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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Eskipom

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9 weeks

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0 found helpful

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Has Symptoms

Low Blood Count, She Had A Transfusion, Now She Has A Low Platlet Count

9 week old puppy, she weighs 2 lbs— what began as an upper respiratory infection— then led to a low hematocrit level, ICU and a blood transfusion and now she has a low platelet count...the I spent over $2,000 yesterday and to do further work they want another $2,000 today. What is reasonable?

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. The cost of care can vary depending on what the cause is and how responsive your pup is to treatment If your pet is still having problems, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they will be able to examine them, see what might be going on, and get any treatment needed.

Oct. 24, 2020

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Doxie-Pin

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Three Months

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0 found helpful

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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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Low Platelet Count Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$5,500

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