Blood Clots in Dogs

Blood Clots in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Collapse / Diarrhea / Lethargy / Seizures / Shaking / Vomiting

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Rated as moderate conditon

17 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Collapse / Diarrhea / Lethargy / Seizures / Shaking / Vomiting

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Blood Clots in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What are Blood Clots?

Blood clots can form when platelets and plasma proteins in the blood thicken and clump together. When these clots get stuck in the vessels, they can cut off the flow of blood to essential parts of the body, such as the brain, lungs or heart. If your dog develops the symptoms of a blood clot, it is crucial to get veterinary care as soon as possible. This is a life-threatening condition which can progress rapidly, and timely care greatly improves your dog’s chances of survival.

When blood clots form and lodge in the blood vessels, they can cut off the flow of blood to essential parts of the body, such as the brain, lungs, or heart.

Symptoms of Blood Clots in Dogs

The symptoms of a blood clot will vary greatly depending on where the clot is located:

Brain

  • Drunken gait
  • Head pressing
  • Head tilting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Loss of eye reflexes
  • Loss of facial reflexes
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Weakness 

Gastrointestinal

 

  • Bloody urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Vomiting

Heart

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hind leg weakness
  • Leg pain
  • Pale or blue pads or nail beds
  • Paralysis
  • Vomiting

Legs

  • Cold limb or limbs
  • Lameness
  • Pain in limbs

Lungs

  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to sleep
  • Increased respiration 
  • Pale gums

Types

 

Blood clots can occur anywhere in the body but are more common in some areas than others:

  • Brain - If the blood clot develops in the brain, it can lead to stroke

  • Heart - Blood clots often travel through the heart, but only occasionally lodge there; when they do, they can cause the animal to pass out suddenly
  • Lungs - Clots that occur in the lungs can be extremely painful and cause difficulty in breathing

  • Legs - When blood clots form in the legs your dog may lose the ability to use that limb, and it may feel cold to the touch
  • Gastrointestinal tract - Clots in the digestive tract may appear similar to other gastrointestinal disturbances; vomiting and diarrhea may occur as well as abdominal pain

Causes of Blood Clots in Dogs

Blood clots can form when platelets and plasma proteins thicken. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Aneurysm
  • Cancer
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Damaged vessels
  • Diabetes
  • Heartworm
  • High cholesterol
  • Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia
  • Inflamed pancreas
  • Injury
  • Kidney disease
  • Long term steroid or corticosteroid use
  • Parasite infection
  • Reduced blood flow
  • Underactive thyroid

Diagnosis of Blood Clots in Dogs

Tests to determine a definitive diagnosis will often start with imaging tests to confirm the presence of a blood clot and indicate exactly where it is located. These imaging tests will vary depending on the suspected location of the clot. The brain would be imaged using either an MRI or CT scan, and a CT scan could also be used for clots located in the lungs. Clots that are lodged in the legs or heart, or near the kidneys and liver will most likely be examined by ultrasound. Your veterinarian may even include a coagulation test known as a thromboelastography, which can tell the technician if your pet’s blood is more or less likely to clot. Once the blood clot is confirmed, the source of the clot will then be evaluated. Blood tests such as a biochemistry analysis and complete blood count can help to detect many diseases and disorders that can lead to blood clots forming.

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Treatment of Blood Clots in Dogs

Initial therapy is either directed at removing the obstruction to the blood vessel, without creating new obstructions or supportive therapies if it is deemed safer to let the body clear the clot on its own. The clot-dissolving medication Streptokinase, which was designed for use in humans, is quite effective for canine patients as well. In some cases, the return of blood flow can cause dangerous levels of potassium, lactates, and acids to invade the patient's body. This syndrome is called reperfusion injury and is more common in cats than in dogs, and occurs most often with clots in the abdominal aorta. Surgical removal of the clot may also be an option for removing the blood clot, depending on where exactly it is located. They may choose to remove the clot by making an incision directly into the vessel, however, bleeding risks can be increased with this type of surgery.

