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Browse our veterinary-reviewed Dog and Cat Illness Guide to learn more about pet health. Always talk to your veterinarian if you have a concern about your pet's symptoms or health.
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Canine Thrombocytopenia

A platelet is a type of blood cell produced by the bone marrow that helps blood clot. If your dog gets a cut, the platelets go to the damaged blood vessels and clump together, sealing the leaking blood vessel.

Thrombocytopenia is a decrease of the platelets, which causes increased bleeding and bruising.


The leading cause is an autoimmune disease (the immune system attacks its own body). In this case, the immune system mistakenly thinks the platelets are enemies. The spleen removes platelets from the blood ten times faster than usual.

Other causes may include:


The lower the platelet count, the more signs your dog will show. Some dogs may not show any signs, and thrombocytopenia will only be discovered during a routine exam.

Signs include:


To properly diagnose your dog with thrombocytopenia, your veterinarian may perform:


Your veterinarian may suggest the following treatment methods:

If the cause is immune-mediated, you must stop the spleen from removing platelets. There are medications for this. In some cases, your dog may need surgery to remove the spleen.


There is currently no known prevention against this condition.


The prognosis depends on the cause. A mild cause has an excellent prognosis. A more severe cause, such as cancer, has a more guarded prognosis.

Medically Reviewed by Sara Ochoa, DVM

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