Cuts and scrapes are a fact of life, for humans and animals. Yet they're a significant danger if your dog has Von Willebrand's disease, a condition similar to human hemophilia, in which blood cannot clot properly. Because of this, any injury, even a minor one, will cause the dog to bleed profusely. Without treatment, dogs can easily bleed to death following surgery or from what would normally be considered minor wounds.
Von Willebrand's Disease is an inherited disorder. Affected dogs are missing a specific element in their blood that helps the platelets to form clots. It's a substance that helps stabilize one of the blood's clotting elements, known as Factor VIII, which is vital to the clotting process. The missing substance is known as Von Willebrand's factor, after the Finnish physician who discovered and researched the condition in the 1920s. [...]
If you notice your dog is bruising easily or bleeding with no obvious cause, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. Your pet may have one of several types of bleeding disorders that can affect canines. These disorders occur when the blood does not clot normally, in turn causing the dog to bleed abnormally or excessively after any minor injury or cut.
There are a number of warning signs that indicate your dog may have a blood disorder. Be watchful for any bleeding or bruises that have no obvious cause, frequent nosebleeds and blood in the animal's urine or feces. Also, the gums may be pale, and there may be tiny pinpoint-sized red spots on the gums or the whites of the eyes. If your dog becomes tired easily, he also may have anemia, which results from a reduced number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. [...]
Hemophilia in dogs, which can actually be type A or type B, is a blood disorder that prevents the blood from clotting at the site of wounds or injury. In normally functioning dogs without hemophilia there are series of compounds and chemicals that are released by the blood and body in reaction to an injury. Each chemical reaction leads to another, which then eventually results in the blood platelets being "glued" together by coagulants at the site of the wound, forming a sort of a natural dam that stops blood loss.
In dogs with hemophilia A, there is a breakdown in the chain of reactions at the factor XIII stage. This condition, as with hemophilia B, is inherited and is a sex-linked genetic deficiency, which means that it is almost exclusively seen in male dogs. Females can be carriers so in breeds prone to the condition, such as German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers and Scottish Terriers, it is important to check the blood clotting ability of the female prior to breeding. [...]