Try the New Jerky Treats! Chicken or Beef Flavored!

Shop Now
Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs

Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia (ITP) in Dogs: Causes and Symptoms

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) in dogs occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys platelets, decreasing the platelet count. A reduced platelet count causes bleeding disorders.

Platelets, or thrombocytes, are small, disc-shaped blood cells produced in the bone marrow. Platelets are crucial for hemostasis, which prevents and stops bleeding after blood vessel injury.Β 

The causes of immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs include underlying infections, neoplasia, inflammatory diseases, or drug reactions. Dog breeds genetically predisposed to immune-mediated thrombocytopenia include Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and Old English Sheepdogs. Symptoms of ITP in dogs include petechiae (red or purple skin spots), nosebleeds, oral bleeding, hematuria (blood in urine), bloody stool, lethargy, weakness, pale gums, increased heart and respiratory rate, excessive panting, and shock in severe cases.

What is Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs?

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) in dogs is an auto-immune disease that causes the immune system to attack and destroy platelets, leading to low platelet counts and bleeding issues. β€œImmune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an example of an auto-immune disease where the immune system destroys platelets within the body when they are misrecognized,” according to the report by Donoghue, E. titled β€œImmune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia,” 2019.

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs results in symptoms such as bruising, petechiae, or severe hemorrhagic episodes. ITP in dogs is triggered by infections, medications, or underlying dog conditions and is a severe condition requiring immediate treatment.

What is the importance of Platelets in Dogs?

The importance of Platelets in dogs lies in assisting in blood clot formation, preventing excessive bleeding, and promoting immune system response. Platelets or Thrombocytes are produced in the bone marrow and released into the blood system to promote coagulation or clotting when a blood vessel is damaged. Platelets adhere to damaged areas and release substances to initiate clotting. Blood clots are vital for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels. Thrombocytopenia in dogs results in low platelets in dogs, and the platelets are unable to function effectively, resulting in excessive bleeding. The prognosis is favorable if the dog gets fast treatment. 80% of dogs recover from ITP, while 20% are euthanized. Dogs do not die from low platelets if they receive swift treatment from a veterinarian to increase the platelet count.Β 

β€œCanine platelets play a crucial role in hemostasis, adhesion to the subendothelium, activation, and aggregation, leading to primary clot formation at injury sites and playing a role in wound healing and tissue repair,” according to the study by Cortese, L., Christopherson, P., & Pelagalli, A. titled β€œPlatelet Function and Therapeutic Applications in Dogs: Current Status and Future Prospects,” 2020.Β 

How common is Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs?

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) is common in dogs. ITP prevalence varies across breeds and age groups. β€œImmune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT) in dogs is a common disease with symptoms like lethargy, anorexia, mild pyrexia, low platelet count, and bleeding disorders,” according to the study by Holt, S., and Riley, I., β€œCanine immune-mediated thrombocytopenia,” 2019.

Cocker Spaniels, Old English Shepherds, and Poodles are dog breeds genetically predisposed to ITP, and middle-aged dogs, particularly female dogs, are susceptible to ITP.Β 

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia is not common in cats. β€œIMTP in cats is rare and often secondary to FeLV infection and associated neoplasia, with a guarded prognosis,” according to the study by Day, M. titled β€œImmune-mediated thrombocytopenia,” 1998.

Is ITP a Common Dog Autoimmune Disease?

Yes, ITP is a common dog autoimmune disease. β€œITP is a common dog autoimmune disease, along with many others,” according to the study by Gershwin, L. titled β€œAutoimmune diseases in small animals,” 2010. Β ITP is a dog autoimmune disease that results in the immune system targeting and destroying platelets.

Autoimmune diseases in dogs occur when the immune system mistakenly targets and destroys the body's cells, tissues, or organs. Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia is a common variant of autoimmune disease in dogs.Β 

What Causes Low Platelets in Dogs?

The causes of low platelets in dogs are listed below.

