Von Willebrands

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Q Tip's picture
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:) KiaOra Whanua

Well.. I was chatting to my vet about getting my almost 11 month old pup neutered as its in his papers that I do. The vet suggested that as Q had blood in his stool during a nasty bout of gastritis a couple of months a go he do blood tests for VW.
I agreed to this although felt it would be a waste of time as this was one of the first questions I asked my breeder. Q's dam and sire were clear, I didn't actually see any paper work that stated this but the breeder has been showing her dogs for the last 20 years with a great reputation to boot so there was no reason to doubt her word.
Blood tests back yesterday...I got this info on the telephone so still need to see the paper work but apparently the clotting factor of a normal dog is 71-80. Q's factor was 19 so it looks like he is indeed a carrier.
The vet explained that to now neuter Q he would need a couple of bags of plasma with the clotting factor plus extra nursing cares to take obs etc and care for Q. Fair enough I wouldn't want anything to happen to Q whilst on the operating table.
I'm still stunned really....I rang the breeder and she is also shocked and has asked me to wait whilst she investigates further. She said that although it was in his papers Q wasn't to be bred from it didn't mean that he had to be neutered.

So I dint need to get Q neutered but that may then well increased his risk of getting into fights later on down the road. I know he is soft as anything at the moment and i dint really expect that to change but it could.
I also didnt want to run the risk of Q being able to breed with another dog and increase his gene pool.
I was kind of hoping that the breeder would offer to refund my money so at least that would go towards the vet bill.
I guess I dint have a leg to stand on?
Anyway I'm just sharing my thoughts, does anyone have a dog with VW? My poor beautiful dog do i need to take any special care with him. Will e popping down to the vets on Friday to discuss this further.
ria.

Q Tip's picture
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Ps I also forget to mention that there was no problems with tail docking or dew claws and the one time i accidentally cut one of Q's nails to the quick he didnt bleed excessively

To start with the test that your vet ran is outdated. Their is a simple DNA test that is a swab in the cheek and it will tell you if he is a carrier, clear or affected. The problem with the outdated test that you are referring to is that the results can be misleading and change when tested again. They can be changed by different factors such as stress, thyroid, medication and others, the same dog can have different results each time tested. Your breeder probably did the DNA kind. You can find information on it at http://www.vetgen.com/ http://www.vetgen.com/canine-vwd1.html the second link will explain a little more about it and give you many articles and things to consider. The DNA test will put your dog in a definite category where the old elisay test has borderline categories and you will never know for sure.

If your dog is a carrier you would not have to worry one bit about any surgery. If he is affected then it may pose a problem. It is only a very small percentage of the affected's that actually have problems but when they do it can be really bad.

I had a fawn years ago that went through ear cropping,tail docking, dewclaws just fine no bleeding problems. This very same dog ran under our porch, something the dogs did quite regularly and happened to bump her shoulder. This created a huge hematoma that filled with blood the size of a sm. orange. the blood had nowhere to go so it started draining under the skin and pooled in her abdomen. Of course she was taken to the vet and put into compression bandaging to stop the bleeding which eventually it did. When it came time to spay this dog the vet was scared to death. She did go through the spay without any problems thank goodness. If I remember correctly her clotting factor was 9 this was done before I knew about the DNA testing and just trusted my vet to know what was best for my dog.  Later this same dog bumped her eye on something and went blind from bleeding behind the eye. Other vWd affected dogs that I personally have known have gone through horrendous surgeries such as TPLO's and no problems whatsoever. I also know many people that have bred affected females and they didn't have any problems delivering (something I would NEVER want to risk) You just never know when it will present itself or "IF" it will at all.

If it were me I would order the DNA test and find out the results of that before you make any decisions. Especially since the vet will want to charge you one heck of a lot more to do what would otherwise be a simple neuter. This test will arm you with knowledge you might want to share with your vet.

