Sudden collapse of 6 month old golden retriever
by Sean & Trish
We have a 6 month old Golden Retreiver who collapsed suddenly during a car ride. I immediately picked him up and held him in my lap. I thought he was choking on a piece of rawhide so I tried to open his mouth. His mouth was locked shut and his gums were as white as his teeth. He was limp in my arms, eyes were distant and shallow breathing. As I rushed to the vet emergency he involuntarily relieved himself.
The vet checked him out, conducted vitals, and within an hour of being there the colour started to come back to his gums, but he started to develop redness and hive-like swelling around his muzzle and around his eyes. The vet gave him a shot of Benadryl and then a shot of Dex (steriod) and the hives disappeared. They conducted some basic bloodwork and once the results came in we were then told we had to go to a specialist in another city to undergo more tests because his blood wasn't clotting, he had high levels of certain platelets that indicate a liver disorder and possibly a rupture or tear that could be causing some internal bleeding.
We left and went to that specialist that night. Once there they conducted more testing and came back to tell us that his blood clotted fine and his blood work was normal. It was suggested that we monitor him and if it occurs again to go for an ultrasound. As time went on our pup returned to his old self, energetic, responsive, happy...and we were told that we appeared to have a normal 6 month old puppy.
It appears he went into some form of shock, but we have no idea why? He went directly from his kennel, outside for a pee, jumped into the van for a car ride and within 30 mins collapsed. Since that episode 2 days ago he has been perfectly fine.
I did notice last night that when he was let outside he started digging by the fence and came up with a mouse carcass in his mouth. I told him to drop it and he did. Is it possible he may have eaten a mouse that has been poisoned?
Hi Sean and Trish
This is a very tricky one and I imagine you may never know for sure what caused your pup's collapse. It must have been terrifying for everyone and I'm so glad that he seems to be on the mend and that it has a happy ending.
The swelling that appeared after his collapse and the effectiveness of the Benadryl seem to indicate that an allergic reaction was involved, other symptoms could have been the result of a toxin of some sort (a poisoned animal would be one option, maybe a snake bite, or direct contact with some other type of toxin). Of course, I'm not a veterinarian and I'm sure there are many possible causes for one, or both, of the issues.
The fact that he now seems to be making a full recovery hopefully means that whatever it was has passed out of his system and he's got no long term after effects.
I'd carefully scrutinize his kennel and your yard to see if you can find any signs of what could have caused the problem, but with time having passed there may be nothing visible at all.
Your veterinarian may be able to give you some possible scenarios as well, but as I said it may just be that this is a one-off fluke that you'll never get to the bottom of.
If the worst should happen and he experiences another collapse, then I would also consider an organic problem somewhere in his body and more tests would be the route to follow. Hopefully that will not be the case.
Best of luck and wishes for a full and speedy recovery.
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