• Mountain View Vet Surgery

When the Immune System goes Wrong...

The immune system is a very important part of not only our (humans) bodies, but our pet’s bodies too! It has been designed through years of evolution to protect us from viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites and is incredibly effective and powerful.

This dog came to us because she wasn’t eating and had been flat and tired for the past few days. After asking a few questions and a physical examination, it was discovered that she had a large red/purple bruise, had been passing very dark urine (in specimen jar below) and had a fever.

It was decided that we needed to perform blood tests to investigate this odd case further. She was found to be anaemic, had a high white blood cell count (cells involved in inflammation) and had almost no platelets (the cells which help to clot the blood).

A blood smear showed a few characteristic changes– clumping and damaged blood cells due to the immune system attacking the red blood cells.

Red blood cell clumping

Blood Cells Under a Microscope showing Characteristic Abnormalities

This dog has Evan’s Syndrome!

Evan’s Syndrome is a combination of two very dangerous diseases where the immune system attacks and destroys the red blood cells and platelets (cells involved in blood clotting). This caused the dog to become tired, nauseous and develop a bruise as she was not able to clot her blood.

The dark urine may look like blood, but it actually is stained red from the red blood cell debris which is removed by the kidneys. If left untreated, this can lead to fatal anaemia, bleeding, blood clots and kidney failure.

Therefore, she was started on medications straight away to help dampen the immune-system’s destruction of the red blood cells and platelets. Although this disease is serious, it can be treated medically if caught early.
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