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When an injury occurs anywhere in your dog’s body and it bleeds, there is a specific set of steps that have to happen to control the bleeding. If the bleeding is not controlled as it should be, your dog’s blood may become low enough to be fatal. This process is hemostasis, which is done by narrowing the blood vessels and using a precise amount of platelets and clotting proteins. In dogs with hereditary blood disorders, the blood is not being controlled properly and either clots too fast or cannot clot fast enough.
Hereditary blood disorders include any type of blood disorder that is present from birth and is passed on from your dog’s parents. Bleeding disorders are any type of abnormality in the way your dog’s blood clots. These range from hemophilia, which is the lack of clotting factors, to pathologic thrombosis, in which your dog’s blood contains too many clotting factors. These conditions can all be life-threatening if not treated, so it is a good idea to get your dog checked out by a veterinary professional at least once a year.
The signs of hereditary blood disorders are varied depending on the specific condition.
Coagulation Factor Deficiency
Von Willebrand’s Disease
Certain breeds are susceptible to hereditary blood disorders, such as:
Diagnosing hereditary blood disorders is usually pretty easy, especially if your dog is one of those in the high risk category. The veterinarian will want to know your pet’s family history (if you know it), medical records, and any abnormalities you have noticed. Next, the veterinarian will need to do a comprehensive physical examination, which will usually include weight, height, body temperature, reflexes, pupil reaction time, heart rate, breath sounds, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry (oxygen level). An electrocardiograph (EKG) will be done to check the heart’s electrical and muscle function.
Diagnostic testing will include urinalysis, fecal analysis, activated clotting time (ACT), In vivo bleeding time, buccal mucosa bleeding time analysis (BMBTA), complete blood count, platelet count, coagulation profile, biochemical analysis, antigen test, complete metabolic panel, and a platelet function analysis (PFA).
Treating hereditary blood disorders is contingent on what the disorder is. Some may not be treatable and only palliative care is available, but there are usually medications that can be used to minimize complications and prolong life.
In the case of thrombosis (hypercoagulability), the veterinarian will probably give your dog a medication to prevent blood clots (warfarin or coumadin) and possibly perform a plasma transfusion. You will need to continue with this medication and therapy for the rest of your pet’s life.
All other clotting disorders will be treated with plasma or a whole blood transfusion and medication to treat the underlying illness, if any. Your pet will need to see a veterinary hematologist for specific treatment instructions and therapy, which will continue for the remainder of your pet’s life.
Recovery depends on the blood disorder that your dog is diagnosed with. No matter the cause, you will have to be vigilant and continue the therapy and medication. You should also continue to see the veterinarian and hematologist as long as is necessary. Watch for any signs of excessive bleeding or blood clots and call your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions.
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Hereditary Blood Disorders Average Cost
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