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Aneurysms are a bulge in a blood vessel, usually an artery, caused by a weakening of the walls of that blood vessels. This can be caused by conditions such as congenital diseases, physical injury to the artery, or atherosclerosis. As long as aneurysms do not rupture, these bulges in the arteries can sometimes remain undetected in canines for years, particularly in locations such as the brain and the abdominal aorta. If an aneurysm bursts in the brain or in the aortic arteries coming from the heart, the results can be dire. In many cases, aneurysms can also cause dangerous blood clots to form.
Aneurysms are bulges that develop in the blood vessels due to a weakness that occurs in the vessel walls. Aneurysms usually arise in the arteries and can be extremely dangerous when they rupture.
Symptoms of an aneurysm in dogs depend on where in the body they are located and sometimes show no symptoms until after they rupture. Symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm are generally non-existent until the vessel ruptures. When the blood vessel does break you may see:
Symptoms of an aortic aneurysm can cause some chest, back, or abdominal pain, but more often than not, there are no symptoms prior to rupture. Rupture can cause:
Other aneurysms can occur anywhere in the body and if symptoms do arise with or without a tear they may include:
A cerebral aneurysm is a weakened blood vessel that is located in the brain, it is exceedingly rare that a cerebral aneurysm is detected before it ruptures, and brain aneurysms that rupture are usually fatal.
A peripheral aneurysm refers to an aneurysm that occurs anywhere other than the brain or heart. These can take place in any part of the body but are most common behind the knee, in the groin area, and the carotid artery in the neck.
An aortic aneurysm affects the aorta and can be found either at the spot where the aorta extends into the chest (thoracic) or where the aorta narrows towards the dog’s hips (abdominal). The abdominal aneurysms are slightly more common than the thoracic.
The causes of an aneurysm are numerous, and some reasons are unique to a particular type of aneurysm. Elements that can contribute to any kind of aneurysm in your pet include:
There also seems to a link to familial aortic aneurysm in the Leonberger breed, and head trauma can contribute to a cerebral aneurysm. In humans, cigarette smoke can be a significant contributing factor in developing abdominal aortic aneurysms.
When an aneurysm is located in the brain, the lack of symptoms generally means that the diagnosis is made post-mortem as the rupture causes cerebral hemorrhage, leading to an extremely rapid decline or instant death. On extremely rare occasions an aneurysm in the brain is caught when imaging the brain for another disorder.
Aneurysms of the aorta are often diagnosed using imaging techniques such as MRI, transthoracic echocardiography, or transesophageal echocardiography.
As peripheral aneurysms are also less likely than the others to rupture they may continue undetected for quite some time. If the bulging vessel is located near the skin, a pulsating lump may be detected by touch. In many cases, your dog's doctor will image the area by ultrasound to further investigate.
Cerebral aneurysms are almost universally fatal, sometimes within seconds. Treatment for aortic aneurysms is also extremely limited. Surgery to repair the aorta may take place, but depending on the placement and the dog’s condition, it is often not feasible. Studies are being done on aneurysms using two embolization gels to repair leaks and promote healing, but the testing is still in its infancy. Aneurysms in the legs and other areas may be left untreated if they don’t appear to be causing a problem. Many peripheral aneurysms remain static, although they will be monitored by your veterinarian.
Dogs who develop aortic or peripheral aneurysms are also at a higher risk of developing blood clots. Clots that form at the site of an aneurysm may travel to other parts of the body before lodging in a blood vessel. If this occurs, blood flow past the clot can be interrupted and can cause severe damage to the tissues or organs that are starved of blood, beyond the clot. As this condition can also potentially be fatal, your veterinarian may want to take steps to reduce clotting as well.
The prognosis for a dog with an intact aneurysm is guarded. An aneurysm can rupture at any time, or it may never rupture. If it does burst the expected recovery depends on where the weakness is located. When either cerebral or aortic aneurysms rupture, the prognosis is poor, and even a rupture of a peripheral aneurysm can be fatal if it occurs in an artery like the femoral artery, which bleeds out quickly. If your canine companion exhibits any of the signs of an aneurysm, getting them into the clinic as quickly as possible gives them the best shot of survival.
