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Von Willebrand's disease...


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Guest usmcwf83

Does anyone here have a grey that has this blood disorder?  My group was testing the dogs on a regular basis, with the other bloodwork, but Rosie was in the last group to have it done.  When I took her to my vet for a well check up, I asked her to check the paperwork as I thought the numbers didn't look good...she agreed, it appears that Rosie has it or is a carrier.  No mention of problems with her spay and she stops bleeding on blood tests, so I will have to watch this as I know any trauma can trigger it, even if she is only a carrier, I am told.  Anyone have experience with this?

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Canine Von Willebrand's Disease

 

Von Willebrand's disease (VvWD) is an inherited bleeding disorder. It is a complex and difficult disorder to deal with, because genetics, diagnostic abnormalities, pathogenic mechanisms, and sometimes conflicting clinical signs are all involved. The commonality between all vWD is a reduction in the amount or function of von Willebrand factor (vWF), which is manifested through abnormal platelet function and prolonged bleeding time. The vWF factor is a blood protein which binds platelets to blood vessels when they are injured. Absence or deficiency of the factor can, therefore, lead to uncontrolled bleeding episodes. In dogs, the most common clinical signs are spontaneous bleeding from the gums or nose, blood in the urine or gastrointestinal tract, or excessive bleeding at the time of surgery. Clinical signs also include epistaxis, prolonged estrus or postpartum bleeding, hematuria, melena, excessive bleeding after toe-nail cutting and sometimes hemorrhaging into body cavities and organs.

Diagnosis can be performed by measurement of plasma concentrations of vWF. TESTING SHOULD BE DONE AT AN EARLY AGE SINCE THE DISORDER OFTEN DIMINISHES WITH AGE, CAUSING FALSE-NEGATIVE TEST RESULTS IN OLDER ANIMALS. Additional screening tests such as bleeding times or platelet agglutination assays can also be performed. Precautions should be taken before surgery, so it is important to let your veterinarian know of bleeding problems in the past.

 

Different breeds exhibit different variations of the disease, and some individual animals appear to "acquire" vWD. While the bulk of the information available is based upon purebred dogs, the disease is not unknown in mixed breeds. The total number of breeds affected by vWF exceeds 50. The disease also appears in cats, pigs, horses, and humans.

 

Human variants of vWD are broken into three main types which can be used to describe canine vWD. Type I vWD is characterized by a low concentration of normally structured protein. In screening studies done at Cornell over a period of years (1982-1992), percentages of dogs of some breeds tested as carrying the disease, and with concentrations of vWF less than 50% of standard (considered to be at risk) were the following breeds: Corgi, Poodle (std. and min), Scottie, Golden Retriever, Doberman, Sheltie, Akita, Cairn.

 

Other breeds with a known prevalence of vWD in excess of 15% include Basset Hound, Dachshund (mini & std), German Wirehaired Pointer, German Shepherd, Keeshond, Manchester Terrier (std & toy), Miniature Schnauzer, and Rottweiler.

 

Type II vWD is characterized by a low concentration of abnormal vWF. Breeds in which severe type II has been diagnosed include American Cocker Spaniel, German Shorthaired Pointer, and German Wirehaired Pointer.

 

Type III vWD is essentially the complete absence of vWF. Severe type III vWD has been diagnosed in Australian Cattle Dog, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Fox Terrier, German Shepherd, Scottie, and Shetland Sheepdog.

 

In vWD dogs, bleeding can be spontaneous, usually from the mucosa of the mouth, nose, or gastrointestinal tract. Injury that is accompanied by bleeding may continue unabated until a transfusion is administered. Whether or not bleeding from small wounds will stop without treatment is not predictable.

 

Living with one of these affected animals can get quite interesting. Because this disease can be eradicated before breeding (by having your dog tested) it can be eradicated. Unfortunately, experience and hearsay indicate that the AKC is not active in the enforcement of these preventive measures. Apparently the breeders, at least some of them are not either. Testing prior to breeding is a must.

 

For those who wish additional information, an excellent source concerning the disease is Ettinger's Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

 

Sources: Ettinger's Textbook of VIM; Sue Tornquist, DVM, Veterinary Clinical Pathologist, Dept. of Vet. Micro Pathology, Washington State Univ; Gary Mason, Research Manager, Interleaf, Inc. Waltham, MA.

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Canine Von Willebrand's disease

 

 

Von Willebrand’s isn’t so much a disease as a condition. Of all the inherited bleeding disorders in animals (and humans) it is the most common. The defect isn’t autosomal (sex linked) so both males and females can suffer from the “disease.” It must be remembered that just because a dog doesn’t show symptoms of von Willebrand’s, it doesn’t mean it can’t be a carrier.

