Von Willebrand’s disease is the most common hereditary bleeding disorder both in humans and dogs. This condition is caused by the deficiency of a protein called von Willebrand Factor. This protein is necessary for blood clotting. Von Willebrand’s disease has been reported in more than 50 different dog breeds. Although they are not the most affected breed, von Willebrand’s disease is certainly present in Golden Retrievers.
Symptoms Of Von Willebrand’s Disease In Golden Retrievers
Usually, a dog with von Willebrand’s Disease will show no signs or symptoms of the disease. Most owners discover it only when their dogs experience an injury or when they have surgery.
On the other hand, dogs with severe cases of von Willebrand’s disease will have certain symptoms. Most common are:
- Excessive bleeding from the vagina during the heat cycles
- Prolonged bleeding of small wounds, or loss of baby teeth
- Bleeding in blader (blood in urine )
- Gastrointestinal bleeding (blood in stool)
- Spontaneous bleeding from gums, mouth, or nose
- Excessive bleeding during nail clipping
Diagnosis of Von Willebrand’s Disease
The most common test for this disease is to measure von Willebrand’s factor in a blood sample. We then compare that result with a “normal” sample.
Results are divided into three distinctive groups:
- Normal is considered to be 70-180 percent.
- Borderline is considered to be 50-69 percent.
- Abnormal is considered to be 0-49 percent.
There are also DNA tests available for many dog breeds, unfortunately, we currently don’t have a DNA test for Golden Retrievers.
Treating the vWD
Let’s make one thing clear there is no known cure for von Willebrand’s disease in Golden Retrievers. The best thing we as owners can do is to manage it and try to keep our Golden as safe as possible.
If you are an owner of a Golden Retriever that suffers from von Willebrand’s disease, you should put maximum effort into helping your dog to avoid injuries as much as possible. This means no hard food like bones or rawhide chews, as they can cause cuts and bleed in the mouth.
In case of an emergency, dogs with von Willebrand’s disease will receive a blood transfusion or frozen plasma to stabilize them and stop bleeding. There is also an option of using a hormone called DDAVP. This hormone will provoke the sudden release of von Willebrand’s factor in the bloodstream. It’s important to notice that this method only works with some dogs, while others will have no reaction.