Signs and symptoms of a low platelet count. Read on or download a free copy here.
A low platelet count is also referred to as thrombocytopenia, a condition that affects both dogs and humans, and can endanger health.
Platelets play an important part in the blood clotting process. These cell fragments ensure that our blood is thick enough to circulate around our body, as well as produce clots effectively to prevent us from bleeding, when we suffer a wound or injury.
If your dog has low platelets, they run the risk of suffering from haemorrhages, meaning there is a risk they may bleed out from the smallest of injuries.
Low platelets are not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition. Finding out what causes this decline in platelet level is essential to look after your dog's health and give them the necessary treatment. Some of the warning signs that tell us when our dog is not well, and may have problems with their platelets are:
- Apathy: the dog does not play and has no appetite;
- Dark red spots in their eyes and/or gums;
- Bruises on their skin;
- Blood in the urine, faeces or nose bleeds;
- Difficulty walking or collapsing.
If your dog shows any of these symptoms, please seek veterinary care immediately.
Certain infections, leukaemia, cancer treatments, cirrhosis of the liver, enlargement of the spleen, sepsis, autoimmune diseases, and certain medications can all cause thrombocytopenia.
The most common causes of low platelets in dogs are:
- Infections that destroy platelets in the body: Canine ehrlichiosis, a tick-borne disease, is one of the most common;
- Injuries that cause significant blood loss;
- Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia: The dog's body produces antibodies against its own platelets, destroying them;
- Leukaemia; and
Anaemia is a condition that is commonly caused by blood loss from wounds or parasites such as worms and fleas. Symptoms of anaemia in dogs include white or pale gums, weakness, and a fast pulse. Sometimes this condition indicates a more serious illness such as toxicity that results from a drug exposure. However, the more simple and common cause of anaemia which is blood loss can be easily treated with a view toward promoting the growth of new red blood cells.
If your pet has mild thrombocytopenia, you may be able to raise his/her platelet count through diet and supplements. However, if your pet has a severely low platelet count, you will likely need medical treatment to avoid any complications.
Food’s high in certain vitamins and minerals can help your pet’s body make and maintain platelets in his/her blood. While many of these nutrients are available in supplement form, it’s best to try to get them from foods when you can. Eating well is essential to regaining health. Incorporate foods high in Vitamin B9. In addition, your dog needs a special diet rich in iron, protein, and vitamin B12.
Here are some tips on how to naturally raise your pet’s platelet count.
Vitamin B-12 - helps keep your pet’s blood cells healthy. A deficiency of B12 has been associated with low platelet counts. The best sources of vitamin B12 tend to be animal-based foods, such as:
- beef liver
While vitamin B12 is also found in dairy products, such as milk and cheese, some studies indicate that cow’s milk can interfere with platelet production. Just remember, your pet is a mammal and as such has been weaned off milk, so it is not recommended to include dairy in your pet’s diet.
Folate is a B vitamin that helps your pet cells, including blood cells. Normal levels of folate in dogs are 10 - 12 μg/L and daily requirements are about 4 - 6 mg in dietary sources.
Sources of folic acid in the diet include:
- yeast, such as nutritional yeast;
- kidney; and
- green vegetables such as kale, spinach, brussel sprouts and silver beet.
- liver and other organ meats which are extremely nutritious. Liver is also rich in selenium, vitamin A, and choline;
- high-quality raw food meals will be full of iron.
- lean meats like ground beef and lamb.
- fish, such as sardines and salmon are highly nutritious. Fish contains several nutrients like vitamin B12, selenium, and niacin;
- egg yolks are a good source of Vitamin B9. Add a raw egg yolk to your dog’s meal preferably organic eggs or local eggs from your farmer’s market;
- pumpkin and carrots, a good source of Vitamin B9;
- green vegetables like leafy green and green beans: the chlorophyll reinforces healthier blood.
Good sources of vitamin C include:
- foods that are high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids, and are palatable include broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, and spinach. Run them through the food processor then add it to your pet’s meal. Dishy Dogs Superfood Meals are rich in broccoli, kale and spinach.
- Fruits such as pineapple, papaya, and strawberries can also provide your dog with good doses of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Dishy Dogs Superfood Meals are rich in papaya and pineapple.
- Chicken soup (bone broth) is one of the most common foods used to raise platelets in humans and it also works on dogs. It is recommended to prepare a broth with bone-in chicken, carrot, celery, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar letting it cook for at least 1 hour, but preferably up to 24 hours to give you greater benefits. In the last hour you can add leafy greens such as kale, spinach or silver beet, then you can blend it until you have an even creamy consistency or strain the solid ingredients and leave only the broth. Both forms are ideal to feed your dog while they are recuperating.
If your pet is allergic to chicken, then use beef or lamb bones such as neck and marrow bones and add some red meat instead. Of course, remember to remove the bones from the soup before blending. Dishy Dogs range of bone broths are chock full of goodness.
Supplementation: In todays world, supplementation is unavoidable. The good news is that there are some awesome products that do wonders for your pets health.
- Bovine colostrum is the first substance that a baby cow receives from its mother. It’s also fast becoming a common dietary supplement because of its awesome benefits. Whilst there is plenty of research about the benefits of colostrum for other diseases, an informal study done by the Platelet Disorder Support Association suggests that some people reported beneficial effects on their platelet count after taking it, so it stands to reason it will benefit Fido as well. A 2017 study identified elements of colostrum that contained proteins involved in platelet activation as well as immune responses. Dishy Dogs Colostrum Pet is a 100% Australian bio-colostrum from pasture raised cows.
- Vitamins and minerals are important to support your pet’s body to increase overall nutrient intake and helps some pet’s get the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals when they can’t or don’t get them from food alone. Dishy Dogs Vitamin Pet is chock full of rosehips, broccoli and kale and other herbs that make it a high potency antioxidant and multivitamin.
- Kelp powder is full of iodine, iron and other trace minerals which may help to support pets with anaemia and blood disorders. It is particularly rich in B vitamins, which play a crucial role in cellular metabolism. Dishy Dogs Flash Fangs is rich in kelp, and does more than dental and oral hygiene.
- Increase the essential fatty acids in your pet’s diet to help prevent disease and support every cell in your pet’s body. Good high-quality omegas such as Dishy Dogs Omega Pet does wonders in boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation.
Dishy Dogs is certified “Australian Made and Owned”. Our ingredients are 100% human grade, 100% preservative and additive free with no added salt, sugar, flavour or colour.