Von Willerbrand’s Disease

Posted on June 12, 2015

If you have ever owned a Doberman Pinscher, Scottish Terrier or a German Pointer, you may have heard of a hereditary blood disorder referred to Von Willerbrand’s Disease.  Named after the protein responsible for blood clotting in canines, dogs suffering from this genetic disorder tend to have longer clotting times in mild cases.  In server cases however, dogs can have spontaneous nose bleeding, bruising, and prolonged periods in cases of the female heat cycle.

Von Willerbrand’s disease is classified into three types (I, II and III), with III being the most sever case where concentrations of the protein are extremely low.  Dams or Sires exhibiting the milder version of the disease with little or no symptoms can still pass on the disorder on to their newborn pups.  Genetic testing is often performed by breeders to test for the disorder as the parents maybe considered carriers without exhibiting any of the symptoms.  Buccal mucosa bleeding time test measures the onset of clotting time after making a small incision in the dog’s mucosal membrane, while other veterinarians rely on blood tests to test the actual concentrations of the Von Willerbrand protein.

While there is no cure for the disease, there are medications in the market targeted at stimulation of the release of the protein.  Desmopressin Acetate more commonly referred to as (DDAVP), is the most prevalent form of therapy with very few side effects.  While Von Willerbrand Disease is not considered a life-threatening ailment, it does play a factor in your dog’s recovery time in cases of emergency and trauma and may require the aid of blood transfusion in severe cases.