von Willebrand's disease
is an autosomally (not sex linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. Von Willebrand's factor antigens of 70% 180% are considered to be within the normal range for Dobermans. When dogs are tested through the Elisa assay blood test for vWD, they are tested for carrier status only NOT the disease. It is believed that carrier status tests (Elisa assay) are inaccurate if a dog is ill, received any medication or vaccination within 14 days of testing, pregnancy, bitches in heat or lactation. Stress conditions (infections, parasites, hormonal changes, trauma, surgery, emotional upset, etc.) may have an effect on the outcome of the vWD blood test and might be a contributing factor for bleeding tendencies. vWD carrier status is quite common in Dobermans.
A bleeding problem known as von Willebrand's disease (vWD) sometimes occurs in the Doberman. Recently, researchers at Michigan State University successfully isolated the genetic mutation responsible for von Willebrand's disease. We now have a genetic test (performed by VETGEN) that will identify whether a Doberman is genetically clear, carrier, or affected. It is important to note that many affected Dobermans never experience a bleeding problem, but when it occurs, it can be serious. When considering some of the other health problems in the breed, this disease is not the most serious problem in the Doberman, but it is listed because we now have a definitive test to screen for the problem and eliminate it in the offspring.
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