Blood Diseases in Dogs

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Dogs of any age, gender and breed can have blood disorders.
Dogs of any age, gender and breed can have blood disorders. (Image: Dogs face image by adrian stones from Fotolia.com)

Blood diseases in dogs can be scary, frightening and quite dangerous. Most blood diseases can affect any dog, regardless of its breed, gender or age. Fortunately, most are manageable. If you suspect your dog is suffering from a disease of the blood, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Thrombocytopenia

According to Terrific Pets, thrombocytopenia occurs when a dog has a low number of platelets in its blood. This lack of platelets prevents the blood from clotting, which can become a potentially fatal problem if the dog is cut or suffers an internal injury. In addition, if the platelet count gets too low, the dog can begin to bleed internally spontaneously. Thrombocytopenia can be genetic, or it can be caused by disease or illness. Thrombocytopenia is treated with antibiotics and corticosteriods to prevent the immune system from breaking down the existing platelets. While any dog can develop this condition, American cocker spaniels, poodles and Old English sheepdogs are the most commonly afflicted.

Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolytic anemia is a disease in which a dog’s immune system destroys its own red blood cells. Symptoms include pale gums, bloody urine and feces, increased heart rate and jaundice. According to Dog Diseases Symptoms, treatment for hemolytic anemia includes suppressing the immune system by taking steroids and performing blood transfusions.

Hemophilia

Hemophilia prevents a dog’s blood from clotting. Hemophilia A is inherited and seen mostly in male dogs. The blood of dogs with hemophilia A does release platelets, but they do not adhere together to form clots. Hemophilia B is rather rare, more serious and is caused by the lack of the plasma thromboplastin component in the blood-clotting sequence. According to Terrific Pets, this disorder is typically diagnosed when a doctor performs surgery and notices that the dog bleeds more than normal. Dogs with hemophilia can have pale gums, excessive bleeding during teething and nosebleeds. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for hemophilia, states the Canine Inherited Disorders Database. Dogs with severe cases of hemophilia may need to undergo periodic blood transfusions to replace the diminished coagulation factor activity. Doberman pinschers, Scottish terriers and German shepherds are the most susceptible to developing this condition.

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