- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


heart problems following spleen removal

June 22nd, 2011, 05:20 AM
Help. I am totally confused. My old Border collie needed his spleen urgently removed. Following this he has developed heart problems, I have spent hours on the internet trying to find information. I have found very brief statements that have sugested that heart problems can be the cause of spleen disease, and others that have briefly suggested that heart problems can be a complication of a spleenectomy. But they have not elaborated on this. My dog has been put on fortekor, but does not seem to be doing so well. His mucous membranes become almost white following any short vigorous exercise. I keep him as quiet as possible, but he wants to play ball and cant understand why I am not encouraging him in his games as I use too. A month ago he enjoyed following a pony on rides out.(so his fittness level was good and showed no outward signs of any heart problems)
If there is any one who has had a similar case or knows of one, I would love to hear their views. my vet is also very vague on the whole thing.

June 22nd, 2011, 12:11 PM

Welcome to the pets forum. The folks here are wonderful.

I have some experience with the splenectomy and following heart issues. In 2007 my 10 year-old Scottish terrier became gravely ill one night and required emergency spleen removal surgery. This was performed at an after-hours emergency vet center. My dog's spleen was engorged to the point of rupture. When we had the surgery, we were told that there was a potential for heart problems. The way it was explained was that removing the spleen caused the heart to "throw enzymes" (sorry I can't be more specific). My dog did have the heart complications and required staying several days in a vet ICU hospital so her heart could be monitored and she could have her medication adjusted. It was very touch-and-go for several days. When she was discharged she did have a few weeks of heart medication (don't remember the name) and I was told to get her back to the hospital if she collapsed. She also had to have additional heart monitoring (echo and EKG I believe) one week after stopping her meds. She was able to be taken off the heart medication and things appeared normal at her testing.

This is a very difficult surgery for a dog to recover from. Why was the spleen removed? Injury, cancer, unknown? In my Tipper's case, we were told it was probably cancer, but her biopsies were negative. For some reason she developed blood clot material in the spleen causing it to fail and engorge. We have no idea why it happened. With cancer, it is possible for the cancer to invade the heart or for small tumors to "bleed out" and cause blood loss, which in turn leads to weakness and pale gums.

One thing we experienced with our dog was that she developed lots of infections during her last year. The spleen serves as a giant lymph node and works with the immune system. So watch for infections.

I do understand how very difficult this is. My little dog wasn't very active and a true snuggle-bug lap dog so keeping her activity level down wasn't difficult. If it is at all possible, you may want to ask your vet for a referral to a vet cardiologist or a vet internal medicine specialist. If heart tests haven't been done, you may wish to do this. One of the big concerns was that Tipper could have had cancer in her spleen that had gone to her heart; she didn't. Recovery from this surgery was over 2 months for my little dog. Prayers for your sweet border collie :pray:.

June 22nd, 2011, 03:43 PM
wow what a lovely reply. My little dog seams very similar to yours. thanks for the info, will reply in more detail latter, I think I will have to phone the vet this evening as he has become very quiet and not eaten his meal. thanks again really, really appreciated.

June 23rd, 2011, 09:02 PM
You are welcome. Hope everything is going well. Please update when you can. I know it is very stressful for you.:grouphug:

July 11th, 2011, 02:31 AM
In addition to the heart problems that the surgery itself can cause, I'm wondering if there isn't an infection that might have caused the spleen issue and also contributing to the heart issue...something a tick disease. I might want to run some blood counts and check platelet values.