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Aneurysms Average Cost
From 271 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000
1 found helpful
My healthy 8 year old boxer boy past away yesterday only 30 hours after initial symptoms. It all began when I noticed he wasn't coming when I called him shortly after he had breakfast or his first of his 2 meals he gets per day. I went to check him and noticed he was not standing so I thought he was being lazy but when I picked him up whimpered. So I carefully grabbed him and I stood him up and noticed his back lefts were wobbly. Took to ER vet within the hour to see what was going on and after a very throrough exam Dr. said it appears as if he had a stroke. His legs were weak but able to stand and walk. He also had developed a twitch on his right eye. He was given a shot of anti-inflammatory, anti-anti-inflamatory pills to take and something for his stomach. ER vet sent home and said to bring back if condition worsen. We came back home and he peed and pooped and was still able to walk and stand on his own but laid him to rest. 3-4 hours later we noticed his gums were getting pale almost with a greenish tone and also legs have gotten weaker and more difficult for him to walk and get up so we decided we take him back. This time there is blood work and x-rays and he suspects something bursting. Doc said a tumor around his spleen may have ruptured very common in boxers and checking for bleeding and maybe cause of a clot. Blood work came back a bit off but within normal parameters. He said he was anemic but not necessarily loosing a lot of blood so he went to check x-rays and nothing in x-rays except he says his heart is too small for a boxer... So he wants to keep him over night and put an IV and oxygen therapy through the night... Come back next morning and he can no longer stand, he has an twitch on his lip and he can no longer see. So now is is also blind; he has lost his sight at this point. Gums pail, cold limbs, cold breath. So he says I need to take to a cardiologist and a neurologist ASAP (mind this is Sunday morning). The only thing he says he can do is oxygen therapy but that has not done much through the night as he has continued to worsen. So we take him home while we find him another place to go and we were afraid he died in the clinic. He was calm with a little bit of color on his gums but limbs still cold. So he says we can take him home and to try to keep him calm (mind this is a Sunday morning). We start making phone calls all over Miami and Broward County and of course as expected no specialty clinics are open, only ER vets. So we had him home for 4 hours gave him some pedialite tkeep hydrated and off we went to an animal hospital ER where he would get seen by a ER vet and neurologist the following morning. He stopped breathing 5 minutes after we put him in the car on the way to new ER. Tried to do CPR at no avail and ER clinic 20 minute drive. But... Wait... Let me rewind the tape. This dog has been jogging for 45 minutes with my wife the past 5 years every night. Large back yard and plays with is annoying boxer sister all day. And he has a small sick heart...?? There is more... This same week 4 days earlier, he was taken to his regular vet to check a small mass under his chin. He had had blood work, and full chest x-rays which radiologist says all normal. While I understand it could be a a matter of opinion but here is the dilema of a sick heart or not. That day he had an fine needle aspiration under sedation and all went well. I do not believe a sick heart would have stood sedation. So I started reading other deceases that could affect all this at one time. This all happened in less than 30 hours from initial symptoms. Could it be an aneurysm?Thank you.
July 17, 2018
Without performing a necropsy I cannot determine a cause of death, however an aneurysm or other bleed is a possibility but I cannot say for certain more than any other condition. There are differing opinions when it comes to interpreting a thoracic x-ray but I don’t think there would be much different in interpretation in the size of the heart; dogs with heart conditions go through anaesthesia all the time, it is just good if we know about it first so we can manage it properly. If you have concerns about the different opinions of heart size, ask for a copy of both x-rays and have them compared to see whether the heart was small or not. I wish I could give you more information on Dash’s passing to help give you some closure on this. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
July 17, 2018
I had to say goodbye to my dog on July 20th 2018 she was a rescue from a shelter I got her at the age of 3 months and lobster at the age of 2 and 1/2 months her name was Coco Chanel it started with her left leg she was limping around the yard I took her to the vet to check out her left leg from limping 2 Days Later I had to take her to the emergency to find out she had gone blind and it was a brain aneurysm that was the most hardest news and difficult moment to Let Her Go I just couldn't understand how a simple lamp from her left leg turn into her going blind and a brain aneurysm
Sept. 7, 2018
My 8 yr old female pug, in good shape, got up one morning played a little with me, then while laying next to me, she locked her 4 legs straight out and started yelping, eyes wide open. Within 20 seconds, she quieted down and just died, eyes open, a tongue out a little. This was hard to go through.
