It is estimated that up to 30% of Greyhounds suffer from a potentially life-threatening condition, fibrinolytic syndrome.
Greyhounds with this bleeding disorder aren’t able to form effective blood clots to stop bleeding. The severity of the condition can range from minor bruising to life-threatening haemorrhaging.
This can be extremely problematic following surgery or after a Greyhound has been in a fight or received a traumatic injury.
Unfortunately, we don’t know why Greyhounds bleed or which ones will be affected. We also don’t know why some Greyhounds get fibrinolytic syndrome when they have been fine during previous surgeries.
Some theorise that Greyhounds have developed the condition due to their racing activities, similar to what happens in humans who race. Others propose that it is a genetic disorder, developed over time due to the low gene pool in the Greyhound community.
Whatever the reason, veterinary treatment of a Greyhound with a traumatic injury or one who needs surgery provides added risks, as Animal Referral Hospital Specialist Surgical Oncologist, Dr Maurine Thomson, saw recently in 10 year old Candy.
Candy had a period of worsening lameness in her left forelimb before a radiograph showed a moth-eaten appearance to the bone, affecting 1/3 of her left humerus.
She was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma, a cancer of her bone, which thankfully hadn’t spread to her chest. Due to the severity of the cancer, the decision was made to amputate her forearm, thus preserving her life.
Candy was given Aminocaproic Acid prior to surgery which can help to reduce the chance of bleeding. The surgery went like a dream, however, 24 hours later she developed severe bruising and swelling.
Candy eventually required a blood transfusion as her red cell count had fallen too low and she was weak from anaemia. She was treated with Tranexamic Acid to help stabilise her blood clots and was discharged from hospital a week after her surgery.
Candy has now commenced chemotherapy for her bone tumour and is running around happily on three legs.