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    Learn everything you should know about Von Willebrand Disease remedies today.

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      • Von Willebrand Disease (vWD) is a common health issue in Dobermans. It is a bleeding disease just like hemophilia in humans that can put Dobermans life at risk from surgery or injury. Although it exists in other breeds, such as Poodles, Shelties, Scottish Terriers and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, it is most common in Dobermans.
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    How is von Willebrand disease diagnosed?

    What is von Willebrand's panel?

    What is von Willebrand's?

  2. It is now understood that the mutation in the Von Willebrand’s factor gene in the Doberman causes faulty production 90 to 95% of the time, but 5 to 10% of the time the factor produced is normal and fully functional.

    • Background
    • Clinical Signs
    • Treatment
    • Laboratory Diagnosis
    • Inheritance

    von Willebrand Disease(abbreviated vWD) is an inherited bleeding disorder caused by lack of von Willebrand factor protein (vWF). This protein circulates in the blood stream and must be present at the site of blood vessel injury in order to control bleeding from that vessel. Von Willebrand disease is a distinct disorder, it is not hemophilia.

    Clinical signs of vWD range from a mild to severe bleeding tendency. Dogs may "carry" the vWD trait without expressing a bleeding tendency. Severe vWD causes spontaneous bleeding from the nose, mouth, and urinary, reproductive or intestinal tracts. Uncontrollable bleeding may occur after surgery. Dewclaw removal and teething may cause excessive bleeding in vWD-affected pups. Infections, endocrine disorders, and certain medications may exacerbate signs of bleeding in vWD-affected dogs.

    Treatment of a severe bleeding episode requires transfusion of canine blood products. There is no drug, vitamin, hormone, or dietary modification that can induce production of vWF. Bleeding from minor injuries may be controlled using sutures, bandages or wound glue. Affected dogs should not be given drugs that interfere with normal blood clotting mechanisms. These drugs include aspirin, sulfa-type antibiotics, and heparin.

    Laboratory diagnosis of vWD is most often based on results of von Willebrand factor antigen assay (abbreviated vWF:Ag). This test measures the amount or concentration of vWF in a blood sample. The Comparative Coagulation Section reports each dog's result as %vWF:Ag compared to a 100% standard. Dogs having low plasma vWF:Ag (below 50%) are at risk for transmitting or expressing the vWD trait. In general, the most severely affected dogs have marked reduction in plasma vWF:Ag, with values of less than 15%. The methods used to draw, process, and ship samples are important for accurate results. Samples containing clots or hemolysis (red cell breakdown) are the most likely to yield inaccurate or unreproducible results. Use of a standard sampling technique ensures optimum sample quality. Plasma vWF levels fluctuate from day to day in normal, healthy dogs. This fluctuation is exaggerated during pregnancy or heat in bitches, and in any dog having a systemic illness (especially liver disease...

    Inheritance and expression patterns of vWD differ between breeds. All males and females have 2 vWF genes, one inherited from dam and one from sire. In many breeds, the presence of 1 abnormal vWF gene appears sufficient to cause abnormal bleeding in some (but not all) dogs. Dogs having 2 abnormal genes express the most severe forms of vWD. Breeding Recommendations Use vWD diagnostic ranges as guidelines to reduce the prevalence of vWD within a family or line, without discriminating against all dogs in that line. Screening for vWD will ensure that no severely affected puppies are produced. Dogs that test in the normal range (vWF:Ag greater than 70%) are ideal for use in breeding programs. Matings between 2 vWD test-clear parents are predicted to produce only vWD clear pups. Progeny testing (testing parents and entire litter) is useful for confirming predicted genetic status based on a single vWF:Ag value. Progeny testing can help clarify the status of a borderline range parent. In som...

