Mystery Illness Prompts Dog’s Euthanasia

The sudden onset of Evans Syndrome most likely led to a Samoyed’s passing.


Q. Just recently I had to have my Samoyed, who was only 7 years old, put to sleep. Three days ago he was fine, running, eating, etc. Then two nights ago he had trouble getting up the steps to the porch. The next morning he couldn't get his rear end off the floor to get up.

Right away I took him to the vet. Blood tests results said he had extremely little platelets and red blood cells. They scanned him and showed no bleeding. He was in extreme pain and was on meds for it. The vet also said he was paralyzed in the back end.

We weren't offered any hope that he would recover and was told it was getting worse as time passed. We had no choice put to have him put to sleep.

I'm hoping you have some thoughts about what happened to my loved one. The vet said he couldn't explain what happened and therefore couldn't fix it. The vet is the best around and I believe he really did his best. But, I'd still like to know what happened.

A. I am very sorry to hear you had to have your Samoyed euthanized. At 7 years old, he certainly would not be considered geriatric.
Based on what you describe, he most likely had a disease known as Evans Syndrome, where the body's own immune system suddenly starts destroying its own red blood cells and platelets. This often has no apparent cause, but there sometimes there can be an underlying disease such as cancer, or an infection of the blood, usually caused by a tick bite.

Evan's Syndrome carries a very guarded prognosis, because many dogs do not recover, even with the most intensive medical care. The treatment usually involves multiple blood transfusions, and the use of medications such as prednisone and azothioprine to suppress the immune system.

The weakness in his hind end may have just been due to his very low red blood cell count (anemia), and not paralysis. Most likely it would have required multiple days in the hospital, transfusions and frequent laboratory testing to get him through it, and even with the best of care, he may not have survived. Some of these dogs end up getting fatal blood clots in their lungs.

You can take some solace in knowing that your dog most likely had a terrible disease, and euthanasia may have been the best treatment in this case.


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Heather   Snover, Michigan

9/18/2016 6:58:57 PM

We just had to put my Kota girl down last night on my daughter's birthday :( she was only 8. She was diagnosed with Evans end of May beginning of June. She had been on meds and blood checks weekly. It was heartbreaking watching her just fall further down hill. Last night she had a severe bloody nose. With a blood count of 13 this past week. I had no choice :( it's so hard

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Sharon   Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

9/27/2015 4:30:18 PM

Our 9 1/2 yr old yellow lab, Tessa, was diagnosed with Evans syndrome last Thursday and was in respiratory distress by Friday morning when we called the vet to have her put,to sleep. Tessa's situation is the same as others reported here....fine and active one day, throwing up, not eating, lethargic, weak, and when the black stool occurred I knew we were in trouble. We are on vacation with her and had been doctoring with a different vet but they were responsive, helpful and gave us the best of care but ithe disease came too fast and too hard for her to win. We only adopted her 10 months ago but she was so special and we miss her terribly. Going home without her is breaking our hearts. Tessa had an OK blood test done on Tuesday but the same test on Thursday showed disaster had struck that fast. She did not suffer because we knew to watch for respiratory distress and we called immediately. It is a truly horrible disease.

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Shauna   jamul, California

7/13/2015 9:43:23 PM

Our 8 year old male lab was diagnosed with Evans syndrome 2 months ago. It was a sudden onset with no previous symptoms. He was given 2 blood transfusions and is still on 10 different medications twice a day. he has developed a few skin ulcers and has lost muscle mass due to the steroids. It's a very serious disease but if you are diagnosed early on there is treatment available. It is extremely expensive with no guarantees but he is happy every day so I am too!

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Kathy   Woodway, Texas

10/27/2014 7:00:54 AM

Our sweet Maggie was diagnosed with Evan's on Friday. We did not know her age because she came from the animal shelter, but she was the absolute sweetest schnauzer ever. We finally realized on Sunday morning that putting her to sleep was the best thing to do, even though it absolutely killed us to do it. Her blood count continued to go down, her platelets were zero, she was throwing up and would not eat. She would not even get up. And she seemed to be bruising badly. This came on her so very suddenly--that is what surprised me so. But I know she is running and playing now, and not suffering at all. But we miss her so.

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