High Platelets in Blood Count, what does it mean?

My dog, a great dane mix, 4 years old, woke up today vomiting and with diarrhea. I immediately took him to the vet (he actually is spending the night there, which I must admit am very nervous about), he told me that he had a high platelet count and got scared because he was constantly defecating, and with blood the last few times he did. He didn't eat anything out of ordinary, that we know of. What could be causing this? And what does this high platelets count mean? Thanks in Advance,

  • Vetinfo

    By: Kara McCarty El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    Increased platelet counts (thrombocytosis) are rarely cause for any concern, especially if the rest of the complete blood count is normal. It may indicate a recent history of bleeding and very rarely is an indicator of a particular type of bone marrow disease called Megakaryocytic Leukemia. This disease is uncommon and again unlikely because the rest of your dog's blood count is normal. Sometimes changes like this are termed "idiopathic" meaning we don't know why they happen and in this case it is no cause for concern. You may wish to have another complete blood count taken in about a month. If his platelet count continues to rise discuss having a bone marrow biopsy taken with your veterinarian, especially if his other values become abnormal. Sometimes platelet counts will also be elevated in dogs that are dehydrated, which your dog may be as he has had vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea are a response to something irritating the gastrointestinal tract. This can be a viral or bacterial infection, parasites, a foreign body (like a toy or bone) or from toxins from metabolic diseases (like kidney or liver disease). Sometimes we don't know what caused the insult and supportive care, treating with fluids to prevent dehydration and antibiotics to prevent secondary infections, help improve the patient's condition. Your dog is in the best place to get the treatment his condition requires. -Kara, DVM

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