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Treevet
Treevet,
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 4
Experience:  Owner/Veterinarian at Hyde Park Veterinary Hospital
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My dog had a really gh red blood cell count and I'm trying

Customer Question

My dog had a really high red blood cell count and I'm trying to figure out why? She was at the vet getting her ears plucked and during the procedure she died. They took a blood test and her red blood cell count was high but no other issues what so ever. I'm trying to get a grip on how this could happen under a Drs care?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi there and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed, internship-trained veterinarian with 10 years experience in general medicine and emergency and critical care medicine and I would be happy to assist you. Please be patient as there may be slight delays in responses as I research this.

I am so sorry this happened. How old was your dog? What breed? Any history of a heart murmur?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She was a 9 year old Labradoodle that had no health issues. She was checked by dr prior to going back for treatment. Heart rate lungs teeth temperature were all fine.
Expert:  Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

Did they say what happened when they cleaned the ears- did she struggle? Did she have trouble breathing? What was the sequence of events with her death- I assume that she did not just suddenly slump down dead... was she breathing hard?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
One person was holding her and the vet was plucking the hair. I heard her whining as she always would during this procedure. He said she just collapsed and was dead. They did cpr but nothing.
I read that they can produce a enormous amount of red blood cells by being restraint. This was the first time the vet tech was a male that was holding her She has gone to this vet for 6-7 years.
Expert:  Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

Okay. I honestly can't think of anything they could have done to cause this. The suddenness of the death makes me think that she must have thrown a blood clot to the brain. Elevated red blood cell levels can cause blood clots to form, and then they can eject from the heart and lodge in the brain and cause sudden death. This is uncommon, but would be my best explanation of what happened. How awful. Your vet saying that he does not know what happened makes me trust him... it is hard for vets to admit that they are not sure what went on. I am so sorry for your loss.

I hope that I have answered your question thoroughly. If you still have questions, please reply. If you feel that I have provided anything less than excellent service, please reply to me first before rating my service and let me know how I can better assist you. Thank you for your question; it has been a pleasure being able to provide assistance. Best of luck.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If she had high red blood cell count she would have had symptoms of it prior to going in. She didn't have any of those prior to her visit.
Isn't it possible that she was stressed so much that her spline released the red blood cells and it killed her?
Expert:  Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

Do you know how high the red blood cell count was?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Like 4 times the normal
Expert:  Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

That's not possible... normal is 40%. Was it like 60%? 80%?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No...he said it was like four times the norm. I have the paperwork at home but won't be there until wed night
Expert:  Ann M. replied 1 year ago.

Okay. I can wait until then. It is much easier to advise on the situation when I have all the info. Also, was the blood drawn before or after death? Because that can affect the values.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Dr wrote in his report that he informed us of the 4x the high end of normal reticulocyte count. Blood was drawn prior to proceedure in notes but he told us that it was done after her death. The only thing on all the tests that look really high is Bands, Neutrophil it was 5.7%. Everything else looks to be normal...I have the results if you want I can send them.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did you get my last answer?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did you get this and can you please answer me back?Thanks,Brad
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ann,I see where you referred me to another specialist but I haven't heard from anyone. I would really like to hear from someone.Thanks,Brad
Expert:  Treevet replied 1 year ago.

Hi

My name is***** am a small animal veterinarian with over 5 years of experience in emergency medicine, shelter medicine and general practice.

I have read through your conversation with Ann. From what you have written in regards ***** ***** blood results it seems that the reticulocyte count was high and band cells were high. Band cells being high indicates active inflammation/infection somewhere in the body. A high reticulocyte count indicates that the bone marrow was producing more red blood cells than normal.

One thing that could have been happening was what is called polycythemia vera. This is a condition where the bone marrow produces too many red blood cells. It is overwhelming on the body and could cause a hypercoagulable state where a clot could be thrown to the brain or lungs and result in death.

To be honest, blood work alone is not likely to get you an answer to why your pet died during the procedure. It can help us speculate a bit but won't give us an actual answer. A post-mortem performed by a pathologist is really the best way to find an answer.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I read up on the high red blood cell and what kind of conditions it would cause like swollen gums and such but she didn't have any of those. She was checked by the vet prior to pulling the hair and everything was normal. Could they have restricted her so much that it caused her have a heart attack?
Expert:  Treevet replied 1 year ago.

It is possible but very very unlikely. Heart attacks are technically caused by a lack of oxygen to heart muscle and generally the result of a clot. This is uncommon in dogs. They just don't get clogged arteries like we do. Excessive restraint can cause all kinds of issues but usually the animal has to be quite ill before hand to die from it. So instead of a heart attack we would be talking about things like heart failure. Heart failure is a failure of the heart to pump effectively. If the condition is severe enough it can cause an arrhythmia and that could cause sudden death.

I don't know your vet and I was not there at the time but in my experience excessive restraint causing death is not common. I have seen normal amounts of holding result in a very very ill animal to get sicker but we knew that was a possibility going into it. To go from perfectly healthy to dead, in my opinion, means there was something very serious going on internally that was not possible to find from a physical exam alone or it was a complete fluke of a situation. When it comes to fluke situation think of the high school basketball player that is in the prime of his life and dies on the court of a sudden cardiac issue or brain aneurysm.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She just didn't have any symptoms leading up to that day and was not different that she always was. At 9 years old I was expecting to have her for a few more years and I'm just trying to get my head around what could have happened. When the Vet tells me he doesn't know what happened and can't explain it, I wonder what did happen in the back. This was the first time she was handled by a male assistant and I'm concerned that he did something that caused her death?
Expert:  Treevet replied 1 year ago.

I know how you feel. It's tough to lose a pet anytime, let alone a situation like this.

I think if you really want closure, a post-mortem is the only way to go. It's not a guaranteed answer because sometimes you just never get an answer. It's the same with people but it's worth a shot.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She was cremated that same day...it was odd but the Vet asked us if we would like her to be cremated alone or as a group before we had a chance to even say good bye to her. It was like he pushed us into making a decision and only giving us those two options. At that point, neither of us were in any condition to think about it. The post mortem wasn't even an option...otherwise I would have done that. It all just seems strange to me and no one can imagine that this could have happened to her over a simple procedure.
Expert:  Treevet replied 1 year ago.

Yes. It is definitely not the norm. I have personally never seen it but I have had friends that have had it happen to them and it is always traumatic for everyone involved.

I am very sorry this happened to you. I think, ultimately it comes down to whether you trust your vet or not.

Expert:  Treevet replied 1 year ago.

Yes. It is definitely not the norm. I have personally never seen it but I have had friends that have had it happen to them and it is always traumatic for everyone involved.

I am very sorry this happened to you. I think, ultimately it comes down to whether you trust your vet or not.

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