"Myelodysplastic Syndromes in Dogs
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"Myelodysplastic Syndromes in Dogs

Dogs
Health & Safety

Myelodysplastic syndromes in dogs describes several disorders that can affect their stem cells namely their red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The condition sees what are referred to as haemtopoietic stem cells maturing abnormally and dogs can be born with condition because it is congenital although they can also acquire a myelodysplastic syndrome as a secondary problem to another underlying health issue.

Symptoms Associated with Myelodysplastic Syndromes

When dogs develop a myelodysplastic syndrome, there are certain signs to watch out for which shows there is something very wrong with them. The symptoms associated with the condition typically include the following:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums and other mucous membranes
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Loss of weight
  • Persistent, recurrent infections
  • An enlarged spleen
  • An enlarged liver

The Causes

There are several reasons why a dog might suffer from a myeloplastic syndrome which could include the following:

  • Infection
  • A condition known as bone marrow dysplasia
  • Immune mediated neutropenia - which is as a result of having been given steroid treatments
  • A reaction to medication and drugs

With this said, the secondary health issues that are often associated with the condition typically includes the following:

  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia
  • Immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia
  • Pyometra which usually occurs when dogs are given estrogen
  • Polycythemia vera
  • Thrombopathia

Diagnosing the Problem

A vet would ideally need to have a dog's full medical history and be told how the onset of any symptoms first presented themselves. A dog suspected of suffering from a myeloplastic syndrome would be thoroughly examined and the vet would typically recommend carrying out the following tests which help confirm a diagnosis:

  • A complete blood count
  • A full biochemistry blood profile
  • A urinalysis
  • A bone marrow sample to help establish any cell abnormalities

Treatment Options

A vet would need to identify the underlying cause of the problem before they would be able to recommend a treatment option. Sadly, when dogs suffering from a myelopastic syndrome they often develop serious complications in the form of infections and therefore need intensive, supportive care. As such, dogs usually need to be hospitalised so their condition can be closely monitored. A lot of dogs need to be given blood transfusions because they develop anaemia and experience quite severe haemorrhaging. They also need to be put on a course of antibiotics to stabilise their white blood cell levels.

Living with a Dogs with Myelodysplatic Syndrome

Once a dog has been diagnosed and treated, they would need to be taken for regular check-ups so the vet can assess how they are responding to any treatment that has been set in place. However, the prognosis for dogs that develop a myelodysplatic syndrome is usually quite poor even when they have been treated in the early stages of the disorder. As such, supportive care is all-important with dogs needing to be kept as stable as possible with the end goal being to reduce the risk of aggravating any of the symptoms associated with myelodysplatic syndromes.

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