Von Willebrand disease(VWD) is a common bleeding disorder in dogs that can cause a variety of health problems. The disease is caused by a deficiency of a protein called von Willebrand factor, which is important for blood clotting. Dogs with von Willebrand disease may bleed from the nose, gums, or other body parts. They may also have blood in their stool, or they may bruise easily.
Despite its prevalence, von Willebrand disease is often misunderstood. Many people believe that the disease is only a problem for purebred dogs, but this is not the case. Von Willebrand disease can affect any dog, regardless of breed. The disease is also not contagious, so it cannot be spread from dog to dog.
If your dog has VWD, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. VWD can be a serious disease, but with proper treatment, most dogs can live normal, healthy lives.
Types of Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs
There are three main types of VWD: type I, type II, and type III. Type I is the most common and mildest form, while type III is the most severe. VWD is generally treated with a blood transfusion, but in some cases, surgery may be necessary.
Type I von Willebrand disease is caused by a deficiency of von Willebrand factor (VWF). This type is the most common and typically causes mild bleeding. It is common in German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Poodles, Bernese Mountain Dogs etc.
Type II von Willebrand disease is caused by a dysfunctional VWF protein. This type is less common and can cause more severe bleeding. It is common in German Wirehaired and Shorthaired Pointers.
Type III von Willebrand disease is caused by a deficiency of VWF and a dysfunctional VWF protein. This is the most severe form of the disease and can lead to life-threatening bleeding. It is common in Scottish Terriers, Kooikerhondje, Shetland Sheepdogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers etc.
Symptoms of VWD in Dogs
There are many different symptoms of von Willebrand disease, and they can vary depending on the severity of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Excessive Bleeding From Any Wound or Injury
- Difficulty Healing Cuts and Skin Tears
- Bruising Easily
- Excessive Mucus Production
- Reduced Appetite
- Blood in the Urine and Stool
- Yellowing of the Eyes or Skin
- Cold Sensitivity
- Joint Pain
- Inability to Tolerate Heat or Cold
- Poor Coat or Hair Growth
- Dry Skin
- Sudden Death
If your dog is showing any of these symptoms, it is important to take them to the vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs
Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) is a disorder that affects dogs of various breeds, and is caused by an inherited disorder in their blood-clotting proteins. This disorder can be very serious and can cause prolonged bleeding or excessive bleeding during surgery or even after an accident. While this disease is usually hereditary, there are other factors that can increase a dog’s risk of developing this disorder.
One of the major causes of VWD in dogs is genetics. This means that any dog whose parents have the disorder has an increased risk for it as well. Although VWD tends to affect certain breeds more than others, any breed of dog can be affected by it.
Another major cause of VWD is autoimmunity. This is when the immune system starts to attack the body’s own cells. When this happens, the body will start to destroy the platelets, which are vital for proper clotting. This can lead to a decrease in the levels of von Willebrand factor (vWF), which is a protein that helps the platelets stick together and form a clot.
Nutritional deficiency can also play a factor in VWD. For example, a lack of Vitamin K can prevent platelets from functioning properly and decrease the production of vWF. Vitamin K is present in most leafy green vegetables, eggs, liver, and dairy products. If a dog’s diet is deficient in these foods, it can lead to VWD.
Finally, certain medications can also increase a dog’s risk for VWD. For example, some types of pain medications, antibiotics, or anticonvulsants can reduce the amount of clotting factor available to the body. This can lead to excessive bleeding during events that would normally not cause a problem, such as surgery or an accident.
Treatment of Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs
While the disorder can be mild, there are some cases that may require medical intervention. So how is Von Willebrand Disease treated in dogs?
One of the main forms of treatment for VWD in dogs is plasma transfusions. Blood taken from a healthy dog is transfused into the affected animal in order to increase the concentration of clotting factors. This treatment is most effective when used in the early stages of VWD, as the disorder is most likely to worsen in its later stages. In addition, plasma transfusions are generally needed on an ongoing basis to maintain the dog’s health.
Another treatment option for Von Willebrand Disease in dogs is the administration of desmopressin (DDAVP). This drug helps the body to increase its production of clotting proteins and can often provide relief from VWD symptoms. However, like plasma transfusions, it is best used in the earlier stages of the disease when it is most likely to be effective.
Finally, there is another drug that can be used to treat Von Willebrand Disease in dogs. This is a product called Alphanate, which works by replacing the missing Factor VIII. It is a safe product to use and has few side effects. However, it does require regular administration, and is typically used in the later stages of the disease.
Although Von Willebrand Disease is a serious disorder, with the right treatment and care, affected dogs can often lead long and happy lives. All potential treatments should be discussed with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action for the individual dog’s condition. With proper management and treatment, affected dogs can enjoy a good quality of life.
In conclusion, von Willebrand disease is a serious condition that can be potentially life-threatening for dogs. Early detection and proper treatment is essential for managing the disease and ensuring the best possible outcome for your dog. If you suspect your dog may have von Willebrand disease, talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible.