Ever see a bleeding problem from Von Willebrand disease? UK?

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AlphaAdmin's picture
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avortman and I were just having a discussion over here in Considering a Doberman. I was of the mind that Von Willlebrand disease was present in the Doberman population but has not produced any real or prevalent breeding problems. This can be seen in the many Doberman positive for the disease who have cropped tails and docked ears.

For this reason, I don't think it is so important to avoid carriers of the disease in breeding, especially if the specimens are otherwise ideal because we have much bigger fish to fry. However, Avortman has had an experience with a breeder whose puppies had serious problems with the ear cropping, some dieing, likely due to being positive for Von Willebrand.

Has anyone else seen any real problems? Especially you from the UK and other areas where cropping and docking is banned.

I have a new notion that perhaps most Dobermans positive for the disease are only slightly positive, having weeded out any highly positive Dobermans with the crop and dock.

avortman's picture
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Horse, some interesting info.http://www.bmdca.org/health/Genetics/Von_Willebrands_Disease.php  Initially for Burmese mountain dogs, but read on and it addresses the Dobe.  I was speaking to my vet today, and he concurred that Vwd is a real and inherent problem, not that big a deal in pet only dogs, but definitely a factor in breed/show dogs as the malady compounds and passes on through improper breeding practices, IE afflicted/ afflicted.  Cardio as you probably already know is the big one with dobies, along with hyp thyroidism.  Hip dysplasia is not that big an issue if you know the breeding lineage and ofa testing has been done in recent generations of the dog.  The Dobe is currently rated 110 by the OFA with no 1 being the worst

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Good work Avortman!

That article clears things up for me. Let me simplify it for others who won't read through the article:

Von Willerbrand disease (vWD) causes a reduced amount of the stuff that makes the blood clot at injuries, that stuff is called Von Willerbrand Factor (vWF). The Doberman already makes plenty of vWF to deal with most injuries and surgeries. However, like any animal, after a prolonged bleeding event of an animal who has been bleeding for other reasons will eventually run out of vWF and not be able to stop bleeding. This happens to people too and is why blood transfusions are so handy.

The Doberman is affected by Type I mutation of von Willerbrand disease which affects vWF mildly. Other breeds are affected by Type II which is more severe and still other breeds are affected by the even more severe Type III. Add to this that dogs can vary among individuals greatly.

So, being affected only by Type I vWD, a Doberman positive for the disease will have to suffer a fairly sever and long bleeding event to exhaust the vWF and thus show bleeding problems. Type I is so mild and with the differences in individuals ability to clot, vWD doesn't usually mean a whole lot - for Dobermans - right now.

vWD is like other recessive inheritance. Two positives will create a whole litter of affected dogs. A positive and a carrier will result in 1/2 of the litter positive and the other half carriers.

Breeding this disease out is a good idea for the overall health of the breed and positive dogs should NOT be bred, especially to carriers, nor should two carriers be bred. Any of these combinations will create Dobermans positive for the disease and less able, although mildly, to control bleeding.

Breeding a carrier to a clear dog creates no positive dogs so in my opinion this is a good practice when the breeding stock is otherwise a productive contribution to the breed. Remember, vWB is a mild problem. Heart, coat, thyroid, and temperament problems should be the bigger focus of responsible breeders. 

JakeGerm's picture
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Let me get this straight, if I'm not breeding I just have to make sure that both parents ARE NOT positive - afflicted? Or do I need to make sure that neither of the parents are positive?

Is this right:

      A      A

A    AA    AA

a    Aa    Aa

Ok, so I think one of the parents has to be clear. Two carriers can make a positive and a positive and a carrier can make a positive, but if a clear is involved none of the puppies will be positive.

      A      A

a    Aa    Aa

a    Aa    Aa

avortman's picture
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Go here for a detailed explanation http://www.vetgen.com/canine-strategies.html

Grendelspop's picture
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I learned a lot from that Vetgen explanation but even with their information fresh on my mind I have to admit I'm a little confused, if not overwhelmed. I understand that a certain affected, carrier, or clear dog bred with one of the same or not can be predicted to have offspring that will have a specific percentage of vWF. what I didn't get is whether their can be a variance in the litter?some pups clear others carriers etc. I understand also that these numbers can overlap some but I'm curious to know if the variance could be one clear and one not etc.  Thanks

OldAdmin's picture
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Hey Kruegerspop, I know what you mean. Let me try to clean things up a bit more. Yes, a litter can have a variety of affected, carrier, and clear puppies depending on the status of the parents. Let me draw a diagram using colors:

Every dog carriers two genes. He gets one gene from each parent. One parent is at the top of the diagram and the other on the left.

