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Greyhound Fibrinolytic Syndrome

What is Fibrinolytic Syndrome?

Up to 30% of our Greyhounds suffer from a potentially life-threatening bleeding disorder, also known as “delayed bleeding” or “Greyhound bleeder”. Greyhounds have a higher tendency to develop delayed bleeding associated with minor procedures or trauma. The bleeding often occurs around 36 to 48 hours after the procedure or trauma incident. They may have bleeding problems in the days after surgery, seen as severe bruising, bleeding from wounds or even internally which can require fluid therapy, blood transfusions or even further surgery.

What does it look like?

Delayed bleeding often manifests as skin bruising, extending from the surgical wound to surrounding areas, which can persist for days. In some cases, skin bruising can happen in combination with active bleeding from the surgical wounds, as well as delayed sloughing of the skin and underlying tissue.

What causes it?

The bleeding can be due to abnormal fibrin stabilisation, enhanced fibrinolysis or a clotting factor deficiency. In addition to these, blood vessel wall damage or dysfunction, such as those in sepsis, can also result in generalised bleeding postoperatively. Unfortunately, we don’t know why Greyhounds in particular bleed or which ones will be affected. We also don’t know why some Greyhounds get fibrinolytic syndrome when they have been fine during previous surgeries.


In affected greyhounds the common blood values and clotting times are often normal. It is generally believed the bleeding is related to enhanced fibrinolysis or weaker clot strength. As a result, pre-emptive treatment with antifibrinolytic medication is recommended to reduce the frequency and severity of this bleeding.

What treatment is available?

As delayed bleeding appears to be related to the maintenance of the fibrin clot and the enhanced fibrinolysis, pre-emptive administration of antifibrinolytic medications during the immediate postoperative period is recommended.

The Antifibrinolytic medication readily available is called Tranexamic acid.

Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic medication, it decreases fibrinolysis and increases clot strength. However, even though these medications significantly reduce the frequency and severity of bleeding, delayed bleeding may still occur in some patients. In addition, these medications are not licensed for use in companion animals but have been shown to be beneficial in greyhounds undergoing surgical procedures.

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