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Low Platelets in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. May 6, 2019
Low Platelets in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Platelets coagulate blood, helping it to bind together in cases of leaking blood vessels or broken clots. If a dog has a low platelet count, it hinders its body’s ability to control bleeding. In addition, low platelets in dogs can lead to hemorrhages of both greater or lesser severity. A dog’s platelet count measured with a blood test which should only be performed by a veterinarian. If your dog has a low platelet count, you should follow your veterinarian’s guidelines about how to treat this accordingly.

For more about the low platelet in dogs causes and treatment, keep reading here at AnimalWised.


  1. Thrombocytopenia in dogs
  2. Low platelet count in dogs: symptoms
  3. Low platelet count in dogs: causes
  4. How to increase blood count in dogs

Thrombocytopenia in dogs

Thrombocytopenia, also known as a low platelet count in dogs, could cause a dog to bleed out. In addition, because a low platelet count does not allow blood to coagulate, it can cause intense internal bleeding which can result in shock and even death[1].

What is a normal platelet count for a dog?

A dog’s platelet count is determined by extracting and analyzing a blood sample. If your dog has a high or low platelet count, a veterinarian will have to diagnose the cause. Thrombocytopenia in dogs causes may caused insufficient platelet production, platelet destruction or excessive consumption. Often, thrombocytopenia symptoms only occur in more severe cases.

On the other hand, a high platelet count in dogs could cause thrombi, otherwise known as thrombocytosis, which is very rare in dogs.

Normal platelet counts in dogs are between 175,000 - 500,000. For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss how to understand a dog’s blood test.

Low Platelets in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment - Thrombocytopenia in dogs

Low platelet count in dogs: symptoms

The most common symptoms of low platelets in dogs are hemorrhages. Hemorrhages are when a dog suffers from a wound which does not stop bleeding. Other thrombocytopenia in dogs symptoms include:

  • Excessive bruising.
  • Bleeding from the nose and/or mucous membranes.
  • Apparent blood in dog’s mouth.
  • Petechiae: hairless patches inside the ears, mouth or on the belly.
  • Blood in dog’s stool.
  • The dog urinating blood.

Thrombocytopenia can affect dogs of any age and can be caused by a hereditary disease. For more about these above mentioned low platelet count in dogs symptoms, we recommend reading the following articles:

Low platelet count in dogs: causes

The most common causes of low platelets in dogs include:

  • Von Willebrand disease in dogs (VWD): a genetic disorder which results in the absence of the necessary clotting protein, von Willebram factor (vWF). Doberman Pinschers are a breed of dog with the highest incidence of vWD, however, it can affect dogs of all breeds. For more, we recommend taking a look at our article where we list the most common illnesses in Dobermans.
  • Coagulation disorders: in addition to the aforementioned pathologies, there are various coagulation or clotting related problems which are hereditary in dogs.
  • Immune-mediated pathologies: in these such cases, a dog's own immune system attacks and destroys its own platelets. These pathologies are usually idiopathic, of unknown origin.
  • Leukemia in dogs: this cancer type is incredibly serious and affects the components of a dog’s blood. For example, low white blood cells and low platelet count occurs in affected dogs. In addition erythrocytes, eosinophils, etc. can also be diminished. Additional leukemia in dogs symptoms include: fever, anorexia and or anemia. For more, we suggest reading our article leukemia in dogs.
  • Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC): is an acquired hemorrhagic disorder that is triggered by serious causes such as tumors, infections or severe heat stroke. This condition forms blood clots throughout the body thereby blocking small blood vessels, triggering hemorrhaging. This condition is incredibly severe and can result in the death of the animal affected.
  • Vitamin K deficiency in dogs: is another acquired disorder that is usually related to poisoning by products such as rodenticides. The prognosis will depend on the severity of the poisoning. For more, find out everything you need to know about dog poisoning here.

It’s also important to know that there are some drugs on the market that can decrease a dog platelet count. Keep reading to find out how to increase platelet count in dogs.

How to increase blood count in dogs

When it comes to low platelet count in dog treatment, the first thing you need to do is distinguish its cause. Once a cause is diagnosed by a professional, they will aim to increase platelet count to regulate coagulation and contain hemorrhages.

A veterinarian may recommend a blood transfusion, which helps stabilize a dog that has suffered from a hemorrhage. If the the platelets have been destructed due to an immune system related condition, corticosteroids may also be prescribed. The rest of the treatment will depend on the cause of your dog’s thrombocytopenia.

How to increase dog platelet count in dogs

You can favor a dog’s recovery (under the supervision of a veterinarian) by:

  • Offering your dog soft food which will avoid accidental gum bleeding.
  • Offer your dog an opportunity to rest and recover well by decreasing its exercise intensity.
  • Remove any items from your dog’s environment to avoid injury.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss everything you need to know about normal vital signs in dogs.

Low Platelets in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment - How to increase blood count in dogs

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Low Platelets in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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christine ann hill
my terrier age 13 ws sick 2ce early saturday.no food sun, wont drink-got water in with syringe. At Vet Mon Very low platelets going to give steroids. any other suggestions?
My pet dog Jake has low platelet count ranging from 30000 to 70000 max
Tried a lot of treatments & remedies antibiotics, papaya leaves extracts & many more
But it's been more than 2 years, the platelets doesn't increase to a safe level
After lot of diagnosis & tests for 2 long years also, the cause is not detected yet

Please help !
Need urgent support !
Administrador AnimalWised

AnimalWised provides articles for information purposes only. We cannot diagnose anything in the comments. If your veterinarian is unable to reach a diagnosis, you're only option is to seek a second opinion. Good luck.
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Low Platelets in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment