Q:

How do you prevent bleeding due to low platelets in dogs?

A:

Quick Answer

There are no known preventative measures for immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, a medical condition where blood platelets in animals are too low. However, some veterinarians suggest that pet owners avoid giving their animals unnecessary vaccines.

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Full Answer

  1. Ensure your diagnosis is correct

    Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, or IMT, is a condition that afflicts many dogs and cats. Causes of the condition include lymphoma, leukemia, blood loss due to hemorrhage, decreased production of platelets and the dog's body attacking its own blood platelets, usually because of infectious agents. Diagnosing your dog will involve looking out for symptoms that include lethargy, fever, weakness, excessive nasal mucus, increased respiratory rate, heart murmur, excessive coughing, bruising, bleeding from the nose or mouth, urinary bleeding and pale gums. In severe cases, they may collapse.

  2. Visit the vet

    Get a professional opinion by going to a veterinarian. They usually measure a dog's platelet count against the average to rule out any other problems and take a blood test, and they may also want to take an X-ray or ultrasound if they suspect internal bleeding. Once dogs are diagnosed with IMT, they may need to be hospitalized.

  3. Treat your pet

    Treatment usually involves the use of immunosuppressive drugs, or homeopathic remedies if you are visiting a homeopathic vet. However, if dogs do not respond to natural therapies, drugs are often required. Other treatments include a platelet transfusion, or a blood transfusion for anemia. Vets have also treated the condition with oxygen and fluid therapy.

  4. Manage the condition

    Look out for cuts or injuries, as they may lead to excessive hemorrhaging. Treatment plans may include reducing physical exercise, removing hard foods or adding supportive herbs from the diet and/or putting your dog on immunosuppressive and other drugs. Dogs have a good chance of living normal lives if they respond well to treatment.

  5. Avoid unnecessary vaccinations

    While studies have failed to find solid answers to preventing the condition, some veterinarians believe vaccinations can trigger immune diseases in animals, or vaccinations combined with other medications and other dietary and environmental factors. Therefore, some veterinarians encourage pet owners to avoid unnecessary vaccinations wherever possible.

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