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Surgery guidelines for great danes

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  • #16
    Important Please Test your Dane For DIC Before Any surgury

    My beautiful girl Molly just died the other day after surgury. The reason was that she wasn't tested for DIC a blood clotting disorder before surgury. She wound up bleeding to death because of the surgury. Even though my Dog had a pre surgical blood panel done before surgury they did not include the clotting test along with it. I assumed they would do this automatically. Please folks, even though it should have been automatic because she is a giant breed, never ever assume, always make sure by asking to make sure. I'm completely devistated over this.

    This is my story.

    Molly my Great dane mantle was born with a abdominal hernia at birth. It was small and never bothered her. I took her to the vet and they told me she could live the rest of her life with it prob with no prob. Since she was a pure bred, I could not decide to have her spaded. My vet told me that if the hernia was fixed that she would have no prob having puppies. So I left her as is until I could decide. Within the last year, we added to ourfamily by taking another beautiful Male Great Dane Maynard. They were both instantly a wonderful pair. Inseparable. But now that created a prob. I had to decide to spay her or not. Also with their heavy playing her hernia within a few months suddenly started to grow. Now I was getting worried. I decided to have both her spayed and her hernia fixed at the same time. The doctor said it was best. Unfortunely, we had to move to CA. were I was not familar with anyone in the area. I found what seemed to be a good animal hospital in my area which is the dessert that handled most everyone in the county. This is a big place that also does farm animals.

    Then we had what seemed like a very unusual episode. I always hated clipping my dogs nails as I was alway afraid of an accident. In fact I took my dogs to the vet to get them clipped. One day I decided to do it myself. well the two of them both would not settle down and they were trying to play with each other while I was doing it. I cut one of her nails to close to the quick and blood just started gushing out and would not stop. I wrapped her paw and called the animal hospital. they told me not to worry that it would subside. It didnt. 3 hours later I called and told them I was bringing her in. In the back seat of the car, she bled like a pig. I could not believe how much blood was coming out of the one nail. We told them at the office how bad the seat of the car was and she bled all over the office lobby and exam room alot. They had to mop it up. They put cement in the nail and all was well. but the amount of blood she had lost was rediculous. I made a comment to them how bad this was. they said it was unusual but they had seen it a couple of time before.

    after the incident, I didnt think much about it. the vet told us not to worry about it. He said it happens.

    Surgury., I made sure that on the forms there was pre surgury testing beforehand and just assume they would include the clotting test as well, I was wrong. they told me they would keep it for observation overnight and the next morning we could pick her up.

    After the surgury they said she was fine. She had it late in the afternoon. they close at 6. Again I assumed that she was being observed through the night. At 8 am we got a call telling us that they had come into the office to find molly in a pool of blood and that they needed to do a blood transfusion. I imediately set yes and went down to the hospital. I also asked how this could happen, why did they open the office to find my dog in a pool of blood. This was a hospital not a vet. I thought someone was there to watch the dogs overnight. they did not have an answer.

    after going down the vet tried to assure me that she would be ok. He decided not to do a blood transfusion because they had put ice on her and her blood levels seemed ok. Again I asked about the bleeding. He wanted to to go back in and see why she was bleeding. All the while he never did the clotting test. within hours she was in trouble. they finally did the clotting test and found they could not even measure her clotting factor. I was incensed but all the while im thinking how can I save her. THey said she needed plasma not just a whold blood transfusion and that the nearest hopital that had was one hour away. they gave her a transfusion of blood. but then they told me I would have to transport her to the other hospital. I sat with her in the back of car, holding her, she was near lifeless. Even though I had wrapped her in a blanket to stay warm, she was losing heat. By the time I got her to the next hospital. they said multiple plasma tranfusion was her only hope. They also quoted a minimum of 3500 for two days. Likely the bill was going to be over $6,000 over the week if she responds and they needed a good portion of it up front. Im in panic. all together with open credit cards and every dime I had in my checking I could only give them 2500.00 they agreed. as I was giving them my credit card. the vet came out and said wait, I dont think she is going to make it at all. I went back in and molly was gasping for air and her organs were shutting down. She died in my arms.

    I cannot write anymore.

