What You Need to Know About Hemophilia in Dogs
When you cut or scrape yourself, the wound may bleed but it generally starts to clot fairly quickly before you suffer any serious blood loss – the same is true for your dog. If your dog has a condition called hemophilia, however, this may not be the case. Keep reading to learn more about what hemophilia is, its symptoms, and the best treatment options.
What is Hemophilia in Dogs?
The dictionary defines hemophilia as, “a medical condition in which the ability of the blood to clot is severely reduced, causing the sufferer to bleed severely form even a slight injury.” One of the most common types of hemophilia seen in dogs is simply called Hemophilia A and it is caused by a deficiency of a specific clotting factor, Factor VIII.
Related: What Is von Willebrand in Dogs?
If you are familiar with common health problems affecting dogs, this might remind you of another disease called von Willebrand disease which frequently affects Poodles, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas, Miniature Schnauzers, and Golden Retrievers. Von Willebrand disease is actually a type of hemophilia caused by a deficiency of the plasma protein von Willebrand factor, or vWF, which is necessary to form clots and to stabilize Factor VIII.
Essentially, a dog that has hemophilia tends to bleed excessively from even mild wounds because the blood does not clot as quickly as it should. This is very dangerous in general, but it becomes even more dangerous if the dog requires surgery or if he suffers an injury that causes internal bleeding.
Common Symptoms and Treatment Options
In many cases, hemophilia is an inherited condition, so it is essential that dogs with this condition are not bred. When it comes to identifying the disease, in many cases hemophilia is not diagnosed until the dog suffers from a significant injury or has to undergo surgery. The main symptom is, of course, excessive bleeding but there may be other signs such as the following:
- Bleeding from the dog’s nose or gums
- Bloody urine or stools
- Bruising of the skin very easily
- Prolonged or excessive bleeding during/after surgery
Diagnosing hemophilia is fairly easy if your dog displays one or more of the symptoms listed above but there are also blood tests that can be helpful. Testing for the amount of vWF in his blood is a strong indicator of hemophilia in dogs, though your vet might also recommend additional tests like a complete blood count (CBC) to rule out other possible causes for symptoms.
Once the condition has been identified, there are certain things you can do to manage it, but it is not something that can be cured. You will need to be extra careful to prevent your dog from getting injured and, if he does suffer an injury, you may need to take him to the vet quickly to stop the bleeding. If your dog is planned for surgery, make sure the surgeon knows about his hemophilia so they can take steps to reduce blood loss both during and after surgery.
Though the various types of hemophilia in dogs cannot be cured, there are steps you can take to manage your dog’s condition. The best thing you can do is to learn as much as you can about his condition and how to prevent injury. With proper management, your dog can live a long and healthy life!
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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