What is Factor Xl Deficiency in Dogs?
Factor XI Deficiency is a genetically inherited disease that’s also a form of hemophilia. Here’s what you should know about the disease, as well as symptoms and treatments.
Though many dog breeds are largely healthy, some carry genes for some pretty serious health problems. Genetically inherited diseases often result from mutated genes and many of them are sex-linked. When it comes to inherited deficiencies in dogs, deficiencies of intrinsic pathway factors are among the most common – factor XI deficiency is a prime example. Keep reading to learn more about what this deficiency is and how it can affect your dog.
Understanding Factor XI Deficiency
Also known as Plasma Thromboplastin Antecedent Deficiency, factor XI deficiency is a form of hemophilia. Hemophilia C is a rare condition and it has only been identified in a select few breeds – Springer Spaniels, Weimaraners, Kerry Blue Terries, and Great Pyrenees. In dogs, hemophilia can be deadly for puppies, sometimes causing sudden death within the first few weeks of life. If the puppy survives into adulthood, he may still exhibit intermittent episodes of bleeding. Other symptoms of hemophilia in dogs include the following:
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Skin hematomas
- Swelling in joints or muscles
- Red spots on the skin
- Discolored skin
- Nose bleeds
- Bloody stools
Hemophilia is the result of a deficiency in certain coagulation factors which keep the blood from clotting normally. Factor XI deficiency is an autosomal-recessive, genetically inherited form of hemophilia and it most frequently presents as delayed hemorrhage up to several days after a surgery or trauma.
How is Hemophilia Treated in Dogs?
Diagnosis of hemophilia is fairly simple because it generally causes prolonged or severe bleeding. In the case of hemophilia C, however, it is often delayed and may occur without warning. In fact, you probably won’t even know that your dog has the deficiency until he starts to bleed. There is no cure for hemophilia in dogs and blood transfusions are among the only options for treatment. In very severe cases, the dog’s entire blood volume may be transfused before the bleeding can be controlled. Your dog may also be treated with blood products that contain the factor he is deficient in.
When hemophilia affects puppies to the point that they display symptoms, recovery is usually poor – internal bleeding is a common problem and can be lethal at this age. In older dogs, uncontrolled bleeding can also be fatal but there may be a little more time to seek treatment. If your dog exhibits intermittent bleeding episodes, you may learn to identify the signs but, in many cases, hemophilia C comes on quickly and, because it is so rare, you may not even know to look for it.
Unfortunately, the only way to prevent the disease is to avoid breeding dogs that are affected. In the case of hemophilia C, however, you may not know the dog has the deficiency until it has an episode, and, at that point, it may already be too late. If your dog is one of the breeds mentioned, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about testing for the condition just to be safe.