers. The parvo/distemper titer runs between $20. and $30.
Remember, there is no law that requires you to vaccinate for
anything except rabies. You can also do titers for
rabies and even New York state accepts titer reports in lieu of a rabies
vaccine. Doing titers could possibly save your pups
3. Print out all the articles on autoimmune hemolytic
anemia/immune mediated hemolytic anemia, vaccinations and autoimmune thyroiditis
and put them in a file. You don't have to understand everything that is in
these articles but you should have them handy in case
you need to explain to your vet why you want to do
titers instead of vaccinations.
I hope you find all this information helpful. It is one more piece in
the puzzle of keeping our epi's healthy. I really care that you keep
your pups with you as long as possible. The pain of
loss is unbearable and doesn't go away....
Medicated Disease Awareness
Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia