THE FACTS ABOUT VWD
FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
copyright Carla Mai Nissen
(reprinted with owner’s permission)
owner of Adobe's Ebony Enigma, TT (A bleeder)
von Willebrand's disease is the most common bleeding disorder in dogs. In Dobermans it takes the form of Type 1 vWD, in that some vWf (von Willebrand's factor) is present, but is decreased in effectiveness. vWf is a large Glycoprotein that is necessary for normal platelet function.
Clinical bleeding in some cases may be linked to hypothyroidism, and in others stress situations such as trauma, surgery or illness. Some episodes have no apparent trigger. Dogs with close relatives who have had bleeding problems due to vWD are at higher risk of expressing symptoms themselves.
Most of the time the many other clotting factors present in the blood make up for the lack of effective vWf and there are no outward symptoms of the disease.
What it isn't:
von Willebrand's disease is NOT hemophilia. It is not sex linked. It affects males and females about equally. There are other forms of bleeding disorders and causes of excessive bleeding to be aware of, such as canine hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, hepatic dysfunction and vitamin K deficiencies. As such, in the case of a suspected case of clinical vWD, they must be ruled out. These tests are ideally done during the course of a suspected episode, each respective bleeding disorder having a very different set of outcomes for various coagulation and definitive screening tests. Additionally, each disorder has its own respective course of treatment.
von Willebrand's disease is NOT a death sentence in Dobermans. It is infrequently fatal, although moderate to severe episodes may require medical intervention such as cauterization or transfusions to control bleeding.
Page 2: When it Appears