Taffy is a cockapoo, who will be five in December. She is an incredibly sweet little dog who loves people and gets along well with other dogs. Any visitor to our home is assured of a warm welcome from Taffy, complete with many Taffy kisses. In late July, Taffy's groomer called my attention to the fact that she had red marks on her abdomen. We immediately took her to our vet, Four Paws Animal Hospital in Marlboro, NJ. Our vet noted that Taffy was bleeding from her gums and did a blood test, which revealed that Taffy's platelet count was almost zero. She referred us to Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls, a full service, 24 hour facility, with many specialists. When we arrived at Garden State, the diagnosis was immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, a disorder in which the platelet count is lower than normal, apparently caused by the destruction of platelets by the immune system. They kept Taffy for several days, while they administered Prednisone, Azathioprine, which is a kind of chemotherapy, and an antibiotic. They gave us these same drugs to administer to Taffy at home. There were a considerable number of side effects - Taffy became lethargic and slept most of the day. She exhibited no interest in her toys (she has many, and usually loves to play with them), and she could no longer jump onto chairs, couches, or beds, as she used to do. Her appetite increased an she gained considerable weight. We brought Taffy back to the vet for check-ups every two weeks or so, and gradually her condition began to improve. Her platelet count went back to normal, and her energy level increased considerably. She is almost back to her old self, as the dosages of the drugs that she is taken have steadily been decreased. She will always have to be monitored, but it appears that the worst is over.
When Taffy was a puppy we took out a policy with Petplan. We had a miniature schnauzer before Taffy who had developed congestive heart failure during her final days when she was thirteen, and it had cost several thousand dollars for her care. We took out the Petplan policy to prevent a repeat of that situation. It was a gold policy with a $200 deductible for any one condition, and a 20% co-pay. It costs us $30 per month, and as it turns out, it has been well worth it. Taffy's treatment at Garden State, and initially at 4 Paws, has led to well over $3,000 in vet bills, which are continuing. Petplan has paid the majority of these bills with no proble