A “happy” and “special” pet dog went from being healthy one moment to diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disease the next.
Married couple Tif Saxon-Kyte, 34, and Sam Saxon, 33, live in Esher with their beloved Dachshund, Otto.
On Tuesday, February 22 he started acting lethargic and losing his appetite and two days later the couple took him to the emergency vet when Tif said “it really felt like it was deteriorating”.
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She added: “Otto is such a fun and happy, puppy-like dog and I think that’s what was so shocking and alarming because there were no signs at all until that Tuesday.”
Otto was diagnosed with primary Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia (IMHA), a rare autoimmune disease involving the body’s immune system destroying its own red blood cells.
The “primary” aspect of it comes from the fact that no obvious cause or underlying trigger of the disease could be found. In effect, its origin is a mystery.
On Sunday, March 6 he was discharged from the specialist and is now at home with Tif and Sam, but he still needs medication and monitoring as well as regular blood tests and check-ups. Tif said: “He’s got a long journey ahead of him but it’s really, really lovely to have him home.
“This has been really difficult for many reasons. We’ve had him since he was 10 weeks old – he’s now seven years – so he’s been a huge part of our lives.
“He’s been coming on holiday with us and was the ring bearer on our wedding day. He’s been a special part of our family the whole time.
“For this disease to come completely out of the blue with no warning was such a huge shock because he was such a happy and healthy dog. It was really stressful.”
The couple are keen to raise awareness of IMHA in the hope that other pet owners might be able to recognise the early signs of it, such as tiredness and a reduced appetite.
Despite insuring Otto, the couple did not anticipate the huge medical bill estimates of around £10,000. Tif said the overall costs could end up even higher.
They launched a fundraiser to help cover the costs and Tif described the donations made so far as “absolutely phenomenal”.
She added: “People that you’ve never met before and that have been touched by the story has been really wonderful.”
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On top of all this, the couple are due to have a baby later this year. Tif said: “The thought of Otto potentially not being here to crossover with the new person joining our family was really difficult.
“The financial side has been quite overwhelming, the way it has sky rocketed. But it’s just one of those things that you don’t question when it’s someone so important in your family – it’s something you have to do.”
You can donate to the fundraiser here.
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