Von Willebrand disease in dogs is an inherited bleeding disorder in certain pure breeds. The disease causes a clotting disorder that hampers normal blood clotting and causes excessive bleeding. The vWD is distinct and differs from hemophilia in dogs.
Importance of Von Willebrand disease in dogs
Von Willebrand disease is a specific genetic disease of certain breeds of dogs. The disease occurs due to a deficiency of Von Willebrand Factor protein which is present in the circulating blood. The vWF protein is required at the bleeding site to clot the blood and stop hemorrhage. The disease is not hemophilia but rather a congenital disorder in dogs.
Causes of vWD in Dogs
The primary cause of von Willebrand disease is the deficiency of the von Willebrand Factor (vWF) protein. The vWF protein is essential for blood clotting with the platelets.
Dog Breeds Affected with Von Willebrand Diseases
The Doberman Pinscher is the unique dog breed affected by vWD. The other dog breeds are:
- Scottish Terrier.
- Shetland Sheepdog.
- Airedale Terrier.
- Bernese Mountain Dog.
- Golden Retriever.
- German Shepherd.
- Irish Wolfhound.
- Grey Hound.
- Manchester Terrier.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
- German Wirehaired Terrier.
- German Shorthaired Pointer.
- Border Collie.
- English Cocker Spaniel.
- American Cocker Spaniel.
- Dutch Kooiker.
- Bull Terrier.
- Blue Heeler.
Clinical Signs of Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs
Most dogs do not show signs of having vWF protein in their circulation. The most common clinical signs are as follows:
- Spontaneous bleeding from the nose, urinary bladder, or oral mucosa.
- Bleeding from the urinary or reproductive tract.
- Prolonged bleeding after surgery or any injury.
- A female dog may excessively bleed after giving birth.
- Excessive bleeding may lead to anemia, lethargy, and death.
- Removal of temporary teeth or dewclaw operation may cause excessive bleeding.
Diagnosis of vWD in Dogs
The disease can be diagnosed in the following ways:
- Specific clinical signs.
- Breeds of dogs affected by canine Von Willebrand disease.
- Mucosal screening test.
- The exact amount of vWF protein can be diagnosed by laboratory tests.
- Genetic testing for Von Willebrand disease.
Treatment of Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs
The line of treatment for canine vWD is as follows:
- Transfer blood or plasma from a healthy dog having the vWF protein.
- You can transfer platelets from a healthy dog.
- You can use a bandage or wound glue to stop bleeding from minor injuries.
- Never use any drugs that hamper the standard blood clotting system.
Prognosis of Canine Von Willebrand Disease
The disease will not become fully curable due to genetic factors. You can manage immediate emergencies with the treatment I mentioned earlier. The drugs that interfere with standard coagulation mechanisms must be avoided in the affected dogs. The drugs are as follows:
- Certain Antihistaminics.
- Certain antacids.
- Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin, Meloxicam, Carprofen, and deracoxib.
- Phenothiazine tranquilizer.
- Sulfer drugs.
Concluding Remarks on Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs
Canine vWD is an inherited coagulation disorder of specific breeds of dogs. The disease is seen suddenly after an injury that cannot usually stop bleeding. The disease can not be cured fully with treatment. You must select a dog breed after a proper genetic examination. The preventive measures can be effective for a short time only.