Good luck,

Q Tip's picture
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Thank you so much for that RND I could  hug you. Armed with that information I rang the vet and yes they do use the Elsia test, and sadly the whole country is outdated as the test hasnt arrived in NZ yet.  I couldnt speak to my vet but the vet nurse explained that 'the Elisa gives a more quantative analysis' and with Q's low numbers she wouldnt want to take that risk.
I do see however that I can actually order the test myself online and once the swabs are taken I can send them back to America.
I think I will leave the nuetering for now... :)

Another thought have you had his thyroid checked? We do a complete thyroid panel that is sent out to Michigan University. The vet does the blood draw and it is sent in to them rather than the local labs. This way you get a complete look at the thyroid. This is something that could effect the Elisay test. Start with the DNA and then if that confirms the numbers with the Elisay you can make decisions. Did your breeder use the DNA or Elisay? It would be interesting to know what both his sire and dam were. Let me know what you find out, you can email me privately.

Q Tip's picture
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:) Ok thanks for that, I seriously doubt that he has a thyroid problem but you never know.
His dam was an Australian dog which the breeder brought over to NZ. The swab in cheek test was used and the results were clear. his sire (Q was an IVF baby) was American/Canadian. I presume the test was the original blood one as he probably passed away a good few years ago.
My breeder is genuinely concerned about this and about the huge vet bill which was given as an estimate. She has said she will pay for the test. Ive told her to wait until the results come back which probably wont be for a month.
I'm ordering from vetgen today so it should get here in a couple of days. I will let you know the results as soon as i get them.

So if his sire was done via DNA swab and was a clear then it would be impossible for Q to be an affected. If Q's Dam was even affected it would put all those puppies as carriers. If she was a carrier then 50/50 clear or carrier. I'm looking forward to hearing what this ends up as.

glengate's picture
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I'm pretty sure that there is an Australian version of VetGen.  I know they have an Australian spokesperson.  Let me see if I can find out that info. 

In the meanwhile, there certainly are a number of vets that have a huge over-reaction to vWD in Dobermans.  I've got some stories myself. 

glengate's picture
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In Australia, it's called GenTest.

Contact: Inge Craik 
Address: P.O. Box 239, 2168 Miller, Australia 
Cell: 0400 800667
E-mail: eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%61%63%69%72%6f%40%6f%7a%65%6d%61%69%6c%2e%63%6f%6d%2e%61%75%22%3e%61%63%69%72%6f%40%6f%7a%65%6d%61%69%6c%2e%63%6f%6d%2e%61%75%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')) 

XandersMom's picture
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My fingers are crossed that the tests will come back showing that Q is healthy.  What a scare.

Please keep us updated.

Should all dobies be tested?  I will have to double check with our breeder, but to be safe, should we have Xander tested as well? 

thank you Glengate for that info.

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"Should all dobies be tested?  I will have to double check with our breeder, but to be safe, should we have Xander tested as well?"

IMO, yes, this is something that all Dobermans should be tested for unless their DNA status is known via parentage.  There are a few genetic parent combinations that only provide one result for their offspring (for eg.  affected X affected = all affected offspring, affected X clear = carrier offspring, clear X clear = clear offspring.  One wouldn't need to test puppies from those combinations.)

Clear and carrier puppies/dogs will not have vWD clotting problems.  Affecteds *might* have problems.  Most of them live normal lives.  Some of them do not.  Some of them may be ok for a period of time because they say that von Willebrand factor is at an all time high in young dogs and decreases as they age.  Additionally, affected dogs may become symptomatic as a secondary situation.  For instance, I used to have an affected bitch that was fine for most of her life but when she started to have liver issues, then she didn't clot normally.  Some affected dogs have enough vW factor to get them through one trauma but better not have another too soon. 

Anyway, one should always be prepared when they own an affected dog.  It's wise to know this ahead of time.  Owners of affected dogs should make sure their vets keep plasma on hand (not every vet does).  The affected dogs can benefit from precautions like having cryoprecipitate (probably spelled wrong!) given prior to surgery or a shot of DDAVP, etc. 

Responsible breeders will inform their buyers ahead of time of what status the puppies will have.  For instance, my last 2 litters were Clear X Carrier so I was able to tell the puppy buyers their puppies would be either clear or carrier and were at no vWD risk.  I provided them with the VetGen contact info so they could test if they wanted although it was not technically necessary.  Obviously, I also provided them with photocopies of the results of the parents so there was no questio

