A bleeding disorder in your dog results in the blood either not clotting properly or bleeding excessively after minor cuts and bruises. There can be several reasons for your dogs bleeding disorder.
The first problem can be thrombocytopenia where there are not enough blood platelets in the bloodstream, resulting in the inability to clot or a tear in the blood vessel wall, causing oozing of the blood excessively.
Thrombocytopathy is the result of poor functioning platelets, as they are not sticky enough to stick to each other and the blood vessel walls. There may also be a disorder involving the coagulation factor of the liquid part of the blood known as the plasma.
If your dog has evidence of a bleeding disorder, you may notice such signs as excessive bleeding without cause, bruising without any type of trauma, tiny pin-point red spots on the gums or the white of the eyes (a result of Vasculitis), pale gums and blood in the urine. Any sins of a bleeding disorder warrant a call to your veterinarian immediately.
Your vet will need to perform a complete medical examination with necessary medical history provided by you. Tests may involve a complete blood count which can indicate number of platelets, the cells that allow the blood to clot, and number of blood cells left due amount of blood loss. A buccal mucosal bleeding time may be performed to evaluate platelet function. A small cut is made on the gums, and the time required for a clot to form is measured. Blood clotting can also be measured by other tests such as activated coagulation time (ACT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), one stage prothrombin time (OSPT). In each of these tests, a small amount of blood is drawn into a small tube and is artificially activated to measure clotting time. A bone marrow biopsy may also be performed.
Most often, treatment for a bleeding disorder involves treatment of the underlying disorder. If your dog has been tested to be suffering from Von Willebrand’s disease, a condition with a deficiency in the substance that helps the platelets stick together, your dog may be treated with a plasma transfusion. A dog suffering from the infectious causes of thrombocytopenia may need a treatment of antibiotics. Because of these infectious causes and immune mediated causes as well, treatment may require corticosteroids to suppress the immune system along with the antibiotics. Your vet will prescribe the right treatment for your dogs’ particular needs. The condition may be just a matter of needing some blood transfusions of red blood cells or whole blood cells plus plasma.
Other factors are always considered as well such as if your dog ingested something toxic, requiring a supplement of Vitamin K along with a transfusion. A bleeding disorder needs immediate medical attention and treatment.
At home care requires careful observation at all times. You may need to keep your dog in a confined area to protect him/her and minimize any chances of trauma or injury. Avoid overexertion and rambunctious playtime. Keep up with any recommended medications prescribed by your veterinarian and follow-up vet visits to be sure your dog is on the right road to recovery from these bleeding disorders.