July 27, 2018
1 found helpful
My dog - a 7 YO chihuahua had to be put down today. He had been suffering from itching skin and I took him to the vet. The vet gave him a shot - which stopped him fro scratching almost immediately. The vet examined my dog and said that he had a yeast infection and athlete's foot. He prescribed Ketoconazole (200 mg) 1/4 table once per day and a medicated antiseptic shampoo - Keto-Med PS Shampoo. That treatment started on 6/13/2018. I noticed a few days later that my dog would pace the room and on occasion, struggle to jump up on the couch - it's like he had to calibrate the distance. We still walkes daily and he did not have any problem walking. I could not detect any other signs. toward the end of June he started having a difficulty standing - his legs started to plsay outward - so I stopped medicating him. On 7/7/2018 I took him to the vet. He checked his blood and there were no abnormalities. He took top down and side view x-rays - there were no lesions no fractures. He did prescribe Carprofen 25 mg daily - I was to give him 1/2 tablet in the AM and 1/2 tablet in the PM. Which I did. The following day - sunday - my dog just lay on his side and could not stand up. The vet examined him earlier today and told me I needed to get to a specialist - which I did. The brain specialist told me that hibrain was not functioning properly, he was fading fast and it was unlikely, irrespective of the amount of treatment, that he would survive. I had him euthanized and like most pet owners, the loss is very tough. The doctors at the VCA in W Los Angeles offered to do an autopsy (for $600.00) which I decided wouldn't bring my best friend back. While I was in the waiting room I was reading about encephalitis - and thought that might be the cause of his death. From what I read online about the disease, the symptoms see to correlate. The neurologist stated she did not know if that was the case or not. She did state that his brain was not functioning properly. I was reading on your website about aneurysms in dogs and one of the causes is fungal infection. I was thinking that perhaps I waited too long, when he first started scratching himself (he had red spots on his skin toward his tail) before seeking medical help and that may have been the cause of his death. When the vet examined him on 7/7/ he squeezed the portion of his back near the tail bone and tha caused him to yelp in paid. Bear in mind, that by 7/7 he had stopped itching and the hair had grown back. The reason for this long note - I want to make sure - to the best of my ability - that I take care of my next rescue dog (my dog that passed today was a rescue dog) and be cognizant of symptoms that are affecting his health. Your insight is most appreicated
July 10, 2018
From your question it seemed that you spared no expense in seeking help for Dexter, you visited the Veterinarian regularly and you went to consult with the Neurologist too; a necropsy would give a lot of answers that you’re looking for, but as you mentioned it wouldn’t change the overall outcome. The symptoms you described correlate with many neurological conditions so it is not possible to say whether it was encephalitis or another cause; a fungal infection causing an aneurysm is very rare in dogs (and in humans) and is due to a fungal infection within the circulatory system and not just a skin fungal infection. I wan’t there to witness the events, but it certainly appears you did everything for Dexter. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
July 10, 2018
1 found helpful
My seemingly healthy dog Blue passed away suddenly 2 days ago. He was fine the morning of his death and then about 5:10 pm I go to feed him before I leave for work like I always do and he was laying there stiff with his legs straight as a board like something happened to him suddenly. I thought he was healthy and happy. He was barking like normal and hyper. I couldn't bear to have him cut open and examined so I just buried him that day. I'm so heartbroken and devastated. This dog was my heart and soul and I raised him myself from a 7 week old puppy. I'm so confused. I don't know what I done wrong. He was my world. I didn't always have the time I wanted to spend with him but I loved him more than anything and I love him still even though he's gone
June 28, 2018
Dr. Michele K. DVM
I'm sorry that that happened with Blue, that is very sad. There are many things that may have happened, a toxin, trauma, heart disease, or infectious disease. I 'm not sure without knowing more about him what might have caused this to happen, but I am very sorry for your loss.
