Most pet owners have never heard of Von Willebrand Disease. Unfortunately, Cheryl and her dog Zena learned all about it the hard way. Zena is a beautiful, shy, and loving four year old Doberman. Zena was just finishing treatment for the tick disease Ehrlichia when Cheryl
took her in to be spayed. Her veterinarian only used chemical anesthesia and Zena had a small reaction to the drugs, but the surgery itself went well. Zena was sent home, but was very groggy all night long. Cheryl was worried so she took her back the next day to be watched. That afternoon Cheryl got a frightening call saying that Zena was bleeding from her incision and may need a blood transfusion. Because her veterinarian did not have an in house lab or access to donor blood she sent Zena and Cheryl to the Perkins Veterinary Clinic. Dr Murray was on duty when Zena arrived. She had a t-shirt taped around her belly that was quickly becoming soaked with blood. Dr. Murray quickly examined Zena and drew blood for analysis. Zena's red blood cells were low, and so where her platelets; cells that help blood clot. While Romeo, Dr. Woodall's dog and blood donor was on standby he was not needed at this time. Thankfully our ability to do in house blood work and have results in minutes and with Dr. Murray's knowledge and experience Zena was placed on IV fluids to help replace the blood loss and a pressure bandage was placed on her belly. Dr. Murray also sent a sample of Zena's blood off to a labratory for a specific clotting test. With the bleeding under control Zena was sent home on bed rest. A few days later Dr. Murray called Cheryl with the news that Zena had a severe form of Von Willebrand Disease, an inherited bleeding disorder in dogs. While there is no cure she can lead a normal life, but precautions must be taken if Zena ever needs surgery again. This was a good example of how important pre-surgical blood work is, even for routine surgical procedures. Since her diagnosis Zena's blood levels have all returned to normal and she has returned to a normal life with her family.