How to Raise my Dog's Low Platelet Count
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. Thrombocytopenia is the medical term used for low platelets, a condition that affects both humans and dogs and can endanger health.
If your dog has low platelets they run the risk of suffering from hemorrhages, meaning there is a risk they may bleed out from the smallest of injuries. Detecting the cause of this condition and giving them the appropriate treatment is essential to keep them healthy. Keep reading this OneHowTo article as we explain how to raise your dog's platelets and help their recovery.
Signs and symptoms of a low platelet count
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.
Why does my dog have low platelets?
Many pet owners find that their animal is listless, lethargic and weak, and for that reason they take them to the vet. If a blood test confirms that your dog has low platelets, remember that this is not a diagnosis but a symptom caused by a certain health condition. Finding out what condition causes low platelets is the key to offer your dog the best treatment.
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
How to raise my dog's low platelet count
The first and most important step is getting a veterinary diagnostic that will tell us what is causing the drop in platelets and what the appropriate treatment is to counteract this condition. When it comes to infections such as a tick-borne disease, treating this condition will allow the dog to recover and raise their platelets.
To raise platelets the vet may choose to:
- Perform a platelet transfusion or a blood transfusion
- Administer corticosteroids to prevent the immune system from destroying platelets
- Prescribe iron supplements that help stimulate platelet production
- Oral or intravenous medication appropriate to their condition
In addition to strictly following the recommendations of the specialist and administering the medication that your dog needs, you can follow some other recommendations at home to help your pet.
How to raise my dog's platelets at home:
- Keep your dog properly hydrated with a bowl of fresh water and change it twice a day. This is very important to help combat dehydration caused by fever. If your dog does not drink the water, give them ice cubes to help them drink.
- Chicken soup 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 and potato, letting it cook for at least 1 hour. Then you can blend 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. Do not use garlic, onion or any other foods dogs can't eat in the recipe.
- Foods rich in iron are also recommended to raise platelets, so you can give your pet chicken liver or veal, which are rich in this mineral, boosting their level of nutrition and improvement.
- Chicken cooked without salt or condiments and shredded can also improve your pet's health and help their recovery.
- Give them natural coconut water, which helps to increase platelets due to its content of vitamin A, C, iron, potassium and calcium. This drink is also suitable for dogs, so you can safely give it to them.
- It is also recommended to keep your dog at home for a few days. Let them rest and avoid contact with other animals as the spread of ticks or any playing could further injure the animal and worsen their condition.
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