Low Platelet Count in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Low Platelet Count in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Low Platelet Count in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Low Platelet Count?

Low platelet count is not more common in any specific breed of dog, nor more likely to be found at any age. It is, however quite commonly found on lab reports, as studies have shown as many as 5% of dogs admitted to veterinary hospitals have low platelet counts. However, some of these results may be spurious.

 Platelets bind together to clot broken or leaking blood vessels and prevent unnecessary blood loss, so a low platelet count compromises your dog’s ability to control bleeding, which can lead to bruising and excessive bleeding.

Thrombocytopenia is the condition of low blood platelets in dogs. Platelets are produced in blood marrow and exist to control or stop bleeding (hemostasis).

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Low Platelet Count Average Cost

From 155 quotes ranging from $500 - $10,000

Average Cost

$5,500

Symptoms of Low Platelet Count in Dogs

Unfortunately, symptoms of low platelet count often don’t manifest until the count has dropped to dangerous levels. If your dog is exhibiting the following symptoms of low platelet count, do not delay in seeking veterinary help.

  • Excessive bruising
  • Severe or prolonged blood loss
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Heart murmur
  • Urinary bleeding
  • Excessive coughing
  • Excessive nasal mucus
  • Sudden collapse
Types

Low platelet count may be primary or secondary, meaning occurring in the absence of or as a result of an underlying disease.

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Causes of Low Platelet Count in Dogs

  • Severe blood loss, or hemorrhage
  • Immune mediated thrombocytopenia
  • Increased internal destruction of platelets due to infection
  • Impaired bone marrow production
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Certain toxicities
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Diagnosis of Low Platelet Count in Dogs

Low platelet count is easily diagnosed with a complete blood count, which checks for abnormalities in red and white blood cell count as well as platelet and hemoglobin. Healthy dogs have a platelet count between 175,000-500,000 platelets per microliter of blood, and anything below is diagnosed as low. The veterinarian will take your dog’s recent history into account, so be sure to report any trauma involving bleeding, which may indicate that the low count is caused by hemorrhaging. A coagulation profile, testing the clotting capability of your dog’s blood, may also be performed.

The veterinarian may need to take a sample of your dog’s bone marrow for analysis, through aspiration or biopsy. In more severe cases, x-rays and ultrasounds may be needed in order to complete diagnosis.

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Treatment of Low Platelet Count in Dogs

In the case of low platelet count being a symptom of a more serious underlying disease, such as leukemia or lymphoma, the underlying problem will be treated. In the case of low platelet count being the primary issue, your dog’s platelet count will be directly addressed, possibly through a platelet transfusion or a blood transfusion, in the case of a concurrent anemia.

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Worried about the cost of Low Platelet Count treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Low Platelet Count in Dogs

The prognosis for cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma vary case to case. Similarly, the prognosis for the other causes of low platelet count is variable and will depend on the underlying disease and the extent of the thrombocytopenia. 

In any case, it is very important to limit your dog’s chances of a trauma, cut or injury that may lead to hemorrhage during recovery. Depending upon the severity of the case, you may be advised by your veterinarian to adjust your dog’s activity or switch to softer foods in order to avoid bleeding gums. You may be required to return to the veterinarian regularly during recovery in order to monitor your dog’s platelet count.

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Cost of Low Platelet Count in Dogs

The overall cost will depend on the diagnosis. If the low platelet count is a result of a leukemia diagnosis, then the cancer will need to be treated. The cost can range from $455 to $4,800 which includes any possible pain medications and/or antibiotics.  If the low platelet count is a result of a lymphoma diagnosis, then it will need to be treated. The cost can range from $734 to $4,150 (which includes the cost of possible pain medications and/or antibiotics).

However, if the low platelet count is the only diagnosis then treatment can be a lot simpler and a lot cheaper. A platelet transfusion (or blood components) usually costs $150 to $420 per unit. However, if the dog requires whole blood, then it can cost $500 on average per unit. A dog can actually go through $1,000 of blood or blood components in a single day. This, of course, depends on the severity of the low platelet count.

Paying to treat a low platelet count out of pocket can be a major financial burden. Fortunately, most pet insurance companies reimburse claims within 3 days, putting 90% of the bill back in your pocket. In the market for pet insurance? Compare leading pet insurance companies to find the right plan for your pet.

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Low Platelet Count Average Cost

From 155 quotes ranging from $500 - $10,000

Average Cost

$5,500

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Low Platelet Count Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Aspin

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9 months

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Blood Urination, Excessive Eyes Discharge, Lethargy

My fog is diagnose with bipecia. Blood parasite anemia and low platelete. Before we go to the vet my dog is peeing urine with blood and losing weight from 10kls down to 8 in just a week. The vet advice to take the medicine idk what med is it but since it is costly i refused. And that week he is getting better even though no med at all. He started eating grass. His appetite back, his energy back like nothing happened. Should i still be worry about my dog? He is taking papi iron for now because thats all i can afford the mean time. I hope you can help me with this

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without knowing what is causing his problem, unfortunately, I don't have any way to know if you still need to be worried. It would be a good idea to call your veterinarian, let them know what you are giving, and see if they feel that he may be past the point of worry.

Oct. 11, 2020

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Pomeranian

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Eleven Years

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8 found helpful

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8 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

I have got my dog's blood tested yesterday. His WBC and RBC count is normal and hemoglobin in just above normal. However his platelet count is extremely low. What might be the reason?How can the count be increased soon? He weighs 15.35 kgs. also his ALT and ALKP is a little high. I've attached his reports below.

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . Sometimes this is caused by an immune disorder, and the treatment that your veterinarian wrote on the paper is the best way to help get his platelet numbers back up. In the meantime, monitor for bruising, or vomiting, and if those things happen, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and help get treatment if it is appropriate.

Oct. 13, 2020

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Low Platelet Count Average Cost

From 155 quotes ranging from $500 - $10,000

Average Cost

$5,500

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