Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs: Origins, Symptoms, and Treatment

Even while we take all reasonable precautions to keep our dogs safe, accidents can still happen. They frequently exhibit a raucous and exuberant nature, so it is usual for them to sustain minor injuries. While we should always give first aid and keep an eye on them, these cuts and scrapes typically heal very rapidly on their own. If your dog’s wounds take a long time to heal, you should be concerned. Even worse, you might notice that your dog suddenly starts bleeding from the nose or gums.

Willebrand, Von Dog Disease

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Canine Von Willebrand disease results from the absence of the Von Willebrand factor protein, causing blood coagulation issues and abnormal platelet union due to its role in blood clotting factor VII.

Von Willebrand disease in dogs is classified into three types based on the function and concentration of VW factor in the blood. These diseases affect over 50 dog breeds and have mild to moderate symptoms. Type 1 is the most common, causing mild to moderate symptoms. Type 2 causes moderate to severe symptoms, inherited as a recessive trait, and Type 3 causes severe to very severe symptoms due to a complete lack of VWF.

symptoms of canine Von Willebrand disease

Once the dog reaches the age of one year, the disease’s most severe signs become visible. The disease’s symptoms include:

bleeding from your gums or mouth

excessive bleeding when baby teeth fall out

Nasal bleeding, or epistaxis

stool with blood

excessive bleeding from the cervix during pregnancy or childbirth

Hematuria (urine with blood)


excessive bleeding following trauma or surgery

excessive bruising on the skin that doesn’t seem to be related

Willebrand, Von Dog Disease 2

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Most canines with Von Willebrand disease have only moderate signs, which frequently follow more serious lesions or abrasions. Especially with type 1, diagnosis frequently occurs only during surgery. The dog’s symptoms often go better as it grows and gets older, but if irregular bleeding is noticeable, a medical visit is advised. A buccal mucosa bleeding time (BMBT) blood test, which gauges how quickly a small gum-related wound heals, is used to establish the diagnosis. To find out if the dog is a disease carrier, a DNA test may also be used.

Species affected by Von Willebrand disease

There are some breeds that are more likely to contain the gene that causes Von Willebrand disease because it is a genetic ailment. Additionally, the type of VWD will affect this. We list the canine breeds that are most likely to possess the gene below:

Type 1: Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Poodle, Schnauzer, Shetland Sheepdog, Airedale Terrier, Akita Inu, Bernese Mountain Dog, Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, Manchester Terrier, and others.

German Shorthaired Pointers and German Wirehaired Pointers exhibit Type 2, which is uncommon in many breeds.

Type 3 includes the Blue Heeler, Border Collie, Bull Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, Kooikerhondje, Labrador Retriever, Pomeranian, Scottish Terrier, and Shetland Sheepdog.

Von Willebrand disease in dogs has no cure, but it can be controlled with certain treatments. The main symptom is diffuse bleeding, which can be fatal. First aid, such as bandages and pressure bandages, can control bleeding until blood coagulates and vascular lesions are repaired. Skin glue and sutures can be used under veterinary supervision. It is important to prevent scratching the wound and take extra precautions during surgical operations. Veterinarians may administer drugs acting as coagulants or provide blood or plasma transfusions to restore VWF levels.

Dogs with type 1 Von Willebrand disease typically have mild or moderate symptoms, which may improve over time. It’s important to be cautious with these dogs, as small wounds and bruises can take time to heal. Preventing rough play, chewing toys, and sharp objects can help. Type 2 and 3 dogs have more severe symptoms, requiring coagulant medications, surgical interventions, and supervision. Avoiding anticoagulant or antiplatelet properties, NSAIDs, and certain high-dose food supplements is crucial. It’s essential to consult a veterinarian before administering any medication, especially human medications.