Poodle Disease: Von Willebrand's Disease


Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) is a hereditary blood clotting disorder that can affect Poodles, along with many other dog breeds. The condition results from a deficiency or dysfunction of von Willebrand factor (vWF), a blood protein essential for normal blood clotting. This comprehensive guide will cover the types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & management of vWD in Poodles, providing essential information for Poodle owners and breeders to ensure the best possible care for their beloved pets.

Section 1: Types and Causes of Von Willebrand's Disease

There are three types of vWD, each with varying severity:

Type 1 vWD: This is the mildest form of the disease, characterized by a partial deficiency of vWF. Type 1 vWD is the most common form in Poodles, particularly the Miniature and Toy varieties.

Type 2 vWD: This form involves a qualitative defect in vWF, meaning the protein is present but not functioning correctly. Type 2 vWD is relatively rare in Poodles.

Type 3 vWD: The most severe form, Type 3 vWD, is characterized by a complete absence of vWF. This form is rare in Poodles but can be seen in some cases.


Von Willebrand's Disease is a genetic disorder caused by an inherited mutation in the gene responsible for producing vWF. The disease is inherited in an autosomal pattern, meaning both males and females can be affected and can pass the gene to their offspring. In Poodles, the inheritance pattern for Type 1 vWD is autosomal recessive, while Type 3 vWD is autosomal dominant with incomplete penetrance.

Section 2: Symptoms of Von Willebrand's Disease

Symptoms of vWD in Poodles can range from mild to severe, depending on the type and the individual dog's condition. Common signs include:

  Prolonged bleeding from minor cuts or injuries

  Spontaneous bleeding from the gums, nose, or other mucous membranes

  Blood in urine or stool

  Excessive bruising or hematoma formation

  Persistent bleeding after surgery or dental procedures

  Anemia (low red blood cell count) due to chronic blood loss

In some cases, Poodles with vWD may not show any noticeable symptoms until they experience an injury or undergo a surgical procedure that triggers a bleeding episode.

Section 3: Diagnosing Von Willebrand's Disease

Diagnosing vWD in Poodles involves a combination of clinical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests:

  Clinical history: The veterinarian will review your dog's medical history, focusing on any episodes of abnormal bleeding or clotting issues.

•  Physical examination: The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination to assess your dog's overall health and check for any signs of bleeding or bruising.

  Blood tests: Specific blood tests can help diagnose vWD:

  von Willebrand factor antigen test (vWF:Ag): This test measures the amount of vWF in the blood.

  von Willebrand factor activity test (vWF:Act): This test evaluates how well the vWF is functioning.

  Complete blood count (CBC): This test can help identify anemia or other blood abnormalities associated with vWD.

  Coagulation profile: Additional tests may be performed to assess your dog's overall blood clotting function, including prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT).

•  Genetic testing: A DNA test is available for Poodles to identify carriers of the vWD gene mutation, which is particularly useful for breeders to make informed breeding decisions and reduce the prevalence of the disease in future generations.


Section 4: Treatment and Management of Von Willebrand's Disease

There is no cure for vWD, but with appropriate management, most affected Poodles can lead healthy, normal lives. Treatment and management strategies depend on the severity of the disease and may include:

Avoidance of trauma: Minimizing the risk of injury is crucial to prevent bleeding episodes. Keep your dog's environment safe and avoid activities that could result in injury.

Close monitoring during surgery or dental procedures: Inform your veterinarian about your Poodle's vWD status before any surgical or dental procedure. Extra precautions, such as the use of hemostatic agents or suturing techniques that minimize bleeding, can be taken.

Desmopressin acetate (DDAVP): In some cases, the administration of DDAVP, a synthetic hormone, can temporarily increase vWF levels in dogs with Type 1 vWD. This treatment may be used before surgery or to manage a bleeding episode.

Blood transfusions: In severe cases or during emergencies, a blood transfusion containing vWF may be necessary to control bleeding.

Iron supplements: If your dog experiences chronic blood loss and develops anemia, your veterinarian may recommend iron supplements to help restore red blood cell levels.

Regular veterinary check-ups: Schedule regular veterinary visits to monitor your Poodle's overall health and vWD status. Early detection and intervention can help manage complications and prevent more severe issues.


Section 5: Breeding Considerations and Reducing the Prevalence of vWD

For Poodle breeders, responsible breeding practices are crucial to reducing the prevalence of vWD in the breed. DNA testing can help identify carriers of the vWD gene mutation, allowing breeders to make informed decisions about which dogs to include in their breeding program.

Test all breeding dogs: Ensure that all Poodles in your breeding program undergo genetic testing for vWD.

Selectively breed: Avoid breeding Poodles that carry the vWD gene mutation, particularly those with a history of affected offspring.

Inform potential buyers: If your breeding dogs are carriers or have produced affected puppies, disclose this information to potential buyers to ensure they are fully informed about the potential risks associated with the disease.


Von Willebrand's Disease is a genetic blood clotting disorder that can affect Poodles. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatments, Poodle owners can provide the best possible care for their pets. Regular veterinary care and responsible breeding practices can help manage and reduce the prevalence of vWD in the Poodle population, ensuring the continued health and well-being of these beloved dogs.

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