  • Infections: Infections, such as ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and tick-borne diseases, cause thrombocytopenia or low platelets in dogs.
  • Vaccinations: Dogs that react to vaccinations experience decreased platelet count, but it is rare.
  • Drug Reactions: Certain medications, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants, and chemotherapy agents, cause thrombocytopenia in dogs.
  • Underlying Diseases: Thrombocytopenia is a symptom of underlying diseases such as immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP), bone marrow disorders, certain cancers, liver disease, and kidney disease.
  • Genetic Factors: Some breeds are genetically predisposed to thrombocytopenia or related disorders that affect platelet count.
  • Environmental Factors: Exposure to environmental toxins, such as zinc and xylitol leads to thrombocytopenia in dogs.

Is Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs Hereditary?

Yes, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in Dogs is hereditary. ITP has a genetic component that predisposes certain dog breeds to the disorder. Dogs with a genetic predisposition to ITP include Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, and Sherperds.Β 

β€œCanine ITP is associated with a novel locus on canine chromosome 1, making it a potential hereditary model for discovering genetic loci and pathways associated with autoimmunity,” according to the study by LeVine, D., Makielski, K., Jeffery, U., Hayward, J., & Brooks, M. titled β€œCanine Immune Thrombocytopenia: A Translational Model to Fill the Gaps in the Genetic and Environmental Triggers of Adult ITP,” 2016.Β 

Can Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs Come on Suddenly?

Yes, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) in dogs can come on suddenly. The sudden onset of ITP signs, such as nosebleeds, small red spots on the skin, and blood in the stool or urine, requires prompt diagnosis and treatment to improve the prognosis and minimize the need for immune suppression.Β 

β€œPrimary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT) in dogs may be sudden and unexpected, with platelet counts, bone marrow analysis, and mean platelet volume being helpful in distinguishing it,” according to the study by Dircks, B., Schuberth, H., & Mischke, R. titled β€œUnderlying diseases and clinicopathologic variables of thrombocytopenic dogs with and without platelet-bound antibodies detected by use of a flow cytometric assay: 83 cases (2004-2006),” 2009.Β 

What are the Symptoms of Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs?

The symptoms of immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs are listed below.

  • Petechiae and Ecchymoses: Small red or purple spots (petechiae) or larger bruises (ecchymoses) on the skin, gums, or other mucous membranes are symptoms of dog low platelets.
  • Epistaxis: Nosebleeds occur spontaneously or after minor trauma due to the decreased ability of blood to clot properly.
  • Oral Bleeding: Bleeding from the mouth or gums is an ITP system resulting in blood-stained saliva or visible bleeding when eating or chewing toys.
  • Hematuria: Blood in the urine causes it to appear red or pinkish.
  • Bloody Stool: Blood in the stool is an immune-mediated thrombocytopenia symptom, which ranges from streaks of blood to stools that are entirely bloody.
  • Lethargy and Weakness: Dogs with ITP appear tired, weak, or lethargic due to anemia caused by blood loss.
  • Pale Gums: Anemia causes pale gums in dogs with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia. Pale gums are a symptom of decreased red blood cell count and oxygen-carrying capacity.
  • Increased Heart Rate and Respiratory Rate: The dog attempts to compensate for decreased oxygenation by increasing heart rate (tachycardia) and respiratory rate.
  • Excessive Panting: Dogs exhibit rapid or difficult breathing due to reduced oxygen levels in the blood as a symptom of ITP.
  • Collapse or Shock: In severe cases of ITP, dogs experience collapse or go into shock due to significant blood loss.

What does ITP in Dogs look like?

ITP in dogs looks like bruising, nosebleeds, and petechiae, which indicate severe thrombocytopenia.

Does Drinking water help manage ITP Symptoms in Dogs?

No, drinking water does not help manage ITP symptoms in dogs. Hydration is essential for dog health, but drinking water is unable to stop platelet destruction or manage ITP symptoms in dogs.Β 

Managing ITP symptoms in dogs starts with a comprehensive treatment approach based on blood smear analysis and prognosis.Β 

How is Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia Diagnosed?