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:) Thank you Glengate for that info...funny enough when i pressed the 'check out button' for Vetgen it automatically transferred to its sister site in OZ. I was able to ring them and as luck would have it there is an agent in NZ :) and even more amazing is she only lives a stones throw away. (40km) i am taking Q over on Saturday for his swab test and the agent states the return on that is ten working days. Those extra aids you mention were what the vet wanted to give to Q prior to his neutering.
I also picked up his bloodworks today from the vet and am trying  not to to stress out too much about his VW factor range of 19.0 The ranges state Normal 71-180, Carrier <50. Carrier prone to heamorrhage<36.
The rest of his bloodworks look good, with his red blood cell count and haemoglobin being well within range. So I'm going to stay positive.
Thanks for your well wishes Xandersmum I'm sure Q is going to be fine...I also wonder if i can increase his clotting factors with food stuffs. Parsley :) for example is one food that has high amounts of Vit K.(we use that sometimes when humans overdose on warfarin). Garlic on the other hand can actually thin blood and increase bruising. If Q is a carrier I also need to be aware of medications like aspirin and antiimflammatory drugs which would harm rather than help heal.
So its just a waiting game for now :) but i will keep you all informed
Thanks once again for all the wonderful information...sometimes there is just too much stuff on google its good to have you there :)
Ria

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I have always heard to NEVER give a dog aspirin as it can be harmful. Maybe this was the reason. And over the years I have had many vets send me home with pain pills for a dog after a surgery, but was never instructed or advised to give aspirin, but then never really told not to either. But, then I have never given my dogs anything that a vet did not approve when asked.

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:) I think i also read somewhere that paracetamol can kill dogs, not sure if that is true? I asked the vet if parsley was an ok food...he just shrugged his shoulders and said well at least his breath will be sweet :) he knows I'm a tad alternative and humours me half the time. But i like homeopathic remedies and i know there are dog homeopaths aournd.
I also wonder how many dogs in this country are carriers without their owners knowing...it was only because of Q's neutering that i found out.

Q Tip wrote:

I also wonder how many dogs in this country are carriers without their owners knowing...it was only because of Q's neutering that i found out.

Remember being a carrier is not the problem (maybe you meant to say affected) it is how that carrier is bred. That is why it is so important to find a REPUTABLE breeder that does all health testing. It is equally as important as buyers that they know what effects the breed and ask questions before considering a puppy. I bet if you ask the people on this list that MAJORITY of them have no clue what their dog's vWD status is. They have no clue if they have clears, affected, of carrier. Many of these same people will go on and breed their dogs perpetuating the problem.

vWD is ONE problem that this breed faces their are others such as Cardiomypathy that kills are dogs left an right. You can have a perfectly normal behaving 3 year old one day and it will be running in the yard the next and drop dead. Health testing is important if you are considering buying a doberman puppy.

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:) Ok I have Q's results back from Vetgen and Q is a Carrier. A huge relief as there would be no way to wrap this dog in cotton wool should he have been an 'affected'  :) Only yesterday he fell off the deck onto his side in his hurry to get out into the garden after a swan crashed into the back fence. No hematoma or bruising thank goodness ;) and the swan.. once recovered from his crash walked out the back gate. :D
So I havnt given the breeder the results yet as i wanted to make sure of something. Question? I'm assuming that one or both of Q's parents were carriers. I was informed that both were clear when i made enquiries about buying Q.
Is there any chance it can miss a generation like in other genetic diseases or would it have to have come from either Q's Dam or Sire?
Thanks very much for all the good info. It really pays to see all the paperwork involvled in getting a pup and not just taking somebodies word.
Ria

glengate's picture
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A carrier can be a product of any of the following combinations:

affected X carrier
carrier X carrier
carrier X clear
affected X clear

This is a simple recessive.  It doesn't skip generations.  The offspring are a direct result of what the parents are. 

See aren't you glad that you did the proper test. Now you can neuter him without having to pay an exorbitant amount of money. That is why the old tests are just not reliable. If you had listened to your vet and took his word Q would be in the affected category which he is clearly not.

I heard just for anyone interested that the DPCA was going to carry vWD clinics at the discounted price.

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:) Very glad that I did get the test done, because even now when i look at Q's blood work papers with those low numbers I still find it scary.
Sadly the vets here in Northland dont recognise the Vetgen DNA tests and my vet wont do the neutering without taking all the precautions of having plasma etc on board. Fair enough.
I am happy to leave Q;s neutering at the moment he is still just a big soft puppy at almost a year old ;D
I do have a vet friend in Auckland( 2 hour drive away)  who has a bigger practice and is happy to do it will plan that for the new year. :)