Some situations allow for a specialized catheter to be threaded into the vessel to pull the clot out manually. Once the clot is removed or if your veterinarian deems it safer to let the body dissolve the clot, treatment will be focused on preventing new clots from forming. Anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant medications like low-dose aspirin and heparin will be given, and your dog will be closely monitored until the danger from the clot has passed.

Recovery of Blood Clots in Dogs

Blood clots can be dangerous when they occur, and many canines succumb rather quickly. The prognosis for dogs with blood clots that reach the veterinary clinic will depend on where the blood clot is located and how quickly treatment is begun. Keeping the recovering patient in a calm, quiet environment will help encourage healing, as will having appropriate food and water within their reach.  Some patients respond better to treatments than others, and recovery can also be affected by how quickly any underlying causes are diagnosed and addressed. Specialized feeding and care instructions may be given by your veterinarian to facilitate healing, and it is essential that you follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding aftercare, as it can be unique to your dog.

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Blood Clots Average Cost

From 413 quotes ranging from $500 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,800

Blood Clots Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Loki

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German Shepherd

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Serious condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Head Tilt
Vomiting
Muscle Spasms
Dizziness
Clumsiness

Hello, Last night my shepherd mix suffered what I thought was a seizure; after calming him down he showed few signs of improvement. He was holding his head at an angle, his legs were stiff, he refused to get up, and when I went to put some shoes on to bring him to the emergency vet he attempted to follow me and was hardly able to stay on his feet - very clumsy and weak, as if he had vertigo. The poor thing was stumbling and running into the walls of the hallway as he tried to come to me. I rushed him to the emergency vet where we looked at an ultrasound and an x-ray and found he had internal bleeding. The vet took him into surgery and removed his spleen and the huge, ruptured tumor that was attached. During recovery she said he had another mild seizure-like episode, and he needed a transfusion to survive the night. The vet now believes a blood clot from the rupturing tumor affected his brain and was what caused his two "seizures." He has improved some throughout the day, with his blood count coming up, but he appears to be having some trouble with his vision (tracking/finding people when spoken to), once again could not balance when he attempted to walk this morning, and is holding his head tilted. He did immediately recognize me by sight (complete with tail wag!) when I visited him a couple of hours ago and responds to being touched and talked to, and he is able to push himself up to sit and will eat when hand-fed. He's still in rough shape, but he is off fluids for now and the vet says he is calmer and less "stiff" than he was this morning, so for now we are optimistic. Given that he has not only survived so far and is fighting hard, I guess I'd like to get another opinion on his prognosis. My vet says that she has not seen many dogs survive these episodes so it is hard to tell if or how much he will improve, and I understand that much of this will be a waiting game. In addition, there will still be the lab results on the tumor to address. Because it's so uncertain, I don't know when I will be able to get him home if he pulls through, but if our luck continues and he's able to come home to recuperate, what are some things I can do to make things easier for him, especially if he is still battling some mobility and vision troubles? He still seems pretty distressed by all of this so I'd like to make him feel safe and comfortable. Additionally, what is the difference between a seizure caused by a blood clot and a stroke, and would we need to treat those differently? Thanks from us both!

May 21, 2018

Loki's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

It is still very early days in treatment after surgery and it is very difficult to give a prognosis, even after examining an animal in this type of case. Prognosis would be guarded to be honest given everything that has happened and there is still the question of the histopathology results as well. Each day and each visit should be taken as they come and any improvement should be taken in its stride. I cannot say whether Loki will bounce back or continue to have mobility issues, it is a waiting game as you already mentioned. The management approach to seizures would be different, but you need to wait to see if they are recurring or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 21, 2018

Hello, My dog had a small wound on his front leg most likely caused by him being snagged by barbed wire. Wound was flushed numerous times and was on cephelixen (for 7 days) and then clindomicin (4 days) (sp?) Before the antibiotics on day 3 of his wound (it had been flushed and cleaned the day it happened. On day 3, his leg started to swell. I immediately took him to the vet. Again wound was flushed and antibiotics prescribed. Wound healed from the inside out just fine but the swelling never went down in his leg. After 4 days on the new antibiotic I took him in again because nothing is effecting his poor swollen leg. Dr. did a ultra sound and says he has a blood clot in his leg vein causing the swelling. He prescribed 81mg of aspirin twice a day to "dissolve the clot" we are on day 5 of that regimen and still no improvement on the leg. My dog is not having any problem using his leg, nor is it cold at all. He told me he could still exercise. Other then his leg is swollen it doesn't seem to bug him much and he is HUGE baby when i comes to pain. When will I start seeing progress? Is there more I can do like laser that would help this? Is aspirin for a dog really the best medicine to get this to rectify the situation faster if possible. So far day 5, i see no progress.

