On August 25,2018 I saw Toledo Humane Society posted a photo of a beautiful dog, and I could see the sadness in his soul. Leo (Lennox) is a pitbull mix and only three years old. He was found in a Toledo dumpster and only skin and bones. Leo had multiple lacerations on his body, and one on the back of his neck had live maggots.
He was transferred to Toledo Humane Society on August 6th, where they saved his life and nursed him back to health. They initially did not think he would survive because he was so weak and needed carried everywhere. Although his time there was exhausting, lonely and confusing, he was still the most kind and loving dog. After a few weeks in their care and several treatments, he was finally ready for adoption. We immediately went to go meet him, and right when we saw him lying in his kennel, we were drawn to him and knew we needed to give him the life he deserved. We took him home the next day, and he slept for two whole days He quickly became comfortable in his new environment, and began to show us more of his spunky, loving personality. Everyone who meets Leo absolutely adores him..
One week ago, Leo started to act strange and was quickly losing all of his energy. He didn't want to go outside for walks -- which was out of the ordinary -- and he didn't have the strength to walk up or down stairs. He lost his appetite, and I couldn't get him to drink water no matter how hard I tried. He seemed miserable and incredibly weak. Sunday night my gut instinct told me I needed to do something for him. I took him to Med Vet, an emergency vet hospital, where I received the news that he has autoimmune hemolytic anemia, IMHA, a life threatening hematologic disease. It is a disease in which the body's immune system attacks and kills its own red blood cells; without an adequate number of red blood cells the body becomes starved of oxygen and cannot survive.
The causes of IMHA remain largely unknown, with 75 percent having no cause. I was taken back by this terrible news, and just wanted to learn more about the pathology of this harsh disease and how to help my baby. Leo was admitted and given a blood transfusion immediately. His hematocrit was at 13 percent, and normal is 35-55 percent. He was then started on immunosuppressants and heavy doses of steroids. We were told to monitor his condition and we contacted our vet daily with updates.
Throughout the week, he still wasn't himself, but he was more upbeat than he was prior to receiving the transfusion. However, this past weekend we have noticed a significant decline in his health. He was lying on the couch, breathing rapidly and panting. We decided to take him to Med Vet again to get his blood checked again, and it was at 15.9 percent -- which means that the transfusion was not holding. We are devastated and feeling financially exhausted, as we have already spent $2800. After speaking with Leo's vet today, she said that we needed to give him more time for the medicine to work. However, another transfusion is most likely necessary to buy us more time. To continue caring for Leo, we are reaching out to family and friends to help with the financial side. We have to take him to our vet to get his blood checked weekly which is $200, and his medications are about $400 a month. We are trying our absolute best with what we have but we need help. I just graduated nursing school from UT in August and am studying to take my boards in two weeks, and will begin my job in November. I am a full-time nanny, and my boyfriend is a Marine vet who is in school full time. All of our income has gone to keeping Leo alive and safe, which is leaving us with no money to live on. Leo is a part of our family, and we are doing everything in our willpower to help him.
I have never felt so helpless and hopeless. I don't know what the future holds for Leo, but I do know that every day with him is something to be thankful for. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for any help given and so does Leo.
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