June 28, 2018
My sister's dog just got nutured and this morning he was acting weird then all of a sudden blood was coming out of his mouth and he was dead could it have been from an aneurysm or something else. Could the vet giving him too much to put him under for surgery have something to do with it.
July 12, 2018
I'm not sure why this may have happened. He was acting very normal that morning and was dead that evening. He was healthy as far as I knew. I take my dogs to the vet if they show signs of being sick but he showed 0 signs of distress or sickness
June 29, 2018
2 found helpful
Last week, my puppy who had just turned one year old the day before died suddenly. My sisters, brother and I took her for a walk around 8:45, and returned her to our yard at 9:15. We left her outside in the yard, like we always do (we where at our lake house) and came back 20-30 minutes later to find her dead against the fence. She was acting perfectly normal all day, even on the walk she was crazy and hyper as she normally was. When we found her, she was already stiff, and her tounge was black, as where her eyes. She was bit by nothing, and showed no signs of peril before her death. The next day, I checked the yard and found a large spot stained deep red, like tar. It had already rained, yet I still found wet blood on my hand. There was a spot that she must have thrown up (it was at least a pint) a few drops that look like she had staggered to the fence where we found her later. She had no blood on her when we found her. The vet told us that it was either poisoning or a burst artery, but she was around no poisoning at all. Even a week later, we are still questioning how such a healthy, spunky puppy went so quickly. Any suggestions on what the cause was? We have done hours of research and have found realtivley nothing similar to what happened to her.
July 26, 2017
Condolences on the sudden loss of Callie at such a young age, it is always heart breaking under these circumstances. Without carrying out a full necropsy, we cannot say for sure the cause of death; in dogs Callie’s age, sudden death is usually attributable to poisoning (could have been picked up at any time during the walk) or internal bleeding from an aneurysm or similar defect. Some dogs, like humans are born with defects which act like time bombs which may rupture at anytime, especially after an increase in activity which causes an increase in blood pressure. For an in depth analysis, a necropsy would shed light on your questions. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
July 26, 2017
My 7 year old girl was playing in the yard. She jumped up as if in pain and collapsed. I’m sure it was an aneurysm. I ran to her and we started CPR. I even got animal control and a police escort to the vet while doing CPR. She was immediately intubated and got epi. Nothing they could do. I miss her terribly. 💔
Feb. 2, 2018
Yesterday, I came back home and my 5 year old husky was particularly pleased to see me, rolling all over to get herself scratched an caressed everywhere. That is always such a tender and precious moment between us too. One hour later, I look for her in order to play with her. She loved to be chased and when I tell her that I'm going to eat her raw, she goes crazy. Always. In the excitement, she slipped on her bum and couldn't stand up again. The next second she was laying on the floor and all of her paws were tensed and shaking. She died in my arms and I am blessed that I was there when it happened. I like to think that I calmed her when I told her how good she was to me. She was not even 5 years old and full of life. I believe the cause was a rupture of aneurysm.
