Low White Blood Cell Count Average Cost

From 48 quotes ranging from $500 - 8,500

Average Cost

$2,000

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What is Low White Blood Cell Count?

As part of the body’s immune system, white blood cells provide defense against disease. A drop in the total number of circulating white blood cells, called leukopenia, puts the dog at a higher risk of infection. As well as the overall count, blood tests will measure the number of each particular type of cell. Neutrophils are the most numerous white blood cell in dogs. They are the first antibodies to respond to an infection, travelling quickly to the site and binding to the foreign bacteria or virus that is causing the problem. Neutrophils are short-lived cells, generated in large numbers by the bone marrow. A low number of neutrophils, called neutropenia, is the most common reason for leukopenia in dogs. Many acute or long-lasting infections can cause neutrophil numbers to drop because the cells are destroyed faster than the bone marrow is able to compensate. Autoimmune responses, genetic disorders found in some breeds, cancer, and drug toxicity can also cause neutropenia. With disorders that affect the bone marrow, the condition may be combined with low levels or red blood cells and platelets as well, since the stem cells in the bone marrow may be unable to generate any type of blood cell. While leukopenia is not a definitive diagnosis, analyzing the numbers and different types of blood cells that are present will help the veterinarian identify your dog’s disease.

A drop in the total number of circulating white blood cells, called leukopenia, makes a dog more susceptible to any type of infection. Neutropenia, low numbers of the white blood cells called neutrophils, is the most common type of leukopenia in dogs. This disorder is usually the result of an underlying cause, such as infection, cancer, or a genetic abnormality.

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Symptoms of Low White Blood Cell Count in Dogs

The most common sign of a low white blood cell count in dogs is an inability to fight off infections. Take your dog to the veterinarian if you notice signs of persistent or recurring infection.

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Bleeding
  • Pale coat and nose

Depending on the primary cause, neutropenia could be present with many different types of symptoms.

Types

Blood test results can often show reduced numbers among different types of white blood cells.

  • Leukopenia – drop in the total number of white blood cells, usually due to neutropenia
  • Neutropenia – low numbers of neutrophils associated with infection, autoimmune response and genetic disorders
  • Pancytopenia – an extreme form of neutropenia with a simultaneous reduction in red blood cells and platelets; often associated with bone marrow dysfunction or failure
  • Lymphopenia – low numbers of lymphocytes often associated a stress response that causes high levels of cortisol; doesn’t usually cause leukopenia unless neutropenia is also present
  • Eosinopenia –also indicates a stress response

Causes of Low White Blood Cell Count in Dogs

Many disorders can cause white blood cell numbers to drop in dogs.

Prolonged or overwhelming infection

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Infectious hepatitis
  • Coronavirus

Cancers of the bone marrow

Sepsis

Drugs

  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Some antibiotics (trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole)
  • Dipyrone (fever medication)
  • Estrogen replacement therapy

Autoimmune diseases

Ehrlichia (infection by a tick-borne parasite)

Genetic disorders

  • Grey collies (cyclic hematopoiesis or canine cyclic neutropenia)
  • Giant Schnauzers (malabsorption of vitamin B)

Diagnosis of Low White Blood Cell Count in Dogs

White blood cell counts in dogs are measured using a leukogram. In most cases, this will be part of a complete blood cell count (CBC) that also measures red blood cells and platelets. Some abnormal leukogram results include leukopenia and neutropenia. 

An Inflammatory Response or left shift means there are high numbers of immature neutrophils caused by increased bone marrow production. If this corresponds with neutropenia, it is called a degenerative left shift. It suggests either a very recent infection, or a severe systemic disease that is destroying neutrophils faster than bone marrow generation. Your dog’s other symptoms and the degree of neutropenia may further help to indicate the cause. Very low neutrophil numbers are usually associated with canine parvovirus, while other infections will only have mildly depleted levels. Few or mild symptoms of infection could indicate an autoimmune disorder that is destroying neutrophils in the blood.

Neutropenia can occur cyclically, as with the genetic disease of gray collies. This diagnosis will depend on your dog’s breed and age, since most collies with this condition do not survive past six months. Neutrophil numbers drop in approximately 12 day cycles.

If there are few immature cells present, this could indicate a problem with the bone marrow, such as cancer, an auto-immune disorder that affects neutrophil stem cells, or drug toxicity. Pancytopenia, a decrease in all types of blood cells, will usually develop as the disease progresses, so this may show up on a CBC. Ehrlichia, a parasite infection passed through ticks, can present similar symptoms so the veterinarian will test for this as well.

