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Leukocytosis In Dogs

Leukocytosis it's a condition where too many white blood cells are found in a dog’s blood stream. There are many reasons why a dog might be suffering from leukocytosis and as such the underlying cause of the problem needs to be investigated and treated as quickly as possible because a dog's own system might start fighting off an imagery invader which can cause all sorts of complications.

The Causes

As previously mentioned, there are many reasons why a dog might have too many white blood cells in their bloodstreams and this includes because they are suffering from the following conditions:

  • A bacterial infection of some sort
  • Some kind of fungal infection
  • An overload of parasites
  • Neoplasia which refers to abnormal growths developing whether they are benign or cancerous tumours
  • Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia
  • Toxins that accumulate in vital internal organs causing damage to them
  • Kidney disease
  • Stress and anxiety can often result in higher levels of white blood cells in a dog's blood stream
  • Hyperplasia - a condition that negatively impacts a dog's bone marrow

​It is worth noting that younger dogs and more especially females before they have had their first season, tend to have a higher level of white blood cells in their blood streams than older female dogs. Female dogs that go into labour also have much higher levels of white blood cells in their systems which is thought to be due to a change in hormonal balances.

Diagnosing the Problem

A vet would ideally need to have a dog's full medical history and be told of how any first signs of there being something wrong with a dog first presented themselves. The sort of tests a vet would typically recommend carrying out which would help confirm a diagnosis could include the following:

  • A complete blood count
  • A complete biochemistry profile
  • A urinalysis

White Blood Cells Explained

There are various types of white blood cells in the blood stream which are categorised as follows:

  • Neutrophils
  • Eosinophils
  • Basophils
  • Lymphocytes
  • Monocytes

Each of these white blood cells has a specific task to perform, but all of them are produced in a dog's bone marrow. When too many are produced, it can cause all sorts of problems for a dog and it could be a sign they are suffering from a serious health issue that needs to be investigated. A vet would carry out the necessary tests on a dog suspected of suffering from leukocytosis and once a definitive diagnosis is reached, a treatment plan would be set in place with an end goal being to resolve the problem.


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