I know that, as a pet parent, seeing that your four-legged friends are sick is one of the worst things in the world. Sadly, it is something that happens from time to time, no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Being educated about what could affect your furry friends could help save their lives.

Today, let’s focus on Evan’s syndrome, a common condition that can affect both dogs and cats and what you need to know about it.


  1. What is Evans Syndrome
  2. What Are the Causes of Evans Syndrome in Pets
  3. Evans Syndrome Signs and Symptoms
  4. Treating a Pet with Evans Syndrome
  5. FAQs
  6. Final Thoughts

What is Evans Syndrome

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, known simply as ITP/IMTP or Evans syndrome, is something that can affect a wide range of animals, including humans, dogs, cats, and others. It is a condition that has the potential to be life-threatening for cats and dogs because it makes their immune system attack not just the ‘bad’ cells in the blood (such as viruses, bacteria, etc.) but also the good – platelets and red blood cells.

It is classified as an auto-immune or immune-mediated condition, and it causes serious issues such as anemia and sudden bleeding for seemingly no reason, known medically as spontaneous bleeding.

What Are the Causes of Evans Syndrome in Pets

Experts and scientists do not know what causes primary Evans syndrome in dogs and cats, or even in humans. This type of no-obvious-cause condition is known medically as idiopathic, so this would be idiopathic Evans syndrome. The word ‘primary’ is used because it has no causes.

Primary ITP is more common in dogs and less common in cats, and smaller dog breeds seem to develop the condition the most. According to vet Lisa Gorman for MSPCA-Angell West, female dogs in middle age and cocker spaniels are the most commonly affected.

Secondary Evans syndrome, on the other hand, has several known causes. The word 'secondary' is used to describe a condition that is caused by one or more other conditions, some of which you might already know about, using pet cameras or other pet tech that helps you monitor them at all times.

Common causes behind secondary Evans syndrome in dogs include:

  • Parvovirus;
  • Canine distemper virus;
  • Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections;
  • Bone marrow diseases;
  • Lymphoma;
  • Leukemia;
  • Certain medications, particularly sulfa-based;
  • Tick-borne diseases;
  • Blood transfusions;
  • Splenic enlargement.

Evans Syndrome Signs and Symptoms

In the earlier stage of the disease, there will likely be few symptoms or signs, but this heavily depends on whether it is primary or secondary Evans syndrome. When the immune system attacks platelets and other ‘good’ cells, as well as bacteria and viruses, there aren’t enough of them to help with blood clotting. Uncontrollable bleeding is a big concern, but it’s not the only symptom you can expect.

Alongside bleeding, the Veterinary Health Center at the University of Missouri states that these are the common symptoms of Evans syndrome, particularly in the developed stages:

  • Increased or excessive tiredness (lethargy);
  • No interest in food or drink;
  • Small bruises on the gums or skin (petechiation);
  • Larger, dark bruises on the body (ecchymoses);
  • Bleeding nose;
  • Blood in poop or urine;
  • Fever;
  • Enlarged lymph nodes;
  • Anemia (and associated symptoms);
  • Localized bleeding issues (such as eyes, turning red or brain, causing seizures).

You can keep an eye on your pet and any early symptoms of the disease that they may present using pet tech, and there are more gadgets and gadgets for your furry friends than ever before. Use interactive cameras to monitor, soothe, and communicate; GPS trackers to ensure that you never lose them; and automatic feeders to keep to a strict routine!

Treating a Pet with Evans Syndrome

Let’s start with secondary Evans syndrome first. Alongside the syndrome itself, the underlying cause or causes need to be treated. Alternatively (or at the same time, if applicable), the medication that caused it needs to be stopped and replaced with a more appropriate one.

Treatment to rectify the reduced platelet count often involves immunosuppressive corticosteroid therapy, which essentially stops the immune system from working in overdrive and attacking the things it shouldn’t. There isn’t a strict protocol for treatment, however, so your vet may advise a different course of treatment.

Primary Evans syndrome is diagnosed by excluding every other possible cause of the symptoms, according to NCBI research. It can be a time-consuming and costly process for pet parents, with an array of diagnostic tests to rule everything else out. In the more advanced stages, the symptoms can be quite scary, too: bleeding from the eyes and potential seizures.

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How long can a dog or cat live with Evans syndrome?

According to veterinary studies, 75% to 90% of pet patients with Evans syndrome are discharged after admittance and treatment, with up to 80% of those surviving. Sadly, around 20% of pets will be euthanized or pass away as a result of Evans syndrome. Around 50% to 60% of pet patients will experience a relapse of Evans syndrome, with symptoms returning post-treatment.

Can IMTP in dogs be cured?

Yes, IMTP, or Evans syndrome, in dogs is curable, but only with prompt medical attention. Delaying diagnosis and treatment leads to further damage and an increased risk of death. There is also a chance of relapse, so regular vet checkups and monitoring are important following treatment.

Final Thoughts

Evans syndrome has the potential to be a very serious disease, and it does have the potential to be deadly. For this reason, you must keep up with regular vet checkups and seek medical attention as soon as you notice that something isn’t quite right with your dog or cat.

Just remember: you know your pet better than anyone else; therefore, you are the best person to know when something isn’t right. Trust your gut instinct, and always be safe rather than sorry.

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