May 21, 2018

Rebecca L.

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Boomer

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French Bulldog

dog-age-icon

Three Months

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

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Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Bllod In Urine, Poop, Pain In Abdom

14 week old French bulldog puppy. The day we bought him, he peed blood. Went to vet er and they gave Climarx antibiotic for UTI. Since, he has been to vet many times and finally to Vet College at NC State where he was diagnosed with a huge blood clot in his bladder. They recommended test for hemophilia which was negative (done at Cornell U). Not they want us to bring the puppy back for more exploratory...so far, this has cost $2,000. Money is an issue. The puppy also has blood in his poop and blood runs out of his anus after he poops or strains. he strains to pee, whimpers when he pees and poos. Otherwise, he is active, playful, etc. He eats great but is not gaining weight. He eats everything we feed and he has only gained 1.4 pounds in four weeks. He is anemic according to vet. What should we do. Currently he is being treated by old country vet hoping he would have answers that the others did not but not much change.

May 20, 2018

Boomer's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm not sure that I can offer much more insight into what might be going on with Boomer than the veterinarians that you have seen have given. I'm sorry that is happening to him. It may require further diagnostics to determine what the cause of the bleeding in his bladder is in such a young pup. I hope that they are able to get to the bottom of his problems.

May 20, 2018

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Jack

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pit mix

dog-age-icon

13 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Difficulty Walking And Standing

My 13 yr old pit mix has been having trouble walking due to arthritis. This past Monday he suddenly couldn't use his not so arthritic leg. In the middle of the night he became completely panicked and started panting excessively, and just really upset. We rushed him to ER and after many tests he was diagnosed with a blood clot in his hind quarter, cushings disease and possible hypothyroidism. He can't use his hind legs much at all. What should I expect for recovery?

March 16, 2018

Jack's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. I have a hard time commenting on what his prognosis or recovery might be, unfortunately, without knowing more about his particular situation. If he has some function to his hind end, he may be able to recovery from this, but it would be best to discuss his situation with your veterinarian, as they are able to examine him and know more about his health status. I hope that he is okay.

March 16, 2018

i did not get a response .... so no not helpful

April 17, 2018

Sallieann C.


calvin was having difficulty breathing and foaming from the mouth , his neck was stretched out and they told me he had a blod clot in the ventrical of his heart , what could we have done

April 11, 2018

Sallieann C.

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Sophie

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Shih Tzu

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2 Years

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Fair condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Head Tilt

A week ago today my dog was very tired Also vomiting and had diarrhea. After about 24 hours I noticed she started to be on coordinating so I took her to the hospital they said her red blood cells were low and diagnosed her with IMHA. Due to her red blood cells being low they were around 15 they said she needed a blood transfusion. She had the blood transfusion they center home with prednisone. I started seeing improvements however her appetite was still not there . On Saturday I noticed her eyes were rapidly moving in her head started tilting to the right. I called the vet on Monday and they stated she may have a small blood clot which can be normal because she had low platelets they told me to continue with her prednisones in ad in a quarter tablet of baby aspirin every three days . She has a follow-up appointment on Thursday . As of yesterday she has been back to normal as far as playing eating and just overall acting like herself . The rapid eye movement has stopped however her head is still tilting to the right but even that is showing improvement . I’m worried that they stated this could be a blood clot is that something that can go away on its own ?

Feb. 6, 2018

Sophie's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. If she had a blood clot, it may resolve, and it may stay there. Most of the time dogs will compensate for any embolic events, given enough time. She may always have a subtle head tilt, but if she is already showing improvement, that is a positive sign.

