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Dog bleeding from nose and died.

Species: Dog
Breed: Anatolian Shepherd
Age: 2-5 years
This might seem unnecessary and irrelevant now, but maybe even shedding a little light on the matter would help me.
The question I'm asking is about my dog, who is no longer.
I had a male, 5 year-old purebred Anatolian Shepherd. We had raised him since a puppy. He was exercised on a normal basis and always got the healthy stamp of approval from our vet. Since he was 2-3 his back legs would tremble after he'd flop on the carpet, or sometimes sitting. Around 5 years we noticed one day that he was acting a little lethargic and had no appetite. This raised a red flag. We decided to take him to the vet the very next morning. His nose had started bleeding (seemingly from both sides) the next morning on our way to drop him off.
He was up to date on all vaccinations, had not gotten into anything toxic around the house, no unusual bumps, and was very healthy. He even wanted to go on the car ride to the vet.
After dropping him off we later received a call (several hours after) from the vet that he had passed away before they could even get a chance to look at him.
They offered a necropsy which my parents, unfortunately, declined. They declined for the reason they would have taken him over 84 miles away and we wouldn't get him back for a while. I had no say in the matter, it was up to my parents. I know there's not much to know without the necropsy, but I only wanted to know if his symptoms sound like anything familiar- if it was our fault or not.
We have another Anatolian now, not purebred like Duke, but now his legs are starting to tremble when he lays down (he's now 5 too) and I want to know if I should be concerned, or if it's the onset of hip dysplasia.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about Duke.

You are right in saying that we won't be able to know much without a post mortem. But, I can give you some ideas as to what could have happened.

Bleeding from the nose can often mean that there is a problem with platelets. Platelets are cells that are responsible to help the body clot. If platelet levels get low then we can see bleeding. If Duke died this suddenly then there is a high possibility that he had bleeding internally and died from blood loss into his abdomen.

So, what can cause low platelets? If you live in an area that has a lot of ticks then it could have been caused by a tick borne disease such as ehrlichiosis.

It's also possible that there was a tumor in Duke's spleen then this can cause the body to destroy platelets and can also cause bleeding into the abdomen.

Another possibility is a disease called immune mediated thrombocytopenia or IMT. We don't know what causes IMT but what happens is that the body's immune system starts to destroy its own platelets. While IMT is treatable, if there is severe bleeding internally then there would have been nothing anyone could do.

One other thought for the bleeding would be exposure to rat or mouse poison. If Duke had ingested one of these toxins then these can cause severe bleeding.

I can't really tie together the leg shaking with what happened to Duke. The only slight connection I could make would be lyme disease. Lyme can cause platelet problems and can also cause joint pain. But, I have also seen dogs who have a tremor in a leg and we never find out why. It is also possible that this is due to joint pain such as a hip or knee problem.

It may be worthwhile to have your vet test for lyme disease if this is something that is seen in your area.

I'm so sorry for your loss. It really sounds like there was nothing that anyone could have done.

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.