Clotting Deficiency

Our dogs are our worlds, this is why when they suffer from a medical condition like clotting deficiency, we ensure we learn as much about it as we can! In this article we’ll discuss possible causes as well as treatments for a clotting deficiency. We’ll explain the treatment process as well as what will happen after treatment has been done. 

What is a Clotting Deficiency

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When your dog has a clotting deficiency, it means that their blood is unable to clot effectively. Now we are aware that certain blood clots are bad, but blood clotting is often necessary. When your dog’s blood thickens and clots, it allows wounds to seal and heal. However, if your dog has a clotting deficiency, this does not happen. Because of a clotting deficiency your dog will bleed more than he is supposed to. This can cause blood loss anaemia, as well as internal haemorrhaging. Clotting deficiency is often inherited. This means that it can be passed down in your dog’s bloodline. 

The Symptoms and Types

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The symptoms of a clotting deficiency often include prolonged bleeding after trauma or surgery. This is an obvious symptom that is easy to see. The less obvious symptoms of a clotting deficiency include blood loss anaemia as well as internal bleeding. 

This can be scary. Thankfully there are more symptoms you can look out for. Symptoms of blood loss anaemia include:

Clotting Deficiency | Healthier Pets Today
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Short Breath
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Confusion
  • Pica

The symptoms of internal bleeding include:

  • Bloody vomit
  • Bloody poop
  • Bleeding from the rectum or vagina
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Swollen or hard abdomen
  • Excessive thirst

If your dog presents similar symptoms it is best to consult your vet for a possible diagnosis and treatment plan. 

What are the Causes

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Your dog could be suffering from a clotting deficiency. It could be an underlying disorder such as a vitamin K deficiency, that can affect the functionality of the liver. The liver plays an important role in blood clotting for healing. Clotting disorder can be hereditary as well. This means that the disorder has been passed on through your dog’s bloodline. 

External causes of clotting deficiency include:

  • Ingesting rat poison
  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • A Snake bite
  • Long-Term antibiotic use

Getting a Diagnosis

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Before your vet makes a diagnosis, they’ll want to rule out external factors such as ingestion of rat poison, or recent contact with lizards or snakes. Your vet will then order a complete blood test as well as an assay to see the blood’s ability to clot to see if he can determine the source of the disorder. The vet will look closely at the test to see if there are signs of an increase in red blood cells. This is an indication of regenerative anaemia and will signal the possibility of internal blood loss. 

Possible Treatments 

The treatment of a clotting deficiency will depend on the severity of your dog’s blood loss. In a severe case, your dog will need to be hospitalised to receive blood transfusions and plasma. It is possible for repeated transfusions to be necessary to control or prevent further haemorrhaging. Your vet might prescribe vitamin K as well, especially if your dog has ingested rodent poison or has another condition that could deplete this vitamin. 

Managing a Clotting disorder in Your Dog

Clotting Deficiency | Healthier Pets Today

Your vet will continue to test your dog’s blood on a regular basis. This is done to test the effectiveness of the vitamin K supplement. It often normalises within 24 to 48 hours once treatment has started. There is only one way to test if an hereditary deficiency has successfully been treated and this is done by factor analysis. This tests whether the hematomas have been resolved and whether the bleeding has stopped. It is possible for transfusions to sometimes cause immune reactions when antibodies resist the new blood. If your vet decides on transfusions as a course of treatment, your dog will need to be closely monitored for signs of rejection. 

There are no particular breeds that are more susceptible than others. Nothing can be done to prevent it unless it is a known part of the genetic makeup of a breeding dog.

The Takeaway

A clotting disorder in your dog can be fatal. Clotting disorders can come from both traumas as well as hereditary. A vitamin K deficiency could also be at fault. It is best to consult your vet as soon as you notice wounds that don’t heal along with any other of the above-mentioned symptoms.