Excessive Blood Clotting in Dogs
Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC) in Dogs
Clotting factors, such as proteins in the blood plasma, are components of the bloodstream, coordinating with platelet cells to stop bleeding at the site of an injury by forming into a gel-like plug. Platelets are normal cell fragments that originate in the bone marrow and travel in the blood as it circulates through the body. Platelets act to plug tears in the blood vessels and stop bleeding.
Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) is a bleeding problem in which clotting factors are activated with an absence of injury. Micro clots form within the blood vessels, and the clotted material goes on to consume platelets and proteins, using them up and leaving a lack of sufficient clotting factors and platelets. This condition can lead to a disruption in normal blood flow to the organs and excessive bleeding, both external and internal.
DIC occurs secondarily and in response an existing diseased condition. There is no breed, gender or age predisposition, though this condition is more common in dogs than in cats.
Symptoms and Types
Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated this condition, such as possible run-ins with an insect or venomous animal. Standard tests include a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, an electrolyte panel and a urinalysis to look for underlying systemic disease that is causing this response. Some of the possible concurrent conditions that will be found are anemia – fragmented red blood cells (RBCs) will be indicative of this; and thrombocytopenia – a low platelet count.
A blood clotting profile will be performed on your dog's blood to measure the time it takes to clot. Blood tests will show low levels of fibrinogen, increased D-dimers and decreased antithrombin-III (factors in the clotting process) if your dog is being affected by disseminated intravascular coagulation.
When thrombocytopenia is found occurring along with a prolonged clotting time and spontaneous bleeding, DIC may be safely assumed to be the conclusive diagnosis.
A cell that aids in clotting
Small purple or red spots on an animal’s skin; due to a small hemorrhage
Something that is related to the whole body and not just one particular part or organ
A type of nucleated cell used for clotting
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
A medical condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed
Less oxygen than normal in the blood
The end of the gastrointestinal tract; the opening at the end of the tract.
A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.
The widening of something
A type of anti coagulating medication or property
A type of protein that can be dissolved in water; found in milk, egg white, certain muscle, blood, and some urine.
A gland that aids in both digestive and insulin functions
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