    Please please please before surgury for your dane, please have them tested for DIC (Clotting factor) had mine done this, Molly would be alive today. Bye folks. :-( crying too much now.
    Attached Files


    • #17
      I am so sorry that you lost your baby
      "The human language, as precise as it is with its thousands of words, can still be so wonderfully vague"....Garth Stein The Art of Racing in the Rain


      • #18
        I am so sorry to hear about Molly.
        Mrs Emery
        AKC Canine Ambassador
        Member GDCA - resource/referral
        GOPDC - Public Education Coordinator


        • #19
          I would like to clarify, DIC is not a clotting factor, but a coagulopathic disorder brought on by things such as sepsis, liver failure, etc. I totally agree, your vet should have checked her clotting times; however, a DIC test is not what they should have done. A CBC gives you a platelet count which is usually what they go by. If that was normal, they might not have felt they had reason to check further studies. However, with her history of bleeding I would've asked for PT/PTT and VonWilbrand's tests as well. If something happened during surgery that made her go into DIC, a DIC screen pre-op would not have been positive anyway. It sounds like your girl might have had a genetic clotting disorder.

          I am so sorry you had to go through this. How tragic, sending you love & light. RIP Sweet Molly.
          Stella (Merle), Zeus (Blue)
          Noogie-Boogie (Doxxie)
          Kasey (Pug aka: the turd)

          The Felines: Precious, Chloe & Ray
          At the Bridge: Fluffy, Brandy, Tiffany, Gizmo, Woof, Scrappy, Duke, Shay, Cleo, Vader, Pepper, Conner


          • #20
            I am so sorry to hear about your baby Molly.
            Tara ~ Wife to Josh, Mom to Olivia (4yr old Human Child) Julius (Merle Dane) Mini (4lb chihuahua)


            • #21
              I lost a Dane too and almost two.

              I am so sorry to hear about your Molly. One of my Danes died 24 hours post surgery last year after her spay. She had an unknown clotting problem. The difference from your Molly was that she did not have any bleeding problems prior to surgery. She had delivered a normal healthy litter of 11 puppies with no excess bleeding. Never a problem with nails etc. Just two weeks ago I had one of her pups neutered, now one year old. His clotting profile was completely normal prior to surgery, but he had problems too and nearly died. 4 days in ICU and fresh frozen plasma and $5000 saved him. Was your Molly ever tested for Von Willebrand's? Both of mine were and both were negative. Did you talk to her breeder and see if any other related Danes had problems? I am sending DNA samples to a lab to see if they can diagnose this. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it is to lose one of these special dogs.


              • #22
                The first post on this sticky needs to be updated to include
                9. During and after surgery, dogs are highly susceptible to hypothermia (lowered body temperature). The body loses heat directly through the surgical opening; stress and anesthetic agents further impair ability to maintain body temperature. Hypothermia adversely affects the cardiovascular system, coagulation, anesthesia recovery time and increases the risk of wound infection. Preventive measures, including warming of IV fluids, placing the dog on a heated pad (circulating water heating pad or other heating pad set on “low”) and covering the body and extremities with warmed blankets, towels, bubble wrap, or other protective coverings post-surgery are vital in conserving body heat. Temperature monitoring, either via electronic device or rectal thermometer, should be done during surgery and periodically throughout recovery.

                The link directly to the GDCA Surgery Guidelines:
                "I don’t care if a dog is 150 pounds or 10 pounds, and whether the issue is leash manners or biting visitors. There are no dogs who need a heavier hand—there are only trainers who need more knowledge and a lighter touch." Suzanne Clothier
                Rocky & Emma
                Follow our adventures at


                • #23
                  How terribly tragic. RIP molly.


                  • #24
                    It's a newer drug, but my pup was induced with Alfaxan as opposed to Propofol - did great. He was the 6th great dane we have done using this newer agent.


                    • #25
                      Thank you for this helpful information...and I am so sorry about Molly

                      My heart breaks for you. My neighbor lost her Harliquen Dane to bone cancer several months ago and she is still so heart broken. There is something special about this breed...maybe because they're almost human size, I don't know...but the attachment goes very deep. I came close to losing my Blue Merle just last week to tetanus. I took some doing to get a diagnosis. He seems to be improving now though. But I cried for days in fear of losing him. He also has a partial tare in his ACL. The vet is going to start him on tendon/ligament formula to try and heal it an avoid surgery. Should he have to have surgery, your information will be very helpful. Thank you for sharing this. When you and Molly meet again she will be happy and healthy and run to you. Xoxo


                      • #26
                        the link in the original post directed me to a different page...but I found an updated link (even though it looks identical to the one in the original post)

                        Debbie & Murphy