Sarah, a 10year old, collie mix has been a patient of the HAH since 2006. From annual exams to a mass removal in 2009 her history of care was typical.
However, in 2011, Sarah collapsed and was brought to the HAH for evaluation. Blood work showed abnormalities only in her PCV (packed cell volume). The nature of her presentation and this abnormal blood level alarmed Dr. Diamant and she discussed the possible of a Polycythemia Vera diagnosis. To confirm, Dr. Diamant ordered an ultrasound and bone marrow biopsy.
Polycythemia vera is a bone marrow cancer mainly causing the production of too many red blood cells. Some of the changes associated with Polycythemia vera are abnormal motor skills, brick red gums, pale gums, nose bleeds and an enlarged spleen.
Once the diagnosis was confirmed, Sarah’s owners were faced with treatment options. This kind of blood cancer is treated in primarily two ways; chemotherapy and phlebotomy.
The chemotherapy for polycythemia versa is costly and Sarah’s owners opted for phlebotomy first. Phlebotomy is used to decrease blood thickness. One unit of blood (about 1 pint) is removed weekly until the hematocrit level (PCV) is less than 45. Therapy is continued as needed.
Currently, Sarah is under the care of Dr. Carlos and comes in approximately every three weeks and has blood drawn two times. Each time about 300mls is removed and her PCV is checked. Sarah is a wonderful patient. She seems unaffected by the blood draws and loves the extra attention she gets.
Sarah is regular at the HAH and always receives a regulars welcome. We are so pleased with her progress and anticipate continued success. We are pleased to honor her as patient of the month!