Diagnosing immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) in dogs involves a series of tests, including imaging studies, blood smear analysis, CBC, and coagulation profiles to evaluate platelet counts and health status.Β 

β€œPlatelet counts, bone marrow analysis, and mean platelet volume may help differentiate between primary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and thrombocytopenia caused by other diseases in dogs,” according to the study by Dircks, B., Schuberth, H., & Mischke, R. titled β€œUnderlying diseases and clinicopathologic variables of thrombocytopenic dogs with and without platelet-bound antibodies detected by use of a flow cytometric assay: 83 cases (2004-2006),” 2009.

What are the Tests done to diagnose Low Platelets in Dogs?

The tests done to diagnose low platelets in dogs include blood exams, biopsy, screening tests, imaging studies, and response to treatment.

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) provides information about the composition of the blood, including red blood cell count, white blood cell count, and platelet count. A blood smear helps identify abnormalities in platelet morphology (size and shape) and assess platelet clumping, which affects accurate platelet counts.

Coagulation tests evaluate the blood's ability to clot properly, and bone marrow aspiration or biopsy evaluates bone marrow health.

Response to treatment provides diagnostic clues if the cause of thrombocytopenia is unclear. An immune-mediated cause is likely where a dog’s low platelets improve after immunosuppressive therapy.

How serious are Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia Dogs?

Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) in dogs is a serious condition that impacts the prognosis and potential complications. β€œImmune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs is a serious but treatable condition, with a lower recurrence rate than previously reported, and the presence of melena or high BUN concentrations suggests a poor prognosis,” according to the study by O'Marra, S., Delaforcade, A., & Shaw, S. titled β€œTreatment and predictors of outcome in dogs with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia,” 2011.

Managing ITP in dogs requires close monitoring and fast treatment due to the risk of internal bleeding and other complications, such as infections and reactions to medications.Β 

The prognosis worsens when a dog fails to respond to standard treatment and its quality of life declines. Twenty percent of dogs with ITP die or are euthanized.Β 

What is the Life Expectancy of Dogs with ITP?

The life expectancy of dogs with ITP varies depending on the severity of the condition, the response to therapy, and the quality of veterinary medical care provided. β€œPrimary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs is a rare but potentially treatable condition, with a recurrence rate of 26% and a survival rate of 93%,” according to the study by Putsche, J., & Kohn, B. titled β€œPrimary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in 30 dogs (1997-2003),” 2008.

Quality veterinary care is critical to the ITP in dog survival rate.

Is Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs Fatal?

Yes, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs is fatal. β€œThe mortality rate in dogs with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) was 58%,” according to the study by Carr, A., Panciera, D., & Kidd, L. titled β€œPrognostic factors for mortality and thromboembolism in canine immune-mediated hemolytic anemia: a retrospective study of 72 dogs,” 2002.Β 

ITP is a life-threatening condition in dogs. Untreated, severe cases of ITP lead to uncontrolled bleeding, organ damage, and death. The ITP treatment choice is crucial in survival rates in dogs.Β 

What are the Treatments for Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs?

The treatments for immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs are listed below.

  • Corticosteroids: Prednisone or prednisolone is commonly prescribed to suppress the immune system's abnormal response and decrease platelet destruction. Immunosuppressive Drugs: Immunosuppressive medications such as azathioprine, cyclosporine, or mycophenolate are prescribed to further suppress the immune system in cases where corticosteroids alone are ineffective or if a dog does not tolerate them.
  • Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) Therapy: Intravenous administration of immunoglobulins from healthy blood donors is given in severe cases and helps modulate the immune response and increase platelet count.
  • Plasma Transfusion: Transfusion of fresh frozen plasma or whole blood provides clotting factors and increases platelet levels rapidly in dogs with severe bleeding or critically low platelet counts.
  • Bone Marrow Suppression: Medications such as vincristine or cyclophosphamide suppress bone marrow activity and reduce platelet destruction in severe or refractory ITP cases.
  • Monitoring and Supportive Care: Closely monitoring platelet counts, blood clotting parameters, and clinical signs is essential during treatment for immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs.Β 

How long does it take for Dogs to recover from ITP?