Other information about your dog can help the veterinarian make an accurate diagnosis, including age and breed, as well as past and present medications. Vaccinations and potential exposure to infection are also relevant. The veterinarian will perform a full physical examination and take urine and possibly feces samples to thoroughly evaluate your dog’s health.

Treatment of Low White Blood Cell Count in Dogs

Treatment will depend on the cause of neutropenia. Dogs with bacterial infections will be given antibiotics. This will help to support the immune system which is weakened with any type of leukopenia, whether bacterial infection is the primary cause or not. Fluids, electrolytes, and other supportive treatment may be necessary for dogs with very severe infections.

Dogs with immune-mediated neutropenia will respond to immune suppressants, so prednisone or another steroid may be given if the veterinarian does not believe that infection is the primary cause. Immune suppressants should not be given to dogs with severe infections as this will limit the body’s natural disease fighting response.

Cancerous conditions will be treated with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, this treatment will often further deplete your dog’s white blood cell count. Antibiotics will likely be given at the same time to support your dog’s immune system.

Gray Collies with inherited neutropenia will rarely survive into adulthood as there is no treatment except to manage bacterial infection as much as possible. A bone marrow transplant could cure the condition, but this is a costly and risky procedure that is rarely done in dogs.

If the problem is due to another drug, the veterinarian will try to eliminate this drug or reduce the dosage.

Recovery of Low White Blood Cell Count in Dogs

Leukopenia can be the sign of many serious conditions that require lifelong management. Blood cancers may respond to chemotherapy, but full recovery is unlikely. Many other potential causes could require long-term medication and your dog will need to be monitored carefully for side effects or toxicity. If infection is the primary cause, your dog may make a full recovery, as long as he survives the initial disease. The prognosis will depend on the diagnosis of a veterinarian.

Low White Blood Cell Count Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Tosha
Dachshund
11 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Chewing
Licking

We have an 11 year old Dachshund mix named Tosha. She started licking and chewing the tops of all of her paws about 2 months ago. Never done this before. We tried at home treatment (anti-anxiety chewies, bitter spray,etc.) and took her to our vet about 2 weeks ago. They gave her antibiotics for the infection. Her chewing/licking has decreased tremendously and her fur is starting to grow back. However, they did a bloodwork panel while we were there and her WBC count was extremely low. Her kidney level was slightly high also (normal range caps at 14 and she came in at 15). The vet is obviously concerned but said it may be the result of whatever infection has her licking her paws. We are going to retest blood. We also switched her food. She is eating/drinking normally and has no bowel/urine issues. Disposition is the same as well. Just looking for thoughts. Of course I hear low WBC and go straight to the worst case scenario.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
There are a few different causes for low white blood cell counts and will also depend on which white blood cells are low; some infections, autoimmune disease, cancer, some medicines, toxicity among other causes. I understand you jumping to the worst case scenario, but until further testing is done I cannot give you any concrete advice on possible causes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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j
Goldendoodle
18 Months
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

low white blood count with left shift

18 month old goldendoodle, very healthy, had all shots, etc. Dog daycare reported some with kennel cough. Dog had occasional hack cough and vomited, then next morning was lethargic and had "snots" from nose and took to regular vet. He received antibiotic shot and left with course of antibiotics. 12 hours later in ER with listless dog, xrays and CBC indicate super low WBC with left shift, low blood sugar, 104.9 fever, sepsis and eyes looks like pin heads, so central nervous system attacked by sepsis. The dog died. ER Vet sent away swabs to see if Influenza might have started the chain of events so we will know that. Would necropsy (after freezing 2 days, it was friday night) help determine what happened? What attacked the White blood cells?

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
A necropsy may be valuable, but if blood tests and bone marrow aspirates are taken the cells may have been damaged by the freezing process; freezing a body slowly by placing it in a freezer causes a slow freeze which can damage cells which is why many specimens which are frozen (think sperm) are done using liquid nitrogen because it is faster. Examination of the blood cells under a microscope may indicate a cause as inclusion bodies and other pathologies may be indicative of some infectious diseases. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Anna
Siberian Husky
8
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Medication Used