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    • Von Willebrand Disease
    • Summary of Information
    • Clinical and Pathological Effects
    • Intensity of Welfare Impact
    • Duration of Welfare Impact
    • Number of Animals Affected
    • Diagnosis
    • Genetics
    • How Do You Know If An Animal Is A Carrier Or Likely to Become Affected?
    • Methods and Prospects For Elimination of The Problem

    Related terms: von Willebrand’s disease Outline:Dogs with von Willibrand Disease are at risk of excessive and prolonged bleeding in relation to the scale of tissue injury because of low blood concentration of a factor involved in the blood clotting system. It is caused by an autosomal recessive gene. Bleeding can cause pain when it occurs within a confined space, such as into a joint or within the skull, and profound blood loss can cause discomfort through weakness and nausea and lead to collapse and death. Such severe adverse effects can occur but are not common in Dobermans as, although 25% are at risk of abnormal bleeding, the type of the disease that occurs in Doberman pinschers is usually relatively mild. A genetic test is available that can detect which animals have the gene. It should be possible to eliminate the disease by breeding only from unaffected animals.

    (for more information click on the links below) 1. Brief description Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is a common abnormality of the process by which blood clots. In Doberman pinschers the problems caused by vWD are relatively mild. Excessive bleeding may occur in some circumstances, for example when affected animals are teething or in season. Some dogs do bleed spontaneously and their owner’s may see episodes of bleeding from the mouth or nose, or blood in the urine or from the urogenital tract. Bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract is most likely to show as melaena (dark coloured faeces) as the blood is partially digested by the time it appears in the faeces. Unlike other defects of primary haemostasis (the process by which a clot is formed, characterized by constriction of the blood vessel at the sight of the damage and adhesion of clot forming platelets to form a soft plug), bleeding into body cavities such as joints or inside the brain is unusual in vWD. Typically the problem sh...

    Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is a common abnormality of the blood clotting system. Because of this abnormality, there is a tendency for affected animals to bleed easily, either spontaneously or with mild trauma, and for bleeding to be excessive in relation to the scale of the injury. There are three main components to the clotting (haemostatic) system. In primary haemostasis a hole in a blood vessel wall is plugged by platelets (thrombocytes – the smallest cellular component of blood) which stick to the exposed, inner layers of the blood vessel wall. In secondary haemostasis a complex series of chemical reactions occur to produce a mat of the protein fibrin which binds to and stabilizes the platelet plug and provides a robust seal to prevent further bleeding. Tertiary haemostasisis the last phase when the clot is broken down as part of the healing process (Stokol 2005). Von Willebrand disease is a series of conditions involved with abnormalities of von Willebrand factor vWF. Von Wil...

    The suffering caused by vWD depends on the severity of the bleeding associated with the disease and where the bleeding occurs. Bleeding does not usually cause pain, unless the bleeding is into a confined space such as a joint or within the skull. In these cases, the pressure of the blood can cause severe pain. Blood loss causes weakness, feelings of illness and nausea and, if severe, collapse, seizures and death. Interventions to treat dogs suffering from the effects of vWD may also have adverse welfare consequences – associated with the stress of travel for veterinary treatment and the treatment itself, which may involve, in serious cases, hospitalisation with intensive care such as blood transfusions. Return to top

    The duration of welfare problems with vWD is likely to be relatively short, lasting from days to weeks for each episode of bleeding. Most dogs will have only one episode of disease. Return to top

    Stokol et al(1995) studied vWD in Australian Dobermans prior to the availability of genetic testing and determined which dogs were affected on the basis of concentrations of von Willibrand Factor (vWF) in the blood. They found that 17% of 614 Dobermans examined had had episodes of the disease during a five year period. The disease episodes were mostly considered to be mild or moderate but eight dogs had had severe bleeds and two had died. Of the 373 Dobermans found to have vWF levels less than 50% of normal, 107 had had an episode of bleeding. A commercial genetic test for type 1 vWD in Doberman pinschers has been developed by the company, Vetgen. This company found that 26-35 % of Dobermans tested (mostly in the USA) were homozygous for mutation of the normal gene (possessed two copies of the mutation) and, thus, susceptible to abnormal bleeding. 48-49% were found to be heterozygous and 16-25 % were found to be homozygous for the normal gene (

