Myelofibrosis in Dogs

Myelofibrosis in dogs is a bone marrow disorder caused by scar tissue development. The condition can be categorized as either primary or secondary depending on the underlying cause. In dogs, primary myelofibrosis has never been reported to occur naturally. Secondary myelofibrosis, on the other hand, has been reported in canines. Secondary myelofibrosis is usually associated with irradiation, neoplastic conditions, hemolytic anemia and other various sources. Although not always the case, myelofibrosis is often a terminal condition.

Symptoms of Myelofibrosis

Myelofibrosis in dogs can show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fullness in abdomen, due to an enlarged spleen
  • Pain in bones or joints
  • Easy bruising
  • Easy bleeding
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Compromised immune system
  • Infections
  • Shortness of breath or heavy breathing
  • Nausea

Treatment of Myelofibrosis in Dogs

While there is no specific form of treatment for myelofibrosis, treatments are mainly used to relieve the symptoms and discomfort associated with the condition. The following treatments may be used for myelofibrosis in dogs:

  • Blood transfusions to relieve anemia
  • Removal of the spleen if it is enlarged
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Medications such as androgens and recombinant erythropoletin, used to stimulate the production of red blood cells

Bone Necrosis in Dogs

Bone marrow necrosis has been recorded to appear in some cases of myelofibrosis in canines. The condition known as bone marrow necrosis occurs in dogs with septicemia and ehrlichiosis. It is also associated with drug treatments such as estrogen and cephalosporin. The bone marrow necrosis may be caused by a destruction of the bone marrow elements, and fibroblast proliferation may occur when inflammatory cells release growth factors. Some canines have been recorded to have concurrent bone marrow necrosis, and an exact cause is still unknown.

Risk Factors for Myelofibrosis in Dogs

While there is no known cause for myelofibrosis in dogs, there may be certain factors that increase your pet's risk for developing the disorder. Certain risk factors may include:

  • Old age
  • Genetic mutations or hereditary factors
  • An exposure to toxins or poisons
  • Preexisting conditions that lead to the development of myelofibrosis

Complications Associated with Myelofibrosis in Dogs

Myelofibrosis can cause the following complications in dogs:

  • Increase of blood pressure to the liver
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Pain in the limbs and joints, caused by inflammation and dead tissue
  • Tumors in the body, which can cause bleeding in the abdomen and seizures
  • Infections, caused by the overproduction of white blood cells
  • Bleeding, caused by low platelet count
  • Bone tissue hardening and inflammation, which can cause bone and joint pain and discomfort
  • Gout, due to the increase in uric acid in the body
  • Canine leukemia, a type of bone marrow and blood cancer that can be terminal