Hemaphilia in Dogs and Cats
Haemophilia, also spelled hemophilia, is an inherited genetic disorder, which we see in humans but also in dogs and cats. It is a relatively common genetic disease in dogs, less frequently we also see it in cats. It impairs the body’s ability to stop bleeding, as the body cannot form a proper blood clot. The necessary coagulation factors within the blood are decreased or absent. This results in bleeding longer after a surgery or after trauma, easy bruising and an increased risk of bleeding inside the body. People and dogs without a severe form may only show symptoms after an accident, for example, traffic accident, or during surgery. As is an inherited genetic disorder, the dog is born with the disease and quite often the standard surgery (spay neuter) is a moment when those bleeding disorders are discovered as there is significant post-operative bleeding.
Haemophilia can be produced by decreased or absent coagulation factors within the blood. These can be congenital or result from a failure to convert procoagulants to coagulants, due to vitamin K absence ( liver disease or malabsorption syndromes), or vitamin K antagonism (anticoagulant rodenticides) or consumption due to a disease called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC
As said earlier dogs with clinical symptoms are often young and the first signs are buccal bleeding, epistaxis (blood from the nose), rectal bleeding (blood from the anus) and anemia (decreased amount of red blood cells). But quite often prolonged post-operative bleeding is the first symptom.
Diagnosis is based on the clinical signs in combination with blood tests and genetic tests.
There is no cure for this disease, although mild forms might never need treatment or only after surgery or trauma. Treatment consists of the replacement of clotting factors (plasma). As it is an inherited genetic disease a proper breeding program is important for the prevention of the disease.