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Hereditary Thrombopathia in Dogs
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Hereditary Thrombopathia in Dogs

Dogs
Health & Safety

Hereditary thrombopathia is a genetic disorder that causes abnormal bleeding in affected dogs. Studies have established it to be an autosomal recessive gene that's responsible for dogs developing the condition. In short, a dog would need to inherit one of the damaging genes from each parent to inherit thrombopathia. With this said, if a dog only carries one copy of the mutated gene, they would never show any signs of having the disorder, but they would pass it on to their offspring. As such any dog that's been diagnosed as suffering from hereditary thrombopathia should never be used for breeding purposes.

Breeds Most at Risk

Research has shown that certain breeds appear to be more predisposed to inheriting the disorder than others and this includes the following:

  • Basset Hound
  • Finnish Spitz

The Causes

As previously mentioned, the condition is known to be an autosomal recessive disorder that negatively impacts a dog's platelet function. In short, the condition prevents a dog's blood clotting as it should. The defect stops all-important platelets from doing their job with the result being excessively bleeding even if a dog only suffers a minor injury. As such, a minor wound can quickly turn into a life-threatening health issue.

Symptoms Associated with the Disorder

The symptoms of thrombopathia are very like those associated with other blood clotting issues which can make it more of a challenge to diagnose. With this in mind the symptoms most commonly seen in affected dogs could include the following:

  • Skin is easily bruised
  • Bleeding gums
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Haematomas that develop on a dog's ears
  • Excessive prolonged bleeding even with minor wounds and injuries
  • Excessive bleeding when seasoning (females)
  • A lot of bleeding when baby teeth drop out
  • Excessive bleeding during any type of invasive surgery
  • Blood in faeces
  • Blood in urine

Diagnosing the Condition

As previously mentioned, diagnosing canine thrombopathia can prove challenging because dogs with the condition typically have normal blood cell counts and their clotting factor levels are normal too. As such, the only real way a vet can come to a definitive diagnosis is by carrying out the following tests:

  • Platelet function tests

Any dog suspected of suffering from the condition needs to be referred to a specialist for these tests to be carried out.

Treatment Options

Unfortunately, there is no cure for dogs suffering from canine thrombopathia, but the good news is that it is possible to manage the condition with the correct medication. Dogs known to suffer from the disorder need to be carefully monitored and kept away from any situation where they might get injured. Should they injure themselves and bleeding occurs, a dog would need to be treated by a vet sooner rather than later to prevent a minor wound turning into something a lot more serious. Should a dog need any sort of invasive surgery, the procedure needs to be carefully monitored and dogs would need to be given blood transfusions to ensure their condition remains stable.

Prevention

Any dog known to suffer from canine thrombopathia should be spayed or neutered so they cannot be used for breeding purposes which is the only real way of reducing the risk of a dog developing the disorder by inheriting the condition from their parents.

Testing for Canine Thrombopathia

Fortunately, dogs can be tested for canine thrombopathia with the results being as follows:

  • Clear - Genotype N/N (Homozygous normal): this establishes that a dog is not a carrier of the mutated gene and as such, they would not develop the condition and can be used for breeding purposes
  • Carrier - N/Thrombopathia (Heterozygous) - this establishes that a dog carries a copy of the mutated gene and a copy of a normal gene. A dog would never develop the condition, but would pass it on to puppies with the estimate being that at least 25% of offspring would inherit Thrombopathia if a carrier is bred to another carrier.
  • Affected - Genotype: Thrombopathia/Thrombopathia (Homozygous mutant) - this establishes that a dog carries two copies of mutated gene and that they will therefore, pass the condition on to their offspring. Dogs with two copies of the defective gene should be spayed or neutered to prevent them from being used for breeding purposes.
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