    Von Willibrand disease is suspected in Doberman pinscher’s when an individual has apparently abnormal and excessive bleeding into the mouth or elsewhere that is beyond what might be expected, or when there is excessive bleeding during surgery. Dobermans have often been tested prior to elective surgeries such as neutering. The diagnosis can be confirmed by various blood tests that assess primary and secondary haemostasis and the blood concentration of vWF. The latter test is usually an ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunoabsorbant Assay). It is quite reliable but equivocal results are sometimes seen because vWF concentrations naturally vary quite widely (see above). The results show vWF concentration as a percentage of the average concentration in normal dogs, from 0% to 180%. Results greater than 100% are possible as some normal dogs have greater concentrations of vWF than average. Dobermans with clinical signs of vWD usually have levels of less than 10% of normal. Dogs with levels greater t...

    The genetics of vWD have been investigated (Rieger et al 1998, Brook et al2001). It has found to be a single gene, autosomal recessive, condition in which the normal gene is affected by a splice site mutation. This results in a reduced rate of vWF production. Dogs that do not have the condition have two normal genes and half of the total vWF in the body is produced by each gene (Moser et al 1996b). Heterozygous dogs, those that posses one normal and one abnormal copy of the gene, have blood concentrations about half that in normal dogs (Stockham & Scott 2002), but only rarely show mild signs of the disease. Dogs in which both copies of the gene are of the mutant form have low blood concentrations of vWF (about 10% of normal). Return to top

    Von Willibrand disease used to be detected by measuring blood concentration of vWF. Stockholm and Scott (2005) suggested that dogs with concentrations less than 35% of normal may be affected clinically on occasions, those with concentrations of 30 and 50% of normal have a small risk of mild disease, and that those with concentrations greater than 70% of normal are at no risk of clinical disease and are unlikely to be carriers. More recently, a genetic test has become available that clearly shows whether an individual has two copies of the mutant gene (homozygous affected) that causes the Type I vWD that occurs in Doberman pinschers, one copy (heterozygous carrier) or no copies (homozygous normal). Details are available at: ( This can be used to test puppies for the presence of the gene prior to purchase. Return to top

    Using the genetic test, it is possible to discriminate between homozygous affected, heterozygous carrier, and homozygous normal Doberman pinschers. The test can be run on a saliva sample from a mouth swab or using a blood sample and can be used prior to breeding age so there is no need to ever breed from a Doberman with an unknown status for the disease. Advice has been provided by Vetgen ( regarding a breeding programme for Dobermans but it is not clear whether this is being implemented. This advice is that it is best to breed from normal parents, or to mate one normal with one heterozygous parent. Dogs produced in these ways will not have clinical disease. It is also suggested that, it may be acceptable to mate an affected animal with an unaffected one, if the affected one is particularly valuable. In this context we suggest that the dog’s value should be assessed in terms of its importance to breeding strategies to eliminate genetic disea...

  3. Inheritance of von Willebrand's disease in a colony of Doberman Pinschers. von Willebrand's disease is transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait with variable penetrance; most dogs in this colony (89.3%) were carriers of vWD. Homozygosity for vWD is not likely to be lethal.

    • Joyce Riehl, Mutsumi Okura, Emmanuel Mignot, Seiji Nishino
    • 16
    • 2000
  4. The deficient protein is called von Willebrand factor (vWF). Which breeds are most commonly affected by vWD? At least thirty different breeds are affected, but the Doberman Pinscher is the breed with the highest incidence of vWD. Of 15,000 Dobermans screened in a research study, more than 70% were found to be carriers of the disease.

  5. Von Willebrand is protein in the wihite blood cell that causes the blood to clot. DNA only indicates genetic make up and/or if the factor is missing or your a carrier. Von Willebrand is not isolated to Dobermans but in fact effects over 50 breeds or dogs and cats as well as humans.

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