Sept. 4, 2017
0 found helpful
my dog was 14 year old maltese she went to the vet because it seemed she was in pain she had had a slight touch of diarrohea she was given scourban by the vet after the second does for some reason she started screaming like she was in pain i put her down to go to the toilet or get a drink she anted neither the screaming continued i took her to the vets they said her temp was normal sh ehad no signs of abdominaldiscomfort they could not find anything wrong. took her home later that night took her back theygave her paim med ir didnt really work took her to anothervet theydid blood tests theysaid her temp and everything wwas normal theygave her pain meds she wasnt eating eventually got het to eat a little baby custard nearly four days later she woke up as usual ran to the end of thebed then ran back looke dshe was going to be sick i picked her up to lift her off she collapsed on her side couldnt stand up her body as stiff hen i picked her up sh elet out a terrible scream her head went to one side she a sdrooling from her mouth her eyes were fixed her body stiff thenshe ent floppy unconscious, i thought she had died i put her in a pen hen i came back shea sbreathing strangley and bleeding either from the nose or mouth i got her to the vets immediatelythey did nothing theylet her die . i do not kno hat happend am looking for a anser
July 26, 2017
Condolences on your loss, it is normal to want to understand the reason for a loved one passing; but without carrying out a post mortem, we cannot know for sure. Usually sudden deaths or short term illnesses which lead to death are caused by heart conditions (dilated cardiomyopathy for example), the condition may have been with Honey all her life and only manifested itself recently. Other causes like poisoning may have been a cause, but again unless a post mortem is performed we cannot be sure. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
July 26, 2017
0 found helpful
Two days ago my beloved 13yo Border Collie suddenly passed away. Only an hour earlier he was on the beach swimming, chasing the ball and all this after a worrying day he had the day before where he was a bit wobbly on his legs and very lethargic. I thought after his morning walk that dreaded day, his back, he feels good again. But, after having his morning meal he went to lay down and rest as normal and I found him lifeless moments later. I've never felt so helpless in my life. He had a yellow liquid which as time went on turned to blood coming from his nose. Other than that I'm guessing the other things are normal pupils dilated, airways fully expanded (I know because my first instinct was he had chocked on something and my hand easily went down his gullet to find it was free of obstruction), purple tongue, gums swelled quickly, no pulse, just lifeless and that's when I started seeing the blood from his nose. He was in pretty good health, however he was diagnosed with degenerative spinal disorder 5 years ago but we have managed it with chiro, supplements, etc. His back hips started giving him gave him a bit of trouble and he seemed to age very quickly from a healthy dog to an old dog this year. He has been on pain management, Synovan (monthly), PEA, 4Cyte, Procosamine and bowen therapy. It breaks my heart not knowing if I missed something apart from those signs he was a little off the day before he left us. I see many owners speaking of the shock of no time to prepare, say goodbye, it just happens and you have no control over it. Your loved one has just gone. My heart still aches over and over as it's all still so raw. I miss my boy so very much. His presence around me. However, I take gratitude in that he went on his terms and I didn't have to make a decision to end his life. The shock of it though is, well nothing like I've experienced ever before.
0 found helpful
My dads 1 year old German Shepherd Conan, passed away today from a suspected brain aneurysm. I was at work and my dad waited until I got home since he didn’t want me driving home hysterically which was a smart idea. My dad said he was playing his guitar with all the dogs around him of course, enjoying the music when suddenly my dad notices Conan crying/ whining loud in his sleep and realizes something is wrong. He starts shaking him and attempts to preform CPR, however it was so sudden he passed in matter of seconds. We are all heart broken but mostly my dad which pains me to see. We have experienced a loss of a pet before but she was very old and we knew it was her time. Conan just left so sudden, we had no time to prepare, no goodbyes. He was so young, he was just a baby. I was expecting him to get old with my dad. We have no idea how to process this. Please watch over him Conan, we love you very much.