Feb. 6, 2018

My male dog name Casper he is a German shepherd . What to do he has a big clot in his tail in a size of crazy ball . I think that clot was made after i removed a tic from his tail. The clot is from past 1 year. Doctor said that no need to do anything . If the size of clot increases then they will test for cancer or etc disease. Can anyone help me !!

March 13, 2018

Jatin G.


My mixed jack russle was attacked by a pit bull and was ripped open. Took her to the vet...she operated on her but said she might throw a blood clot...would she be better at home...she has become lathargic...I feel she misses my wife alot

Feb. 26, 2018

Donny M.


My 12 yr old female chow let out a scream I thought bloat but after much tests she had an enlarged spleen and liver plus infection somewhere. Couldn’t find tumors but thought inside spleen. Couldn’t get a pulse in back legs but heart ok. We had to end up putting her down. Was there something we could do?

Feb. 13, 2018

Marianne S.

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Elvie

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Yorkie

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Seizures
Shakes
Walks In Circles

My yorkie fell from my arms onto the floor when I picked her up she was unconscious and ever since she has been walking in circles, shaking and just recently she had a seizure. Could all this be due to a blood clot or a concussion? What is the procedures need to correct these things?

Jan. 22, 2018

Elvie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. I'm sorry that has happened to Elvie. Without examining her, I am not sure what might be causing her signs, but it seems that she needs to see her veterinarian an soon as possible, especially if she is having seizures. Your veterinarian will be able to examine her, determine what might be going on, and get her started on any treatments that might help. I hope that she is okay.

Jan. 22, 2018

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Lily

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Mix

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

My female dog(10years)has had a history of Urinary infections. The vet said that her bladder is lower than normal. On 20Nov,we noticed that her urine appeared to be dark in the sand. A closer examination revealed that there were so thick blood clots. Urine analysis showed blood plus 4, bacteria present, pH 7.5,rbc 3-5. She was given 250mg clavaseptin for 7 days. Blood test was done which was good result. Scan of bladder was normal. Catherdisation showed blood in the Urine which was very alkaline ph9. Clavaseptin was prescribed for another 7 days. What can we do to determine the source and cause of the blood clots

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Lila

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Chihuahua

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12 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Fever
Lethargy
Coughing
Loss Of Appetite
Fast Breathing

Our 12 year old chihuahua had a short fall (12-18 inches) out of our bed a week ago today, landing awkwardly with her legs sliding from underneath her. That evening she appeared to favor a front leg and her hind legs appeared stiff. The next two days she ate about half of her food, but otherwise was relatively lethargic and weak. Sunday, two days later, she began to recover mentally and physically, appearing perky and no longer favoring her legs. However. Sunday evening, we noticed her breathing rate was increased (40-60/minute) so we took her to an emergency vet. The vet gave her oxygen therapy, fluids and antibiotics (clavomox) via a shot, and sent us home with oral clavomox. She had a 102.8 fever. She appeared better that evening, perky and alert again. The next day (Monday), her breathing was still rapid (50-60/minute) and she was coughing so we took her back to the hospital. They again gave her oxygen, fluids, and both anti nausea and pain meds (opioid) via shot. She was very lethargic all day, and her respiratory rate had dropped to ~40/minute however much of that was likely due to the opioids. She also ate all her dinner. Tuesday her breathing rate was back up to 50-60/minute and she ate a little, and was still coughing. Tuesday afternoon we took her to our vet who suspected kennel cough and sent us home with an additional baytril prescription. That night her breathing worsen and by Wednesday morning it was up to 60+/minute and coughing increased significantly. We called our vet first thing Wednesday morning, sent them a video of her breathing and were instructed to take her to be hospitalized. She’s been at a hospital since Wednesday (it’s now Friday morning). Shes being treated for aspiration pneumonia and blood clot in lungs, however neither are definitive. She’s been in an oxygen chamber the whole time, getting clavomox, baytril and fluids via IV. EKG was done Thursday and showed no signs of edema or heart issues. WBC count is high (26k, up from 19k Sunday) and total protein is OK, but glubolens were high. Vet also suspected possible blood clot in lungs so they added a blood thinner and did a urinalysis and D-dimer test but results won’t be ready til weekend at earliest. Yesterday (Thursday) her fever was gone (101 temp) and her respiratory rate was down to 30/minute in the chamber. We visited her and she was moving well, eating a bit and in very good spirits. This morning (Friday) we get a call at 2am. Her respiratory rate had spiked up above 80/minute while still on oxygen . The rate maxed out over 100/min at 3am, was 84/min at 430am and is now at 52 at 10am. She’s apparently stable and all vitals are OK, blood pressure was 114, gums are pink but breathing is a bit labored. Additional X-rays were done this morning and we are speaking to the doctor soon for further updates. We are a wreck and desperately are seeking further opinions and answers. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you - The family of “Lila”

