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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 common, as studies have shown as many as 5% of dogs admitted to veterinary hospitals have low platelet count. 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).

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
  • Increased internal destruction of platelets due to infection
  • Impaired bone marrow production
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Anemia
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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 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 anemia.

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Recovery of Low Platelet Count in Dogs

The prognosis for leukemia and lymphoma vary case to case. However, the prognosis for all other causes of low platelet count is excellent, and your dog has a great chance of regaining and maintaining a healthy platelet count. In any case, it is very important to limit your dog’s chances of a 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 overall 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. An additional $1,500 may be added if surgery is needed. 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 $1,150 (which includes the cost of possible pain medications and/or antibiotics), with an additional $1,500 if surgery is needed. 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 cost $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.

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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

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Doxie-Pin

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Three Months

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Low Platelet, No Appetite, Occasional Vomiting

My dog has been active for the past weeks since we got him but other day he suddenly vomited. It wasn't a lot, just a saliva. We took him to the vet and he was given a medicine for vomiting and they took a cbc. When the results came out it said that he has low platelet. He has been sleeping and just watching outside a lot which is contrary to his playful nature but he is also still active at some point. He also suddenly gets drowsy in the middle of greeting my mom from work.

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I would imagine that you're Veterinary and had an idea as to what was probably going on after they examined your puppy ended blood work. If there were any medications that they recommended, it would probably be a good idea to follow through and give those. If the puppy is not improving, it would be a good idea to give them a follow-up call and let them know that things are not getting better and see what they recommend. I hope that your puppy is okay.

July 31, 2020

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Mixed but mainly Chow, Pit Bull

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6 months

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea And A Very Low Blood Platelet Count

Since getting the rescue puppy 3 months ago Herbie had chronic diarrhea the vet ran a whole blood panel and tested for for ticks and other hidden bugs everything was negative. I switched his food so he wasn't eating any red meat and he was better for a long time. Last Friday after cutting his gums with a stick the blood would not clot and now he has been diagnosed after a lengthy stay having low blood platelets but still not ticks. Is it possible in the space of 6 weeks that his blood count can now be at a critical low point and what could be causing it?

July 17, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry that is happening to your puppy. One of the common causes for a low platelet count is tick borne diseases, and doxycycline is generally a good antibiotic to use to treat for that. Not all tick-borne diseases show up on routine tick titers, so it is possible that he is being affected by that but it is not showing up on the test. He may also have a clotting disorder unrelated to ticks, and that is another series of tests so that your veterinarian may want to do. Sometimes we do routinely treat with vitamin K for these dogs as well, and that maybe something that you want to talk to your veterinarian about. I hope that everything goes well for him and he recovers normally.

July 17, 2020

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Swifty

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Greyhound

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Low Platelet Count, Lethargic

My 8 year old greyhound Swifty started becoming more lethargic and eating less recently. Complicating matters he has been epileptic for the last 3 years. Two weeks ago I noticed alternating stiffness/lameness in his two front legs. I took him to the vet and they did blood work to rule out tick related diseases and also conducted chest x-rays to rule out any obvious cancer. They found his blood platelet count to be low and also that his blood was clotting up very quickly in the tube. We believe he may have a autoimmune issue and have started him on 40 ml of prednisone a day. This has made him panty and incontinent. As a result the vet said we can scale it back to 30ML and that soon we will do some more blood work to make sure he is responding well. Is there anything else I should be doing to help my boy? A raw diet to increase his appetite? CBD, alternative medicine? I also have concerns about the prednisone interacting with his anti-seizure medicine. Any advise?

Sept. 22, 2018

Swifty's Owner

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Killy

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good

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12 Months

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Fair severity

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Wight

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Sept. 2, 2018

Killy's Owner

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Clio

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Northern Inuit

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9 Months

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, Not Eating, Hematomas

My beautiful happy and loving 9 month old Northern Inuit puppy Clio died last month of thrombocytopenia. Her count was down to 10,000. The vet tried doxycycline then steroids. I waned a low dose of chemo which he did not give. The onset seemed to be related to her first heat but I can't find any evidence for this in the medical literature. Her useless treatments ran to $6000.

Aug. 29, 2018

Clio's Owner

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Ginger

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Boston Terrier

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy

My sweet Ginger is lethargic and has a platelet count of 0. The vet thinks it’s cancer as she is a 12 year old Boston. After a week of prednisone and abx, will recheck blood.

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Bear

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Schnoodle

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7 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bruising
Blind
Bleeding Gum

Monday, March 16th we woke to Bear our 7 year old Schnoodle not being able to see. We immediately called our Vet and they had me to bring him in ASAP. They ran several tests and it came back that the tests showed zero blood platelets. Our vet started him on 3 drugs including steroids. We went back the next day, which was yesterday and had another blood test. There was no change in the blood platelets and his white blood cell count dropped in the low end of normal. He is still unable to see, we believe he can see shadows, however if he is standing in front of a wall, he will walk into it, so we are being very cautious. We are going back Friday to have another blood draw to see if there is any improvement. Our vet said she had one case where the owners took their dog to Ohio State and got a blood transfusion, their dog died 3 days later. The vet had another case where she tapered their dog onto the drugs Bear is on and the dog made a full recovery. Our vet is aggressively treating Bear with the 3 medications in hopes platelets will show up Friday. Any advice is greatly appreciated if you have gone through this or seen this in other dogs.

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Dakota

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Yellow Labrador

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10 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have a 10 year old yellow lab who I take to the vet every year for a check-up. This year my vet told me that her platelets came back low. He suggested putting her on steroids. I am not sure what to do. She has NO symptoms at all. No bruising at all, her appetite is fine as are her bowel movements. She is not lethargic. Should I put her on medication without really knowing what is wrong? Should I be looking at a change in diet instead of medicine? Any advise you can give me would be helpful.

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Tonka

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Australian Shepherd

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11 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

My Australian Shepherd, (11 yr), has been testing quite low plates for a few months now. First noticed after he had been on Carprofen, Methocarbam, & Gabapentin for back pain he was experiencing while staying with a daughter. After being back home for a while we noticed he wasn't having any issues, (1 story house), & since the blood platelet count was showing a problem we took him off all meds. Since being off meds his count did come up over the past 6 weeks. 2 of the meds list anemia & decreased white blood count as possible side affects. Wondering if anyone else has had similar issues with meds being the problem or if we should be pushing our vet to look further?

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Bella

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Yellow Labrador

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5 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Anemia
Anemic
An
Anemic, Lethargic
Anemic, Lethargic, Losing Weight
Anemic, Lethargic,Losing Weight/Fur
Anemic,Lethargic,Losing Weight/Fur

Since February we have been so frustrated that our vet can not seem to figure out what is going on with our baby. Arriving back from vacation we find that she didn't eat for a couple of days and vomited all over the house. Tested her for lyme which was negative, put her on doxy and slowing gained her appetite but still not normal with her eating habits. Waited a week or so went back , platelet counts low again. More blood tests her white blood platelet is bouncing back and forth from 40 to 90, now red count is down. Put her on prednisone, started to eat a little more but very low energy and she was very bloated in her belly. Back to the vet not much change in her blood platelets then added amoxicillin. So now she is anemic, energy is low, eats her usual meals everyday. (in the process of weening off prednisone) and she is finished with the amoxicillin. We have had x-rays, ultra sounds and recently a radiograph which have turned up nothing.

Low Platelet Count Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$5,500

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