Doxycycline

Not quite two weeks ago my husky was lethargic, had an occasional cough, and vomited a little. She had a fever of 105 and her white blood cell count was very low (I don't recall the numbers). The initial thought was Leukemia, but she later tested positive for the Ehrlichia antibodies. She was prescribed Metronixazole - 500 mgs per day for a week - and Doxycycline - 300 mg a day for three weeks. After about three days of the antibotics, she was feeling better and her white blood cell count improved. Now, one week since the last test, she seems to be back to her old self but her white blood cell count actually got a bit lower (though still not as bad as initially). Her vet doesn't believe her white blood cell count would have improved in the first place without chemotherapy if she had Leukemia, but she was also expecting continued improvement if it was Ehrlichiosis. Therefore, I'm just hoping you could give some insight as to the recovery in white blood cell counts for a dog with Ehrlichiosis.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations
Low blood cell counts (including white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets) are not uncommon in cases of ehrlichiosis, response to treatment may take some time and treatment is usually for six weeks or more. If your Veterinarian is suspecting leukemia, I would recommend that they perform cytology of the blood, aspirate of the bone marrow (if required) and x-ray of the thorax and abdomen (to rule out tumours). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Greta
Papillon
4 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Difficulty eating
Head favoring turning to the right.
Walking in a circle to the right
Poor balance
Seizures,
Lethargy

Medication Used

Zonisamide

Our Papillion is 4 years old. She has a low WBC, decreased appetite, not drinking much. She has been being treated for seizures for the last two months. She's on Zonisamide and has Valium for break through seizures. This morning, she had a period where she was whimpering and her left front leg would just collapse and she would drop to her left shoulder when you put her down. Now, once she gets her balance, she is able to walk. She also has been walking in circles to the right and her head favors turning to the right. Although that has lessened.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations

Leukopenia (low white blood cell counts) are a rare side effect of zonisamide use in humans (see page 20 of the pdf link below under ‘Hematologic and Lymphatic’); I couldn’t find any in depth data about the use in dogs. Other causes of leukopenia are viral infection, some cancers, hereditary disorders, autoimmune diseases among other causes. With the new symptom of the left leg, it would be worth visiting your Veterinarian for another examination to make sure there are no other neurological problems with Greta. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/020789s021lbl.pdf

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Fin
Chow chow
3 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Skin Swelling
Hair Loss
Skin Crust

My puppy (12 weeks) recently suffered from cocidia and extreme dehyrdation and was in the vet recovering for 2 weeks. Yesterday I noticed a few raised areas on his skin (one on his back, one on his leg, and one near his neck). These areas are circular and feel a little mushy to the touch and I was told that they will eventually "fall off" like dead skin- they are red like raw skin in the middle and have a ring around them. The way it was explained to me was that his immune system was so low while at the vet dealing with the before mentioned ailments that his white blood cell count dropped and the spots on him are a result of that and will just take time to heal. They did give him a shot of antibiotics to be on the safe side. Have you seen anything similar to this? I am having trouble finding any relevant information. He is eating and acting normal and is a chow-chow lab mix.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations

There are numerous different conditions which may affect the skin, especially in immunocompromised animals. There are different types of skin lesions which may start small and as they grow the skin in the middle may become a blister or may dry out. As I haven’t seen the lesion or felt it, I cannot comment on it. But a wait and see approach can be taken after the antibiotic shot to see if there is some improvement; you should see an improvement within a week. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

How can I email this to my son?

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Maya
Australian Shepherd
6 Years
Critical condition
0 found helpful
Critical condition

Has Symptoms

Fever

Good morning,
I just came across your website after days of searching for answers .
Our Australian Shepherd Maya- just shy of 6 years old died right in front of us.
About 2 weeks ago she had a fever and was lethargic. Did not eat... even when I tried to hand feed her. She did get up to drink and seemed to be drinking more than usual.
Couple days later we took her to the vet. She had blood work. Everything seemed fine, just her white blood cell count was a bit up but not alarming.
We got antibiotics

she seemed to be doing better.
This past Saturday she went out to pee, came back in, laid down and started gasping for air. Her tongue turned blue and she just starred and was not responsive.

She started to lose her bowels.

We scooped her up and rushed her to the ER vet. We called and they knew we were on our way.
At this point 10 went by.
As soon as we got there, they got her on a gurney and rushed her her to the back.
5 min later the doctor comes to us and tells us she is gone.

We asked every possible question. Was it her heart? Was it a seizure? Was it a stroke? Was she poisoned?

Not a single answer. They said they have no idea what happened.
We asked them to draw more blood to maybe see if there was something they missed or a toxin. They said they don't believe it will show anything and doesn't change the fact that she is gone.
We think they wanted to avoid a liability.