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Zach

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Australian Shepherd

dog-age-icon

Eight Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Blood Clot, Pain In Leg,

I woke up to my best bud Zach crying in pain. He couldn't lift his hind quarters. I rushed him to the vet and after some tests, they put him on Plavix. In about 3 days, he was walking (though still limping a bit) on the leg. Now it's been a week and he seems to be in pain again and is limping more. I am bringing him to the vet on Friday (it's now Wednesday). Is there anything I can do to help Zach out? He seems miserable. Would massaging help? Heat? Ice? I feel helpless and want to help my buddy out. Any advice would be useful. This is all complicated with Congestive Heart Failure that we have been battling for a year. He was doing very well until this happened. Thanks.

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Mylo

dog-breed-icon

Shitzu Toy Poodle

dog-age-icon

15 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Vomiting
Loss Of Appetite
Tenderness In Stomach Area
Weakness In Back Leg

On Friday night, my dog Mylo went to bed acting fine. Saturday morning about 9:30 AM, he peed and had a normal bowel movement. At that time, he also vomited, had diarrhea and didn't want to eat any food. I tried to pick him up by lifting him by the stomach, and he yelped. Mylo had been diagnosed with kidney disease in January so we have been taking him in periodically for subcutaneous fluids to make sure he didn't get dehydrated. At 12:30 PM, I took him to the vet to get fluids. The vet tech said he didn't need them, but since it was the weekend and I wasn't sure if he would vomit more so we gave him fluids. About 4:30pm, I took him outside and he went pee. He was acting normal at that time. Around 6pm, he vomited a couple of times. The vomit was clear. Around 7:00pm, I took him out to go pee. He vomited a couple times outside. He seemed like he was getting a little weak in his back legs, but I just thought it was because of all the puking. About 7:30, he vomited about 3 more times. Around 10 pm, I took him out to pee again, but he was too weak to walk up the stairs to get back into the house. He could still get up and walk, but seemed like he was getting weak. When he walked, it seemed like he was losing motion in his back legs and was walking on his legs like pegs. About 10:30 PM, I took Mylo to bed with me, but he was still vomiting. About 1:30AM Sunday, I noticed his breathing became more labored. At that time, Mylo couldn't stand on his own. At 2:30AM on Sunday, I took him to the emergency services vet. His temperature was 99.8 His lungs sounded clear. They gave him fluids because they said he was dehydrated. Mylo was also given a Buprenex shot for pain and Cerenia injection for vomiting. I could tell he didn't feel good at all. I took him home and went to bed at 4:30 AM. At that time, he felt cooler than normal so I covered him up, and his legs felt like they were getting stiff. I got up at 7:00AM and he was still breathing, but unresponsive. He passed way about 11:05 AM. I figured that he passed away from the kidney disease. However, I talked to our normal vet, and he believed that he may have had a blood clot. I’m trying to better understand why he passed away so quickly. I would appreciate any thoughts you have about why he may have passed.

dog-name-icon

Lola

dog-breed-icon

Puggle

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Not Eating
Blood Clots As She Walks Or On Her Lays

Its been 3 days and she hasnt wanted any of her reg food but will eat boiled chicken (any human food) I noticed blood clots by her bed today? She still walks and pees fine...???

Blood Clots Average Cost

From 413 quotes ranging from $500 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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