Mystery Illness Prompts Dog’s Euthanasia
The sudden onset of Evans Syndrome most likely led to a Samoyed’s passing.
Jon Geller, DVM
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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