I am hoping that you can assist
At least guid me in the right direction. She was a pure bread Aussie.

Thank you

Marina Bohrer

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations

Condolences on your loss, it is normal to look for answers when a loved one passes away unexpectedly. Leukopenia (low white blood cell count) can be caused by a few different causes: initial phase of an infection, autoimmune disorders, bone marrow disorders, side effects of medication or cancer. It is possible that Maya suffered from a pulmonary thromboembolism which would explain the gasping for air and cyanosis; pulmonary thromboembolism may occur in cases of bacterial infection, heartworms, hormonal disorders, conditions of the blood vessels, immune-mediated diseases and clotting disorders. Without a necropsy (post mortem) it isn’t possible to determine the cause of death; I know that this is a traumatic time for you and your family, but I would urge you to think more about the years you spent together rather than the circumstances of her death. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Snowball
Shih Tzu
12 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Fever
Lethargic

Epidermotropic lymphoma treated with chemotherapy pills dosage 25mg. First round went very well. Second dosage after couple days fever, lethargic, not eating. Rushed to emergency clinic determined high fever and low white blood cell count. Put on IV, steroids and drug for pain. At the clinic past couple nights and there for a couple more. Fever is gone, back to eating normal, clinically she's fine. Concern low white blood cell count no change.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations

There are many chemotherapy drugs; a common drug to be used in cases of epidermotropic lymphoma is lomustine. Lomustine, like all drugs, has side effects during and for a period after administration; one of the side effects is leucopenia (low white blood cell count) with around 40% of dogs still showing low levels of white blood cells seven days after the end of treatment. Other side effects of this drug are anaemia, low blood platelets, liver damage, kidney damage and lung damage as well as the general signs of vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite during treatment. I would expect the levels of white blood cells in increase with time, regular monitoring will help chart the recovery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Full Recovery
Treatment Cost: $3,000.00
She Stayed at the emergency clinic for 5 nights where she was on IV. I believe she was also given Clavamox, Baytrill, Gabapentin and Perdisone. She has since been discharged. She's eating, no longer has a fever, her WBC is back to normal. She is going for a check up tomorrow to determine if she will be able to continue chemo. I forgot to mention that she was taking Lomustine. Note she's recovered from the effect of the chemo. We were also provided with the above pills for to take at home.

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Cooper
Maltese
4 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Fever

Medication Used

Prednisone

My 4 year old Maltese mix has been diagnosed with immune mediated neutropenia after $2500 in doctors and tests. After many CBC's he has settled in at 6-9000 white cells. I have been told that the rabies vaccine is the only vaccine he will be able to take now.. I am very concerned about taking him to the Veterinarian's kennel when I need to go on a trip. What risks do you see in kenneling him? He is on Prednisone 5 mg every other day. He no longer has signs of any infection and no fever.

Health Expert
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1711 Recommendations

The biggest risk in dogs with Immune-mediated Neutropenia is Parvovirus (as well as Kennel Cough and others); during kennelling dogs are kept in close proximity, sometimes with poor ventilation leading to spread of infectious diseases. Your Veterinarian should have isolation kennels for infected animals and animals with suppressed immune systems to prevent cross infection. I would recommend speaking with your Veterinarian regarding the facilities that they offer for dogs with suppressed immune systems during kennelling and also speak to other kennel providers in your area to compare. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Yikes..neutrophils aren't antibodies! The information here is not correct!

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Champ
Boston Terrier
8 Years
Critical
Has Symptoms
Blood In Urine
Continued of above champ was not able to be saved. I took him to vmy vet them UF vet emergency both places ran blood work. He had no white count. Creatine wouldn't register and BUN thru the roof. Can someone please explain no one can tell me why I lost my dog or why or how he got septic in just a day with no signs or symptoms
Champ
Boston Terrier
8 Years
Critical
Has Symptoms
Diarrhea
Pain
Painful Urination
Blood In Urine
Vomiting
There were no symptoms prior to the day. Completely normal acting.. playing... woke me up Thurs around 6am vomiting bile/Flem. Progressed thru the day to having some accidents in the house. Peeing couple loose stools. Vets office was closed. So I couldn't take him in. I suspected kidney stone when around 3rd accident there was just a lil blood in urine. But by night time my dog was not throwing up anymore that had passed just frequent urination.. that became more bloody and foul smelling. All in one day. All days prior he was completely normal .. showing no signs.. played normal.. ate normal.. drinking water.. I don't understand.