Photo of Deerhound puppies taken by Miranda Levin

by John Dillberger, DVM

Reprinted from the September/October 2014 Claymore

In 2011 I wrote about research underway at Ohio State University (OSU) to investigate the cause of excessive post-operative bleeding that occurred in many Greyhounds one or two days after surgery.  Evidence suggested that affected dogs formed normal blood clots, but that the clots dissolved too quickly.  Acting on a hunch from Dr. Couto, veterinarians at OSU began using a human drug called epsilon aminocaproic acid (Amicar®) to reduce the risk of bleeding or treat the problem if it occurred.

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Reprinted from the January/February 2014 Claymore.

While there haven’t been any earth-shattering discoveries this year, research into the health problems that affect Deerhounds has made some slow and steady progress on several fronts. There are also a couple of new projects. Read more

Dr. Guillermo Couto, who was spearheading the fibrinolysis research at Ohio State University, has retired, and no one there is continuing this research. Right now, we only suspect that some Deerhounds with bleeding issues have the same problem as Greyhounds, which is suspected to be fibrinolysis. To help us decide what the best next step would be, we thought we would collect some anecdotal information that will help us to determine whether aminocaproic acid helps Deerhounds with post-operative bleeding as it does Greyhounds.

If you have a dog that experiences post-surgical bleeding and the administration of aminocaproic acid stops the bleeding, we would be very interested to hear about that. If you administered aminocaproic acid during a bleeding episode and your dog did not stop bleeding, or your dog starts to bleed even though you were giving your dog aminocaproic acid prophylactically, we would be interested to hear about those experiences, too. As always, your information will be kept confidential. For more information on using aminocaproic acid for post-operative bleeding, go to http://sdcahealth.wordpress.com/health-issues/bleeding-problems/fibrinolysis/.

Please send this information to John Dillberger at P.O. Box 2118, Nashville, IN 47448-2118; (812) 988-6175; or at John “at” Greymorn.com. Please help us to determine whether aminocaproic acid works or not so we know the best next steps to take concerning this problem.

 

 by John E. Dillberger, DVM

Originally published in the March/April 2011 issue of The Claymore.

UPDATE: Click here for a follow-up article written in 2014.

Every few months I hear of another Deerhound that has unexpected bleeding after surgery. The stories are much the same. Dogs typically emerge from surgery in good shape and go home with their owners, only to begin bleeding 24 to 36 hours later. The bleeding doesn’t originate from a single blood vessel; instead, blood seems to seep from every vessel that was cut during surgery. Indeed, the only vessels that don’t bleed are those that were specifically tied off or cauterized during surgery.

Some Deerhounds that have delayed post-operative bleeding survive, but only with heroic and expensive supportive care. Many don’t. Some dogs are simply found dead the morning after surgery.

The recent discovery of an inherited Factor VII gene mutation in Deerhounds led some people to speculate that this might explain the delayed post-operative bleeding. (Factor VII is one of many proteins that help create a blood clot.) Unfortunately, the Factor VII mutation does not explain the problem in Deerhounds. Delayed post-operative bleeding has occurred in dogs with two normal Factor VII genes.

The biggest mystery surrounding delayed post-operative bleeding is also the biggest clue to what may be happening; specifically, the time when bleeding begins. It is as if the Deerhound forms normal blood clots after surgery, but those clots “come unglued” the next day. In other words, the problem is not in the dog’s ability to form a blood clot, but instead in the dog’s ability to maintain the blood clot for a normal length of time.  Read more