Affected AA
Carrier Aa
Clear aa

Lets start with breeding a Clear aa Doberman to an Affected Doberman.

            A            A

a          Aa          Aa

a          Aa          Aa

In this case, we see the puppies getting an a gene from one parent and a A gene from the other. All puppies in this litter would be carriers.

Now lets breed an Affected AA with a Carrier Aa

          A            A

A        AA            AA

a        Aa            Aa

In this case the puppies get an A gene from one parent and either an A gene or an a from the other. So, half the litter would come out Affected AA and the other half Carrier Aa.

In a third case, lets look at breeding two Carriers Aa.

            A        a

A          AA        Aa

a          Aa        aa

Here we see that 1/4 of the litter will be Affected AA, half Carrier Aa, and the other forth will be Clear aa.

Also, understand this is probability. It is possible, although unlikely, for a whole litter of 12 puppies from the about pair of Carrier Aa parents could be Affected AA, Carrier Aa, or Clear aa. This would be like flipping a coin twice for twelve people and getting heads all 24 times. That's probably the best way to describe this last example, flipping a coin. Each puppy get one gene from each parent, so if both parents have two different genes, it's like flipping a coin.

I hope this make thing slightly more clear.

Grendelspop's picture
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Yes, thank you. It really is a complex little bit of math/genetics for the average dog owner to understand. I think I follow now though. The percentage of Dobermans that are at risk is what is really hard to except. I have spoken to some breeders that say that they are not really concerned by it and others that tell stories of loved ones dying in their arms. I believe that to love the breed I will have to except the fact that this disease is part of their genetic make-up and treat it like people have in the past with any undesirable trait and support breeders that are taking action to breed it out. Thank you all here at Gentle Doberman by the way, the information I receive here is invaluable. 

AlphaAdmin's picture
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It is the lover of the Doberman breed to only support responsible breeding practices. However, breeding out Von Willebrand is not a priority of Doberman breeding - in my opinion. There are many fine specimens of the Doberman who are void of more damaging disease, who are also carriers of Von Willebrand.

As long as you're not breeding Affected Dobermans, you're doing ok. This means not breeding Affected dogs at all and only breeding carriers with clear dogs. So, if you're looking for a Doberman - make sure that none of the parents are Affected and that if one of them is a carrier the other one isn't. This way your puppy can only be clear of the disease or a carrier.

While it is true that most vWD affected dog never go on to have problems, when they do it can be horrific if not deadly. I bet most of the pet people on this list have no clue what the vWD status is on there own dogs.

One of our previous puppies was vWD affected, she went through tail docking, ear cropping, and cutting the nails back to the quick under anesthesia just fine. She was also spayed and went through surgery just fine no problems with bleeding. Where she had problems was a simple bump while playing would cause hematomas sp? under the skin. One time while running in the backyard she ran under the deck no problem dogs do it all the time right? Well it was a huge problem for her she ended up bleeding so heavily under the skin it was the size of a large baseball on her shoulder blade. We couldn't get the bleeding to stop it got so large it started draining under the skin and made a huge pool of blood under the skin in her abdomen. Of course she was rushed to the vet and put into compression bandages cant remember what else they did for her and eventually a week later she was okay. Another thing she did later in life was hit the corner of her eye this again caused bleeding behind the eye and she went blind.

So while many breeders especially backyard breeders have no clue as to what they are breeding buyers need to beware! The problem does exist. There is a simple DNA swab in the cheek done by vetgen that will give you a clear picture of what you dog is. Dobermans are either Clear (don't carry the gene) Carrier (carry the gene and can pass it along but have no problems with bleeding) or affected (carry the gene, can pass it along, and pose a risk of actually bleeding problems)

When buying puppies to avoid the possibly of getting affected puppies you need to buy from either a Clear to clear, carrier to clear, or affected to clear breeding. When you do a carrier to carrier breeding you will get all 3 in your litters, some clears, some carriers, and some affected.