From W.O.L.F. Staff Jillian Depperman
In the early hours on Tuesday, September 24th, Skye had a grand mal seizure, precipitating a stay in the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital that lasted until Friday, September 27th. Throughout those days, the CSU medical team performed bloodwork, blood cultures, chest x-rays, an ultrasound, an MRI, a CSF (spinal fluid) tap, and two bone marrow aspirates in an attempt to determine the cause of her seizure as well as her very high fever, which had spiked to approximately 105° at the time we brought her in on Tuesday morning. They also placed her on IV fluids and antibiotics, as they originally suspected an infection may have been the cause of the fever.
While the chest x-rays, ultrasound, and MRI did not provide any clarity, her bloodwork showed a very low platelet count and a white blood cell count of approximately zero. Her platelet count rose enough that the veterinary team determined it safe to do a CSF tap and a bone marrow aspirate after she received a blood transfusion. The CSF tap also did not reveal any concerning abnormalities, and the bone marrow aspirate was very dilute, making a good reading of the sample impossible. However, they did observe precursor cells for red blood cells and platelets, indicating that the bone marrow was still producing these types of cells. Notably, there were no white blood cell precursors, which was very concerning. A repeat of the bone marrow aspirate provided a concentrated sample from which they were able to discern more information. The veterinarians suspect a condition called Myelodysplastic Syndrome, which essentially indicates that her bone marrow is not functioning normally. Three potential causes of this include a genetic abnormality, an autoimmune disease, or cancer.
For the first three days she spent in the hospital, Skye’s white blood cell count remained dangerously low despite a very gradual increase. It was not until Friday morning that her white blood cell count increased exponentially to what was much closer to normal, though still not high enough to be within the normal range. Her energy level, which was atypically low for her first two days in the hospital, made a healthy return to normal on Thursday and Friday such that the medical staff determined it was safe to discharge her on Friday. Skye made the trip back to the sanctuary in the afternoon, immediately consuming all of the food we gave her, inspecting the sink and counters to ensure there wasn’t anything else she could have, and arguing with “Ovenwulf.” It was a relief to see her back to her usual antics.
For now, we have not differentiated between the potential causes of her bone marrow abnormality to identify exactly what is responsible for the decrease in function. However, a repeat of her bloodwork on Sunday revealed that her white blood cell count had once again increased, placing her well within the normal range. Her other values on the blood panel also exhibited a positive change. Skye continues to be on oral antibiotics and seems to be making a fantastic rebound. We are guardedly optimistic at this point that our little miracle will continue to defy all odds. She is back to enjoying life at the sanctuary, which is wonderful to see.