 

 

Von Willebrand’s was discovered in humans and called a “disease” in the 1920s by a Finnish doctor coincidentally named, von Willebrand. After further research, he was able to figure out the illness was actually linked to a missing factor in the blood’s clotting ability.

 

 

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Modern research has found von Willebrand’s doesn’t lower the number of platelets (the factor in the blood that causes clotting) but changes the platelet’s actual make up. Researchers have discovered there are twelve “factors” that go into the platelet’s make up and allows them to work properly. They have set up a “Cascading Clotting Tree” to mark and show the different factors. Von Willebrand’s affects Factor 8 on this tree.

 

 

There is a large, multimeric glycoprotein that is labeled as vWF. This glycoprotein circulates in the plasma and is required for platelet adhesion. When there is a defect in the vWF gene, there is an insufficient synthesis of the vWF glycoprotein. This insufficiency causes the platelets to fail in their adhesion or “sticking together.” Like water coming through a #### with a hole in it, the platelet “leaks” and bleeding continues.

 

 

Von Willebrand’s seldom happens in cats but it is very common in various breeds of dogs. In all, some sixty different purebred breeds have been commonly linked to von Willebrand’s with the Doberman Pinscher having the highest incidence. Clinical trials conducted on 15,000 Dobermans showed seventy percent of them were carriers of the disease. Of these 15,000 Dobermans, the majority of them didn’t show clinical signs. Another study estimated 68%-73% of Dobermans had the disease

 

 

Although Dobermans are the most commonly affected by von Willebrand’s Disease, they usually have the milder forms. It is also one reason Dobermans have such a lower survival rate of diseases such as Parvovirus, which attacks the gastro-intestinal tract and causes bleeding.

 

 

Other breeds that have a high incidence of von Willebrand’s disease are Shetland sheepdogs, Scottish terriers, Airedale terriers, Bassett hounds, Dachshunds, German shepherds, Keeshonds, Corgies, Rottweilers, Poodles, Schnauzers and Golden retrievers.

 

 

Often von Willebrand’s will show no clinical signs until the dog begins bleeding for some reason. This reason could be something as simple as a nail trim, spay or neuter or a heat cycle in females or even teething in a puppy. While some dogs never show clinical signs of the disease, others may have nosebleeds or vaginal or penile bleeding. Bleeding from the urinary tract, gums or other mucous membranes and hemorrhaging under the skin are all common symptoms of von Willebrand’s Disease. Females with von Willebrand’s may experience excessive bleeding after whelping (giving birth).

 

 

There are three classifications of von Willebrand’s disease:

 

 

Type I – low vWF concentration. This is the most common of types and is typical of Dobermans, Airedales and at least one-third of Shelties. The clinical symptoms may vary in severity.

 

 

Type II –Uncommon form of von Willebrand’s that is attributed to German Shorthaired Pointers.

 

 

Type III – The most severe of types. It has the highest deficiency of vWF and is a typical defect in Scotties, Chesapeake Bay retrievers and the remaining two-thirds of affected Shelties.

 

 

Studies have shown hyperthyroidism may raise the risk of bleeding complications in animals that have von Willebrand’s Disease.

 

 

To diagnose von Willebrand’s Disease a veterinarian will often conduct a CBC (complete blood count), urinalysis, blood clotting time or a “buccal mucosal” screening time. The buccal mucosal bleeding time uses a test strip that is tied around the maxilla (upper jaw) that then causes engorgement in the folded-back area. Normal blood clotting time is somewhere between 1.5 to 2.6 minutes.

 

 

It is interesting to note many Dobermans and other high risk breeds may go through routine ear trims, tail docks, early spays or neuters and show no signs of von Willebrand’s then at a much later time in their life show the classic symptoms.

 

 

There is no cure for von Willebrand’s but there are some precautions an owner can take to reduce the risks to their dog. Avoid drugs that are known to inhibit platelet functions. Aspirin is a prime example of one of these drugs. Others include antihistamines, sulfa- or penicillin based antibiotics, Ibuprofen, the tranquilizer phenothiazine, heparin and theophylline.

 

 

Veterinarians have found that thyroid supplementation can lower the tendency in some dogs to bleed while raising the level of vWF concentration.

 

 

There is also a drug called DDAVP that can also increase the vWF protein concentration although the response to the drug is variable. It has been shown to raise the concentration in dogs that do not have von Willebrand’s disease. The use in these dogs may not be apparent until it is realized it takes a dog to donate blood for a transfusion to another dog. In case of an emergency or severe trauma, this donated blood is often the only thing that can save the dog’s life.

