Bella in the hospital
This is what happened to our beautiful Bella when I took her and her sister to get their vaccines, She says: “If we had spent $ 70.00 for a titer test instead, I’d have my baby Bella right here in my lap right now.”
We’ve all received the post card from the Vet that says your dog is due for its shots. Pretty routine stuff, I used to think. After all, I’d been going to this vet for 21 years. What would I possibly have to worry about, right?
This particular card was sent for Mercedes, our six year old Maltese. I already had an appointment to get her and her sister, Bella, our three year old Maltese, groomed the following Monday. Because Bella would need her Bordatella shot for the groomer, I decided to take them to the Vet together.
Upon arrival, we went into the room and they weighed 9 lb. Bella on the table. Her big sister, 15 lb. Mercedes, got weighed outside on the big girl scale. The Vet came in and ask how the dogs were doing and if they had any problems. I told her they have been healthy and had no problems at all. Although her shots weren’t due for another two months, I asked the Vet if it was okay for Bella to go ahead and get her vaccines early since we’re already here for the Bordatella shot. The Vet said it would be just fine.
One of the techs took Bella in the back to administer a heart worm test and returned minutes later. They also checked both dog’s temperatures. Bella was normal. Although Mercedes had a slight temperature, the Vet said she was fine to get her vaccines today. Along with the heart worm test, Bella received a DA2PP Annual, Leptospira Annual, and the Bordetella Injectable Annual.
While paying at the front counter, preparing to leave, I remembered to ask about the results of Bella’s heart worm test. The attendant went back to check and returned to tell me it was okay.
Within 48 hours, now Saturday night, I noticed Bella wasn’t feeling so good. She ate her dinner but was notably a lot less energetic as her usual self. By Sunday, she stayed in her bed, wasn’t eating and felt warm to the touch. Not Bella at all. I called the Vet Monday, told them the situation and ask if I could bring her in.
We arrived around 10 that morning. They examined her, checked her gums and said she is very pale. “What does that mean,” I asked? They took her in the back, returned a few minutes later and said I needed to get her to VMS Specialist of DFW. “She needs a blood transfusion,” they said.
“A blood transfusion,” I asked? I was in shock! “What are you talking about? What happened to her? She was perfectly healthy last week, I got her vaccinated and now she’s sick? What did you do to her?” I called my husband crying hysterically! He arrived within minutes and we drove to Bella to the VMS hospital as fast as possible. Was this a nightmare? This can’t really be happening, can it?
Upon arrival at VMS and almost immediately, we were talking with one of the emergency Vet specialists. Shockingly, she told us Bella would only have a 50/50 chance of survival if we would allow her treatment. She started a blood transfusion as soon as she could. We started praying.
Bella with mom and dad getting a 8-hour immunoglobulin transfusion
Our beautiful angel fought hard for 11 days. Bella’s sheer will to live amazed the entire medical staff, several of whom became as emotionally attached as we are. Even 5 blood transfusions, 3 immunoglobulan transfusions, and every drug available to some of the best Vets in the country wouldn’t be enough to save her.
Bella died from what is called Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA). Unfortunately, it has a name, not a cure. Most likely, the IMHA was brought on by her little body trying to cope with the vaccine injections. The body’s own immune system, put into a state of hyperactivity, attacks the red blood cells and basically destroys itself!
There is no happy ending. I wish I had one to give. The only thing we can do is warn others in hopes they don’t have to endure the same torture. Ask questions, pay attention, be informed.
We believe our beautiful Bella is saving lives now. Everyday we think of her and I know she’s with us. We promised her we would not let her die in vain. It’s our mission to share her story with anybody that Loves their dog or cat as much as we Love Bella.
Bella 2009-2012, now in Heaven
Bella, we Love you. You’ve made us better people. We promised you we wouldn’t rest until your story is told and other dogs and cats are safer. That’s a promise we are keeping.
— Lori Turner
Editor’s Note: Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), also called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA), is a serious, often fatal, blood disease linked to vaccination. See AAHA Guidelines p. 20. The patient’s own immune system begins attacking his own red blood cells. Here is an article about it: http://www.vetinfo.com/dimhanemia.html/ Do an Internet search for more information.
This is from Bella’s hospital paperwork:
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