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Saddle thrombus in a dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: Maltese mix
Age: 11-15 years
In a dog, once a blood clot has broken off and is considered a saddle thrombus, how long does it take (a) for the back legs to become cold, and (b) for the nail beds to turn blue/purple?




Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi. Has your dog been diagnosed with a saddle thrombus? In all of my years of practice I have never seen or heard of a saddle thrombus in a dog. However, I did just do some research and there have been cases reported.

A saddle thrombus is also known as a thromboembolism. This is where a blood clot gets lodged in the aorta where it branches out to the back legs. The blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the back legs. It is seen in cats much more commonly than in dogs. When it happens it is almost always because the animal has a serious heart condition. I don't believe that it is possible for an animal with a normal healthy heart to have a saddle thrombus.

If this did happen in a dog then the time it would take to see clinical signs would depend on how large of a clot it was and how much blood flow was being restricted. I wouldn't expect to see blue or purple nail beds though. In cats we generally see pale nail beds. If it was a complete blockage of blood flow then the symptoms really should come on within minutes.

Has your dog been diagnosed as having this? Or are you just seeing symptoms? If your dog has these symptoms and hasn't seen a vet then I think an immediate vet visit is warranted.

I hope everything is ok!

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.