The recovery period for dogs with immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) varies depending on the severity of the condition, the medications' effectiveness, and any complications.

β€œMedian platelet recovery time for dogs with ITP is 2.5 days,” according to the study by Balog, K., Huang, A., Sum, S., Moore, G., Thompson, C., & Scott-Moncrieff, J. titled β€œA prospective randomized clinical trial of vincristine versus human intravenous immunoglobulin for acute adjunctive management of presumptive primary immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs,” 2013.

Can Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia be cured at home?

No, immune-mediated thrombocytopenia cannot be cured at home. The condition requires professional diagnosis and treatment interventions to address the underlying platelet count issues effectively.Β 

Home-based ITP support complements medical interventions by focusing on lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a well-balanced diet and avoiding strenuous physical activities that exacerbate the condition.

How to Increase Dog Platelet Count at Home?

The ways to increase a dog's platelet count at home are listed below.

  • Provide a Balanced Diet: Ensure dogs receive a balanced and nutritious diet appropriate for their age, size, and health status.Β 
  • Supplement with Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements have anti-inflammatory properties that benefit dogs with immune-mediated conditions like thrombocytopenia.Β 
  • Limit Stress: Stress negatively impacts immune function. Create a calm and comfortable environment for dogs, minimize exposure to stressful situations, and provide plenty of relaxation and mental stimulation opportunities.
  • Regular Exercise: Moderate exercise helps maintain health and stimulates circulation, which supports platelet production and function. Avoid strenuous activities or rough play, which increases the risk of injury and bleeding.
  • Maintain Good Hygiene: Clean the dog's living area, groom regularly, and maintain proper dental care.Β 

How can CBD Oil help treat Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia in Dogs?

CBD oil can help treat immune-mediated thrombocytopenia in dogs by positively affecting immune system regulation and treatment outcomes. β€œCBD is immune suppressive, promoting regulatory cells and suppressing immune cell activation through direct suppression, induction of apoptosis, and promotion of regulatory cells,” according to the study by Nichols, J., & Kaplan, B. titled β€œImmune Responses Regulated by Cannabidiol,” 2020.

CBD oil helps reduce inflammation and pain and supports the well-being of dogs suffering from ITP. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD oil promotes homeostasis and regulates the immune response, mitigating the severity of ITP symptoms. Using CBD oil for pets in conjunction with traditional treatments offers a promising integrative approach to improving the prognosis of dogs with ITP.

How can Boosting a Dog's immune System help prevent ITP in Dogs?

The ways boosting a dog's immune system helps prevent ITP in dogs are listed below.Β 

  • Balanced Nutrition: Essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, play key roles in immune system regulation and response and help prevent ITP in dogs.Β 
  • Regular Exercise: Moderate exercise helps maintain health and supports immune function. Physical activity stimulates circulation, promotes lymphatic drainage, reduces stress, and provides a dog immune system boost.Β 
  • Stress Management: Minimizing stressors in your dog's environment is essential for immune health.Β 
  • Good Hygiene Practices: Good hygiene helps prevent infections and reduces the risk of triggering autoimmune reactions.Β 
  • Vaccination and Preventive Care: Following a veterinarian-recommended vaccination schedule and tick preventive medications help protect the dog's immune system.Β 
  • Supplementation: Supplementing your dog's diet with immune-supporting nutrients or supplements, such as probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins, CBD oil, or herbal supplements with immunomodulatory properties.Β 

What is the ITP Prognosis?

The prognosis for ITP in dogs varies depending on the response to treatments, bone marrow abnormalities, and the development of specific antibodies that impact long-term outcomes. β€œ70-90% of dogs with ITP recover, but a poor prognosis for patients with black tarry stool, increased BUN or severe enough to warrant blood transfusion,” according to the report by Brooks, W., titled β€œImmune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia (IMT),” 2003.

Successful management of ITP in dogs involves closely monitoring the response to initial treatment protocols, which include corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and supportive care to maintain platelet levels. Dogs that respond well to these therapies often have a more favorable prognosis, with a chance of achieving long-term remission.