• Dear All, this is my first time posting after losing my boy Cassius (8 years old) 3 days ago...

    I'm trying to find some answers on what could have happened as he died of a rare disease the vets havent been able to identify.

    I'll share the chronological events of his case, and hopefully some of you might have some answers to help me understand what might have happened:

    • 4 weeks ago, i noticed that Cassius had struggle eating, his mouth was hurting and he would only eat soft food he didnt need to chew. My first thought was that he had some teeth pain so I took him to the vet. The vet said his teeth were fine, but he noticed his gums were pretty pale, so he run a blood test and we found out he was really anemic. He run parasites tests for Leishmania and tick-related infections, and started antibiotic treatment to cover them, but the tests came back all negative.

    • 3 weeks ago: he started developing clotting disorder symptoms, as we could see small hemorrhages in his gums (petechiae). This could be a sign of parasite infection so we mantained the antibiotic treatment, but additional tests where run to evidence that his clotting times where really really long, putting his life at risk, therefore a plasma transfusion was done in order to provide him with coagulation factors and treatment with vitamin K + tranexamic acid was initiated, we thought it might be a case of rat-poison injest (which i couldn't explain because i dont have any at home and i couldn't think of anywhere he could be exposed to any kind of raticide venom). After that his blood-tests improved a bit and I was able to take him back home, his state was good for 3-4 more days. Image tests where done, and both echograpies and x-rays didnt show anything abnormal. The jaw pain was stil present, but vets thought was something unrelated to what was happening in the blood.

    • 2 weeks ago, after a follow-up consultation to see his blood levels, his clotting capacity was back to critical, and his anemia got worst, showing that he was probably having internal difused bleeding. The tests shown that his capacity to regenerate red-cells and platelets was normal, therefore we focused our attention in the clotting factors. Von Willebrand disease is a known hereditary condition, but symptoms manifest at a really young age, he couldn't have survived 8 years without any treatment. Researching the litterature, we found some cases where immune-mediated conditions like Addison disease or Thyroiditis could affect hormone production and have a colateral effect on blood clotting, therefore tests where run and immunosupressive treatment was started with Prednisone before having any results, to gain some time. A second plasma transfusion was done as well, as the risk of internal hemorrhages in the brain or lungs was extremely high. This provided a small improvement in blood levels. The thought of an immuno-mediated condition took some relevance, and make us think that the initial jaw pain could be Myositis, which has an immunological component as well, but no cases have ever been described between myositis and blood disorders.

    -1 week ago, blood tests shown that he was getting worse again, and he suffered bleeding behind his eyes, causing retinal detachment, therefore he became blind... a third plasma transfusion was done at this point, to try to get some time to the hormonal treatment to improve the clotting issue (thyroid and suprarenal tests came back slightly low, but inconclusive to insure that he was a case of Thyroiditis or Addison). From this point everything came down pretty fast, after losing his sight, he lost his hearing and smell, stopeed eating and having troubles to stay up on his feet, indicating a possible brain hemorrage. We agreed to put him down, as we reached a point of no return of neurological damage...

    Many vets and university experts have been consulted along this process and I really think he received the best care possible. We treated all the possible options, parasites, poisoning, auto-immune disease, hormonal deregulation, symptomatic clotting, etc, and he fought until the end for his life, but it wasn't enough. For the note, he had never suffered any disease along his life, or presented symptoms of any kind (fanconi clear, and his renal function was good all along)

    Even if it is too late for Cassius, I'm stil looking for some answers and hopefully, his case might help other dogs that could go through something similar.

  • Deepest sympathy that you had to watch Cassius suffering like this. At least now you have the comfort of knowing he is beyond pain.

    You don't mention his age or if you have discussed his condition with his breeder in case there has been something similar elsewhere in the line.

    I wouldn't like to hypothesise as to any diagnosis and have certainly never come across anything like this in all my years with the Breed.

    But welcome to the Forum - and I hope you will get some answers or if not them, points to ponder and perhaps discuss with your vets.

  • Was there anything preceding the onset of his problems that could be significant? Any medications, vaccines administered, etc., and rambles through woods where there could have been ticks, any exposure to foods known to be toxic? When you have a condition with no obvious cause sometimes there are clues you can discover that could have been factors, but sometimes there just are no answers to be found. A friend had a dog (not Basenji) that developed hemolytic anemia after receiving a vaccine for leptospirosis. These things can happen, but fortunately are rare.

    So sorry for your loss. It is never easy, and much harder when they go before their time.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I dare not imagine the turmoil you have been through, the thought breaks my heart.

  • @camlich Wow, camlich. I'm a bit tongue tied about what to say. First, I don't have the medical experience you're seeking, but I can understand why your heart is seeking answers. 8 years isn't nearly a long enough life for a dog. The last month must have been a roller coaster. I'm so sorry.

    Like you, I came to this site shortly after my pup had passed. For me, I found it extremely healing to be able to talk about it, post pictures and memorialize his life with us. Know that while we may not hold the answers you seek, we are here to support you nonetheless.

  • @camlich , I have no answer's for you either. Have you or vet do a necropsy? That could give you answers. I am so very sorry for the loss of your furbaby. 8 years is certainly way to young to have so many problems. I haven't heard of any of the symptoms that you mentioned. Someone asked if you have talked to the dog's breeder to see if they have had this problem with any of their pups before? I totally understand wanting answers. I hope you find them. Hugs to you.

  • I am so sorry for your loss and heart ache.

  • @camlich
    I can’t even imagine what you’ve been through in the last month. It is so heartbreaking- so sorry for your loss.🐾❤

  • I'm so very sorry about your Cassius and that you tried everything to find a diagnosis. It's always hard and we cherish the time we had with them. Our hearts and thoughts are with you.
    It's good you posted about this condition as it may be helpful in case these symptoms show up in other doggies. And would definitely want to know the root cause.

  • I’m so very sorry you lost your boy. You certainly went above and beyond to try to save him. I don’t have anything to offer about the diagnosis.

  • @zande poisoning vs the discovery of a new disease favors poison. warfarin[rat poison]is no longer the most common 'blood thinner' but it has a distinctive 'coagulation panel' the rest are prescription medications. this sounds like multiple exposures.

  • @mister-science That's a really scary thought, and I'm not suggesting this is what happened to Cassius at all. I can imagine someone unknowingly dropping human prescription medications to the floor and creating a danger to a dog.

  • Hi everyone, thanks for the support messages it's being quite tough...

    Answering some of your questions, I did ask the breeder in France, and she never heard of anything like this before.

    Poisoning has been quite ruled out as I have another basenji boy (2 years old), and he could have been exposed too. Since the beginning of symptoms, the dogs have been 24h with me as I work home based, and I've been walking them on leash so the probability he would eat something repetedly witout me noticing is almost non-existent...

    Stil waiting for some additional tests that take longer to come back from the lab, let's see what the final theory from the vets will be.

    Thanks again everyone for the kind words and the interest

  • I am SO sorry for what you and your sweet boy went through. My heart broke just reading it. I know he could feel your love and knew you were doing everything to take good care of him. God bless you and your Cassius.

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