Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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Sophie started developing a rash around her incision site a few days ago- skin reddening then darkening, some small bumps between shoulder blade and former shoulder blade, as well as general itchiness, and today bumps in her ears. I called the oncology office yesterday and they said they would page the oncologist today during her weekly CBC.
So they took her in back this morning for the oncologist to check her, and the vet tech came out and told me she had a skin infection (phyloderma?) and should be on antibiotics for the next two weeks (chephalexin 500 mg 2 tabs twice daily).
Somewhere in between examining her this morning and them getting the CBC count back this afternoon, the oncologist left town, evidently for a week. I got a message this evening from the intern who is covering for the oncologist, stating that her CBC came back with a low platelet count, so I should keep her calm, and call if she developed any bleeding or red bumps (which, frustratingly, I had just pointed out to the oncologist that same morning!). Of course I called back, they paged the intern a number of times without response, and I haven’t heard anything further tonight.
So I’m frustrated and anxious. I’ve read about a low white blood count as a side effect of Carboplatin, but don’t know what to make of low platelet count (although searching the site I see that Darcy had that once). I don’t know if the red rash is actually a skin infection, or some side effect of the platelet thing. Maybe nobody here knows either, and I’m just trying to feel a little less powerless in the moment by writing this down… But if anyone has any experience with low platelet counts, particularly post Carboplatin (first round), or skin infections, I’d love to hear back from you!!!
Christine & Sophie
It sounds like the rash is a pyoderma, a fancy name for skin infection. The Cephalexin is a good antibiotic. This infection is not contagious, and could be due to her immune system being a little down post-op and post-chemo. If the platelet count goes below 60,000 then a lot of little hemorrhages could occur which are actually little purple bruises. The platelets are responsible for clotting the blood, that’s why a low count can cause this problem. Tazzie’s count has been as low as 26,00 post-carboplatin but she never bled. That would actually be pretty rare.
The good news is that the bone marrow kicks out new platelets pretty quickly, so her count should be normal in 7 days. That is why it is so important to check a CBC every 7 days. A low white count is worse, because a fever or infection can develop. Sounds like your dog is fine, and the rash should resolve with antibiotics.
Pam and Tazzie
25 April 2007
Tazzie is doing well. Her platelet count dropped after her first 2 carboplatin treatments and this week I will recheck her again since she had the third treatment last Sunday. I also have to check her lung xrays at some point before her next chemo.
Sophie’s rash should respond quickly to the meds but make sure you finish all of the pills!
Pam and Tazzie