Myeloproliferative Disorders in Dogs

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial
Published: February 14, 2010

Myeloproliferative Disorders are a group of disorders that involve excess cell production originating from the bone marrow. Although they are not associated with neoplastic tissues, like other cancers, myeloproliferative disorders are classified within blood cancers.

Symptoms and Types

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Anemia
  • Recurrent infections
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Weight loss
  • Enlargement of liver and spleen


The exact cause of myeloproliferative disorders in dogs is unknown.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. The veterinarian will then conduct a complete physical examination as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC), which should glean valuable information regarding the morphology of blood cells and other abnormalities. Blood testing may also reveal severe non-regenerative anemia, in which the bone marrow responds inadequately to the increased demand of red blood cells. Other abnormalities may include megaloblastic red blood cells (abnormally large red blood cells) or leukocytosis or leukopenia.

Abdominal X-rays are usually taken to reveal abnormal enlarging of the liver or spleen, while bone marrow biopsies reveal detailed information related to abnormalities in various cell line production and maturation.


Although no specific treatment has been developed for dogs with myeloproliferative disorders, antibiotics are used to treat and prevent secondary infections. You may need to consult a veterinary oncologist for further evaluation and treatment, including the use of chemotherapeutic agents.

In severe cases, your dog may need to hospitalized and undergo fluids therapy and blood transfusions to correct dehydration and anemia, respectively. Unfortunately, the prognosis of dogs suffering from these disorders is poor.

Living and Management

Regular blood testing and bone marrow examination is recommended during treatment to determine the dog's response to the therapy and the progression of the disorder. In addition, chemotherapeutic agents used in treatment are potentially toxic to humans and should only be after receiving instructions from your  veterinarian.

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