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Hayley’s Story

One of our long time members, Lynn, is the owner of Hayley, Madison and Shelly. Lynn is a constant presence on our AIHA Dogs Forum. She is recovering from illness and we miss her very much.

Hayley is an AIHA survivor. Lynn’s dedication has been essential in helping Hayley to survive this condition. She describes how she cared for Hayley when she was diagnosed with AIHA.

Hayley was 7.5 years old when this disease was triggered by her yearly shots.  I always waited two weeks for the rabies shot after her yearly shots during the years when the rabies was due. But we did not make it that far. My girl had such a bad reaction to her shots we nearly lost her.

A few days after her shots Hayley ate her breakfast and seemed fine. I brushed her teeth and her gums  and they were very pink as always. I thought she was on the mend so I went to work in my yard and came in to check on her. Hayley had had a very bad reaction. By 3:00 pm she could not get up and she didn’t look right. I do not know why I did what I did but so glad that I did. I picked up Hayley and when I looked at her gums they were white, I mean WHITE. While I was running out the door I was on my cell phone calling her vet to let them know I was on my way to be ready.

When I got there the vet was at the door and took Hayley out of my arms, they had everything set.  I didn’t even know about this terrible disease, but my vet was sure he knew what the problem was. They didn’t think they were going to be able to save her life. The blood tests showed her PCV was 8 %  They typed her blood and in one hour she was having her transfusion.

The vet gave me tons of things to read and gave me the vetnet web address. He told me about Dr. Jean Dodds and how other pet parents could help me because their own pets were going through this. It took me 3 days to figure out how to even post on the website, as most know I am not very savvy with the computer and I am not too young anymore so things do not come easy sometimes. I looked up information about what chances Hayley would have with IMHA. It was hard for me that so many other owners on vet net saw their fur child getting better so much faster but I never gave up.

The white blood count was off on Hayley’s blood tests in the first 3 weeks or so in treatment and her platelets were a little high. I think most fur children tests are off until they get really stable or on lower doses. I am so glad to see Tempe’s number’s going up, that is always  a great thing. I always did the happy dance .. not easy at my age Ha!

Hayley was very slow to get to good numbers and when the disease hit she was at 8% the day of transfusion. We saw many other dogs get better while Hayley was at 27% and I was on vet net for a long while waiting for her to improve. She was slow and steady, with many ups and downs. At one time she could not even get up, let alone walk.

Hayley’s normal weight is 2 lbs. While she was sick she went from 2 lbs to 1 lb. Then during treatment she had so much swelling her weight went up to 3 lbs.  Hayley is a small Chihuahua.

Hayley also drank so very much and I had to hold her up with a sling as she couldn’t stand alone or get up. It took mind reading to know when she had to go. I hoped she didn’t have to lay too long as she couldn’t get up. But I checked her every 15-20 minutes as she had to pee so often while on prednisone.

Hayley’s vet’s team in the clinic are so wonderful. They have a specialist,vet and holistic vet. They all broke off from U.T. but they will use U.T. services often. Hayley had muscle wasting that came on very fast. It was not just in her hind legs but in her shoulders and middle part and she felt like mush. When she needed therapy I ordered a wheel chair but the vet said it could add too much stress. He told me that when she was stable he would fit it to her . So I made a sling to hold Hayley up because she couldn’t get up for many weeks.

Hayley seemed to take everything in stride. She never panicked but stayed calm and would wait for me to take her out with the sling. I would offer water very often. She would let me know she wanted water by looking at her water dish. Getting her tummy protection medications was hard because they had to special order it. The vet had to order larger amounts of azathioprine because it was hard to get for Hayley’s small size.

Hayley never acted nervous, she was ready to go with the vet for testing because she knows him so well. I had Hayley’s blood tested each year. It was a good thing because the vet could look over what her normal values had been  and could see what wasn’t normal for her. That is one thing I would say that every pet owner should do yearly.

Now Hayley is 9 years old and this past July marked 1 year of  her being med free. I have learned with Hayley, she is not exactly like she was before the IMHA in many ways but pretty close.

I hope this gives you much hope that any size can fight and there are many ups and downs to face. This is a awful disease our sweet babies have to face.  Many get to a stable point fast and some like my Hayley take a slow time getting there. Some will have to remain on low doses for life with their meds while some can go off.

Each fur child’s little body are so different. It is 24/7 home nursing and lots of TLC. We all had to learn when we could take a nap here and there while holding our fur baby. But for Hayley she wanted to lay on the wood flooring rather than me hold her because the prednisone made her pant a lot and she wanted to be wherever it was cool for her and she would drink lots of water. Hayley couldn’t get up so she would look at where she wanted to be and I would move her to the spot.

chihuahua_drawingI am so pleased with Hayley’s PCV at 50.2%. When we get back from taking Bentley and Sophie home in Maryville this weekend (Nov 25, 2013), Hayley has a vet’s appointment, but do not think she will beat Worzel’s number, wow!!! That’s terrific! Before IMHA Hayley never went past 40% in all her yearly exams. She is higher than she has ever been at 50.2% ,very uplifting news.

My very best. Lynn & Hayley

Dear Lynn,

Lots of prayers and good wishes for a good (and speedy) recovery.

You’ve given so much love, prayers and help to everyone going through hard times. You’ve made some good friends here and you’re a good friend to us all. I think of you a lot with your babies who have needed your love and were guided to the right home.

You rest and take it easy and join us when you fee up to it.

Love Vally & Bingo.

Dear Lynn,

We miss you so much on the forum, please get well and come back to us. We need your help.

Love, Patrice, Cassie and Willie

Dearest Lynn,

I just heard you were in the hospital. You are always in my heart, thoughts and prayers. Please take care. Hugs to your girls.

Sending our love,

Linda and Sadie (she’s good)

Hi Lynn

I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had a rough time – we have all been thinking about you & I hope you’ll soon be on the mend. We miss you on the forum – your love & kindness to everyone is always appreciated. How are your babies?

Loads of love from us all – look after yourself, dear Lynn

Sheena, Worzel (doing fine) & Ollie


Dear Lynn,
I just read now that you are at the hospital. I am sure you are well taken care off and hope that we hear from you on the forum again very soon. Your always positive attitude, your love and caring is such an inspiration to us all.

With best wishes and lots of love,

Brigitte & the poodle boys