0 found helpful
I just lost my healthy 9 month old Yorkie, Sully, on Saturday. He woke up Saturday morning just fine. I took him outside to play around 12 and to play in the water as I washed my car. He LOVED running in the water. Everything was normal he was so happy and as I was finishing up I looked over and he just looked like he was drying off in the sun. About five minutes later I told him he needed to come in, it has been so hot that I didn’t like having him out for more then 30 minutes. He wouldn’t come to me, which was very unusual so I walked over and picked him up. That’s when I knew something was wrong. His eyes didn’t look right, he started foaming at the mouth, and he couldn’t walk. I rushed him to the ONLY place opened on a Saturday which come to find out doesn’t have the appropriate equipment for emergencies, but they are listed as an emergency vet. By the time I got there my baby was lifeless. They worked on him and did blood work for about 3 hours only to tell me we needed to send him to a better equipped facility, which was 30 minutes away, but said they didn’t think he would make the drive. I had to have my perfectly healthy puppy euthanized. I am still in shock and my heart is broken. I just don’t understand how this happened or why no one can tell me what happened. The silence in my house is deafening. I don’t know how to move on from this? What happened? Why? I literally waited 2 years for this puppy. I just don’t understand.
Bernese Mountain Dog
0 found helpful
Yesterday, my 2 and a half year old bernese mountain dog spent her morning happily playing in the yard. At 11:30 She came up on the porch and had her dental treat as always. She lived on her humans, had a drink and then fell over. By 11:35 She was in a full seizure, body stiff and convulsing, eyes vacant. We took her to the vet immediately. Her temperature had risen to 107. The vet staff worked to stop her seizure for 3 hours, to no avail. At 3:30, we euthanized her. The vet can't say for sure that an aneurysm was to blame, but thought her symptoms were pretty spot on for one. My heart is in pieces and my house just doesn't feel like home. She was literally my (and my husband and grown children's) best friend. My only wish is that I could know if she knew we were there with her through all of it until long after her last breath was taken.
3 found helpful
My 12 year old mixed breed dog, Earl,died three days ago. He was very healthy for his age and people couldn't believe he was 12. We walked most every day and always took some very steep hills, his weight was perfect, the only medicine he was on was glucosamine for the beginnings of arthritis. I was at work and my husband texted me at 4:30 saying the dog was sick and I should come home. He was reluctant to tell me, but finally said he thought Earl could be dying. I rushed home. According to my husband, he fed Earl and the cat as usual. Earl ate his food and then licked the cat's dish, as he always did. Then he walked out of the kitchen and my husband heard him fall over. He went to see what happened and Earl was laying on the floor, his eyes were bulging and his body appeared to be convulsing. Then his legs got stiff and his eyes became fixed. Then I got home, called the vet to say we were coming, wrapped him in a towel, and got in the car. The vet examined him and said he thought he either had an aneurysm, stroke, or less likely, a seizure. He said Earl had a 50/50 chance of making it through the next hour and if he did, only a 25% chance of living through the night. He said we could either take him home with pain meds in him, and possibly have to bring him in at 2 a.m. for pain relief, or leave him at the vet with IV fluids, valium and steroids. I was in shock at this point, I had thought by dear little dog would live to be at least 14. I asked if I could sit with him, because if he died in the next hour, I wanted to at least be there for him. I went in back and his eyes were not seeing me, he was not responding to my touch or voice as he normally would. It was as though he was already gone, just his body remained. The Dr.said he had no pulse points in his legs and didn't have any pain responses. I think the vet knew it was a lost cause but was trying to soften the blow for me. I wanted to give my dog every chance to survive, so I said, since he was still alive after the hour, to start the IV fluids and see if he made it through the night. Then I had to say good bye to my sweet boy and hope he would make it. The next morning the vet called and said Earl had passed sometime in the night. He assured me that he was not in any pain and was in a medically induced coma when he died. That was Wednesday morning, and here it is Friday night. All around me are reminders that my little buddy is gone. He isn't here to greet me when I come home, he isn't here to play with me, he isn't here to eat the crumbs that fall on the floor at dinner. I miss his warm little body on the bed at night. It's not so bad at work because he wasn't a part of my life there, but coming home is the worst now without him to greet me. I've lost pets before, but there was always a time of decline and sickness where I had to decide when to let them go. With Earl, there was no time to adjust to the idea of losing him. This has been the most difficult pet loss I've ever experienced. My heart goes out to anyone who is or has experienced something similar with their dear pet.
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