Von Willebrand Disease Symptoms in Dogs

Von Willebrand disease in dogs is a clotting disorder that is carried genetically throughout certain dog breeds. Von Willebrand disease can be fatal if not properly controlled. The best way to ensure proper care and treatment of dogs with Von Willebrand disease is to be familiar with the symptoms and know when to seek medical help.

Occurrence and Effect of Blood Clots

In order to understand the symptoms of Von Willebrand disease in dogs, dog owners first need to understand how blood clots. Dogs have several clotting factors, and each of these factors play a role in the complex chemical reaction that causes blood to clot. Chemical substances throughout the dog’s body help to stabilize the clotting factors and force the platelets to clot. Clotting factors are rated as I through XIII. When all of these factors work together properly, the blood clots in response to injury.

Clotting factor XIII is known as Von Willebrand’s factor. Dogs that are affected by Von Willebrand disease are essentially missing one of the stabilizing chemical substances that allows factor XIII to be a part of the blood clotting equation. With the inability of factor XIII to function properly, the result is excessive bleeding, and this is recognized as Von Willebrand disease in dogs.

Common Breeds Affected by Von Willebrand Disease

It is important to remember that Von Willebrand disease in dogs is not something that can be transmitted physically between dogs, but rather the only way to develop Von Willebrand disease is by genetically receiving the gene that causes this abnormality in the clotting process. Regardless of whether one parent or both is carrying this gene, the result is the inheritance of Von Willebrand disease in the offspring.

Certain dog breeds are known for their genetic predisposition to Von Willebrand disease, including the Doberman Pinscher, the Golden Retriever, the Miniature Schnauzer, the German Shepherd, and the Rottweiler. Reputable breeders routinely test these types of dogs before using them in their breeding programs. This helps to reduce the genetic carry on of Von Willebrand disease in dogs.

Signs and Symptoms of Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand disease in dogs can be fatal when bleeding is uncontrolled. Not being aware of Von Willebrand disease is even more dangerous because it leaves dog owners unaware about what is actually going on with their dog. In order to ensure optimal treated for a dog with Von Willebrand disease, it is imperative that dog owners be aware of the signs and symptoms.

The key symptom of Von Willebrand disease in dogs is excessive bleeding. This could occur after a simple injury like cutting the nails down to the quick, which would then cause an abnormal, more-than-average amount of bleeding. When excessive bleeding happens, it is not uncommon for a dog’s body to seek alternative routes of expulsion, such as through the nose or the gums. When the level of bleeding caused by Von Willebrand disease in dogs becomes serious, it could also cause intestinal bleeding or bleeding within the joints. This often results in blood being passed through the urine and stool, as well as the onset of arthritis-like symptoms.