Thrombocytopenia in Dogs: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment Coping with Canine Thrombocytopenia

Thrombocytopenia in Dogs: Types, Symptoms, and Treatment

Thrombocytopenia is a disorder that affects dogs and is defined by a reduction in the quantity of platelets in the blood. We discuss the condition further in this article.

Dogs who have thrombocytopenia see a decline in the quantity of platelets in their blood. Blood platelets are significant blood components because they are necessary for blood clotting and controlling excessive bleeding. Reduced platelet counts can cause a multitude of health issues, such as bleeding disorders and heightened susceptibility to infections.

This article will give a general review of canine thrombocytopenia, including its origins, signs, and available treatments.


Thrombocytopenia in dogs can have a variety of underlying causes, including:

  • Inherited disorders: Some breeds of dogs, such as Greyhounds, Doberman Pinschers, and Platelet Disorder Shar Peis, are prone to inherited forms of thrombocytopenia.

  • Diseases and infections: Certain diseases, such as immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, cancer, and liver disease, can cause low platelet count in dogs. Thrombocytopenia can also be brought on by infections, including viral infections and diseases spread by ticks.

  • Medications: Medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can cause a reduction in platelets. Chemotherapy drugs and some antibiotics can also lead to thrombocytopenia.

  • Toxins: Dogs who have been exposed to pollutants like pesticides and heavy metals may have low platelet counts.

  • Nutritional deficiencies: Thrombocytopenia can be brought on by a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals, including folic acid and vitamin B12.


Thrombocytopenia can be a result of a variety of symptoms in dogs, including:

  • Bruising: Dogs with thrombocytopenia may have bruises on their skin or mucous membranes, even without any apparent injury.

  • Nosebleeds: Nosebleeds can be a common symptom of thrombocytopenia in dogs.

  • Bleeding gums: The gums may appear red and bleed when the dog is brushed or has its teeth cleaned.

  • Blood in urine or stool: Blood can be seen in the feces or urine of canines that have thrombocytopenia.

  • Lameness or joint swelling: Thrombocytopenia can cause lameness or swelling in the joints as a result of internal bleeding.

  • Fatigue and weakness: Dogs with thrombocytopenia may become lethargic and weak due to the decreased number of red blood cells in the blood.


The diagnosis of thrombocytopenia in dogs involves several steps and tests. A veterinarian will begin by gathering all relevant medical information and doing a physical assessment. Several diagnostic tests, such as the following, may be performed after this:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): This examination counts the number of white blood cells, platelets, and red blood cells in the bloodstream. Canines with low platelets have thrombocytopenia.

  • Blood Clotting Tests: These tests, such as a prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), measure the blood's ability to clot. If the results are abnormal, it can mean that the platelets or other elements of the blood are malfunctioning.

  • Biochemical Profile: This test measures the levels of various chemicals and enzymes in the blood and can help to determine if there is an underlying liver or kidney disease that may be causing thrombocytopenia.

  • Urinalysis: This test examines the urine for signs of underlying diseases or infections.

  • X-rays or Ultrasound: These imaging tests can be used to examine the internal organs, such as the spleen, liver, and kidneys, to determine if there is an underlying problem that may be contributing to thrombocytopenia.

Based on the results of these tests, the veterinarian can determine the cause of the thrombocytopenia and develop an appropriate treatment plan. In some circumstances, more testing may be required to identify the underlying reason.

Treatment and Recovery Options

The root reason for canine thrombocytopenia will determine the best course of treatment and alternatives for recovery. The problem may go away on its own in some situations, while therapy may be required in others.

  • Medications: If the thrombocytopenia is caused by a medication, the veterinarian may recommend discontinuing the medication and switching to an alternative. In some cases, drugs that increase the production of platelets, such as prednisone, may be prescribed.

  • Blood Transfusions: A blood transfusion may be necessary to replenish the lost platelets in severe instances of thrombocytopenia.

  • Surgery: If thrombocytopenia is caused by a tumor or an enlarged spleen, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected organ.

  • Dietary Changes: In some cases, a change in diet may be necessary to address nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to thrombocytopenia.

  • Antibiotics: If thrombocytopenia is caused by an infection, antibiotics like DOXYCYCLINE or CLAVAMOX may be prescribed to treat the underlying infection.

How to Prevent Thrombocytopenia in Dogs

Preventing thrombocytopenia in dogs can be challenging, as the underlying causes of the condition can be varied and complex. However, there are some steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing the condition:

  • Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help to catch any potential health problems early on, including thrombocytopenia.

  • Proper nutrition: Providing a balanced and nutritious diet for your dog can help to support their overall health and reduce the risk of developing thrombocytopenia.

  • Avoid giving unnecessary medications: Only give your dog medications that are prescribed by a veterinarian, and avoid giving them over-the-counter drugs without veterinary approval.

  • Minimize exposure to toxic substances: Try to keep your dog away from toxic substances, such as pesticides and antifreeze, as these can be harmful to their health and increase the risk of developing thrombocytopenia.

  • Regular exercise: Regular exercise and playing with toys can help to keep your dog healthy and may reduce the risk of developing certain health conditions, including thrombocytopenia.

  • Prevent infections: Take steps to prevent infections in your dog, such as keeping them up-to-date on vaccinations and treating any existing infections promptly.

You can reduce the risk of your dog developing thrombocytopenia by following these steps. However, it is important to note that even with these precautions, some dogs may still develop thrombocytopenia. A prompt veterinary diagnosis and treatment is essential in such cases.

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