This popular title is WRONG. Correct is:
vWD = von Willebrand DEFECT
von Willebrand is a defect: An inherited deficiency in the blood clotting factor vWF (von Willebrand Factor), a fibrin protein that in healthy individuals helps the blood's platelets to bond, forming a clot that stops the bleeding.
vWD describes the condition that there is a mutation existing in the genetic code that causes prolonged bleeding after injury, surgery, dental work or the like in every dog that has this mutation.
As with people, vWD in dogs has been classified into three types: vWD type 1, 2, and 3, with a further four subtypes of type 2: A, B, M, and N. All based on the concentration and quality of plasma vWF in the affected dog or person.
It is now known that vWD type 1, 2A, 2B, and 2M are subject to dominant inheritance (one vWD parent is enough to pass it on), while vWD type 2N and type 3 are subject to recessive inheritance (only passed on when both parents have it).
Fortunately, the vast majority of both people and dogs have vWD type 1, the mildest form of bleeding defect. So mild that most people and dog owners don't know they have it.
Note that only DNA testing provides assurance over vWD, an ELISA antibody blood test does not because the amount of vWF in the blood naturally fluctuates over time. However, these days DNA testing whether a dog carries the defect or not can be done with simple mouth swab DNA test kits.
Who Suffers vWD
vWD equally affects male and female dogs alike because the gene mutation is not on the sex chromosome (X).
- vWD type 1: ~70% of all vWD cases, the mildest form, affected are a wide variety of dog breeds, foremost (in this order): Doberman, Manchester Terrier, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Poodle.
- vWD type 2 and all subtypes: ~25% of all vWD cases, affected are almost only pointing breeds, like the German Wirehaired Pointer.
- vWD type 3: <5% of all vWD cases, the most severe form, affected are primarily Shetland Sheepdogs and Scottish Terriers.
Fortunately, vWD in German Shepherd Dogs is rare compared to all those breeds above (any type of vWD).
Since vWD is hereditary, both parent dogs of the commonly affected breeds should be tested for this defect before breeding. Genetic testing is of importance also because an affected dog should not be administered certain drugs (see further below). And if done during bleeding episodes then administering those drugs can be fatal!
Be aware that vWD does not always show as external bleeding, it can be hidden internal bleeding, most commonly bleeding into joints. This then misleads ordinary allopathic vets to believe the dog has ordinary Arthritis - which with dogs 6 years of age and younger should never be accepted as diagnosis: such young dogs almost certainly have something else.
Remember here that allopathic vets don't diagnose the cause of a condition, only mere symptoms, and for example bleeding into joints triggers the same symptoms as Arthritis. Hence why when they only look at symptoms and they fail to address the cause, they never achieve cure - and soon you go back with more symptoms.
- prolonged nosebleeds that seem inexplicable
- prolonged gum bleeding that seems inexplicable
- prolonged bleeding from minor cuts to paws or elsewhere
- black and tarry stool or blood in the stool that seems inexplicable
- blood in the urine that seems inexplicable
- Arthritis symptoms in young dogs, where in fact these symptoms may result from bleeding into the joints.
What is "prolonged" bleeding?
The normal bleeding time depends on where the bleeding occurs, and can be anywhere between 1 to 10 minutes. This means, if your dog is bleeding anywhere on the body for more than 10 minutes, the cause could be an inherited bleeding defect, or rarely the trigger could be an acquired bleeding disorder.
Prolonged bleeding is a big risk: Without immediate medical attention an injured dog or person may bleed to death. Surgery is high risk too, despite that medical attention is right there.
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