An open post from Claire Sygiel Greyhound Options, Inc.
In the hopes of saving even one Greyhound from what happened to Bailey yesterday, Jody and Peter would like to share this information with as many Greyhound owners as possible:
My vet called to let me know that in reviewing this incident along with another last week (where it occurred more slowly and the greyhound was able to be saved), they have done research and had a consult with Tufts Veterinary School and found the following: While it is rare, greyhounds are the only breed that has been observed to have an unexplained increase in potassium level while anesthetized, especially after being under for about 1.5 – 2 hrs. In both Bailey’s case and the case last week, they discovered an extremely elevated level of potassium even though the level was normal just before the procedure.
They gave calcium to counteract it in both cases, but were unable to reverse it in Bailey’s case. In the case last week, they had enough warning with heart rate gradually slowing that they ran a test and discovered it in time to reverse it; in Bailey’s case it was too sudden for the treatment to work (they only even tried it because of the incident the week before).
This apparently has been observed in only greyhounds (rarely) but the mechanism of what is happening is not understood. My vet has decided that they are now going to start doing istat tests for electrolytes at one hour in and every half hour after that during a procedure whenever they have a greyhound anesthetized in order to try to catch this phenomenon early and reverse it before it causes a cardiac incident.
Please share this information with everyone you can in the greyhound community and hopefully we can prevent at least some greys from dying this way.