 

 

For owners of breeds that are more prone to having von Willebrand’s disease, there is a specialized test that can determine the exact amount of the von Willebrand protein that is present in the blood. If the test comes back positive for the disease, it won’t necessary help the dog on a daily basis but will come in handy to know if the dog ever requires emergency treatment or undergoes any type of surgery.

 

 

Von Willebrand’s disease isn’t an automatic death sentence to dogs. Many of the dogs that have the condition will live normal lives with no complications. For those that do show clinical signs, there are always options for the owner to guarantee the best quality of life the pet can have.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Tenna Perry

 

 

Title: Canine Von Willebrand's disease

Description: Von Willebrands Disease is the most common of bleeding disorders in dogs and humans. Symptoms diagnosis and general information of the condition

 

Copyright 2001 by PageWise, Inc.

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I don't think it has changed--the VWD ratings are based on Dodd's numbers.  The problem with that is there is only one factor considered instead of 3 maybe 4 according to a genetics professor at Michigan University.

 

I have had Dobes with a 13 rating and no bleeding problems and know people with Dobes with a -0- rating and no bleeding problems.  I have heard of Dobes with a rating much higher than 13 that bled to death.  

 

I wouldn't worry about it and wonder why the group is doing the testing?

 

Diane

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Guest usmcwf83

Thanks, Diane....my first grey came from this group in '93 and they did not do this then.  When I got Rosie in Aug, they said they had had dogs show up with this so they included it with the other bloodwork.  I am not sure how the numbers go that you mentioned, but on the paperwork...I see this

vWF:Ag (%) is 33.  Now, that looks like she is in the abnormal or carrier range and my vet wanted to be sure it is the right dog as she thinks so too.  She also has T4 baseline of 0.55 ug/dl.  With a range of 1.5-3.0, she is low.  Vet says VWD and low thyroid sometimes show up together.  I have had hypothyroid dogs and she is not symptomatic at all in any way.  Anyway, I appreciate the input.....the test is expensive and this one was supposedly done just at end of July.  I may just test her again.

BTW, are you a vet tech?  I worked for a vet for about 2 yrs but am not a cert tech.  Just did front office to everything in back!  He was very self sufficient and did not rely on techs a lot like some do.  I loved the job, though.

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No, not a vet tech:)

 

There might be more than two now, but there used to be two places that could do the VWD test.  If you do get it done again, I would send to the other lab.  I did this with Chrissy to confirm test.  She was thyroid normal.  If you do thyroid again I would do a TSH (although not as accurate in dogs as humans) and the equilibrium dialysis (I think, I can never remember) test which is the most accurate.

 

I'll brush up on the VWD:)  Left that hassel behind years ago.

 

Normally if the dog makes it past puppy years and surgeries they will be ok.  I never worried about Chrissy because I knew she was not a bleeder even though her number was low.  However, I didn't breed her either.  A very big disappointment--she was beautiful.  Someday I'll get a picture up of her.

 

Diane

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This was one of the things that my Greyhound was tested for, but she was diagnosed with Auto-immune  Thrombocytopenia.  She survived it the first time, but I lost her nine years later, at age 13, when she developed it again.  I hope your girl lives happily without this ever becoming an issue.        

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I have been watching to see if she bleeds too much under normal conditions, but she's only been here since Aug 3 and hasn't gotten any boo-boos yet!  I have done her nails, but haven't quicked her, either!  So, I watched intently as I had another heartworm test done...but nothing unusual.  Normal bleeding and stopped after pressure for minute or so.  I got a price of $85 for a VWD test.  But I have another vet that I am going to ask, also.  I will be watching this.  But, if she was a carrier, she wouldn't show bleeding probs until it was a bigger thing than minor scrapes, would she?

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Wow,

GHLady,

My Raven just developed Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia two weeks ago, we almost lost her to such a low platelet count and bleeding out. She has been on chemotherapy drugs, prednisone and tagament, for two weeks now, and we are waiting to hear the results from her blood tests we had done on Tuesday night. Hopefully her platelets have begun to regenerate. She sure did scare the heck out of us. I am told by my vet that she may have it flare up again, but for now, she is getting better.

 

Just thought it was strange to read that your grey had the same thing.

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Just because they are a carrier does not mean they are a bleeder.  Remember, there are more factors involved than what this test shows.  Chrissy lived to age 8 1/2 (past average age for a Dobe) and never had a problem.  I never treated her any differently than the Dobes whose ratings were in the 90s.

 

As I said, I'll brush up :)

 

Diane

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