View Full Version : Regarding Health Issues

7th March 2007, 04:59 AM
I'm basically getting a college education this year in Cavalier health, but one thing that I have only recently learned about is the Platelet Count for Cavaliers.

Wallis has shown a low platelet count (which has been getting progressively lower, but that's another topic). I spoke with the breeder and the tech where she used to take them and they both told me that the platelet count for a Cavalier should always been done by hand, because they have large platelets,

I inundated my current vet with articles supporting this. His response was that he is aware of this but that he uses a laser machine to do his blood tests and felt that it was doing a proper job.

Just FYI - never hurts if you run into something like this to have a little bit more education!

Cathy Moon
7th March 2007, 05:25 AM
It's probably a good idea for all of us Cavalier owners to get a blood count when our cavaliers are healthy, so that later on if they're having health issues we know what 'normal' is for them.

Probably a good time to get the blood count is when we take our cavs in for heartworm blood tests this Spring.
India and Chockie have normal platelets, but Geordie's are large with a lower count.

7th March 2007, 05:37 AM
Kinda like we women are supposed to have our baseline mammograms, huh.

I agree completely. Wouldn't have thought of it before, but knowing what I do now I think it's a good idea.

7th March 2007, 09:13 PM
You're right a baseline count would be invaluable in differentiating a falling platelet count from a congenitally low count.

Historically platelets were counted manually by looking at a blood smear, more recently they are counted as they pass through an electrical current in an analyser, the size of the resulting change in current is proportional to the size of the cell passing through, platelets are small compared to the red and white cells and can be separated from them and counted based on their size. This is where we run into trouble with giant platelets that can be counted as a red or white cell rather than a platelet. However, newer analysers use two angle light scatter and fluorescence which negates the size issue somewhat (laser analysers). To further complicate things there have been studies that show that the latter technique is less precise than the former in low platelet counts so if you have a Cav with low platelets and giant platelets you can see the problems of both methods. If your vet can do a manual count that is far more reliable than either method as long as it is done properly (most people that are good at this have been working in labs for years!)

Are we all still awake? :D

Joanne M
7th March 2007, 09:53 PM
Thank you Lisa, not that I can claim to have understood everything but even without any background in science, it did not put me to sleep and made sense. Not everything new is better. Nothing can take the place of experience.

8th March 2007, 12:10 AM
This is such a good subject to bring up again with so many new pups on the board. Our Murphy has this condition which is called idiopathic asymptomatic thrombocytopenia (basically harmless large blood platelets). There are good links in the health faq and other cavalier sources.

If a vet tells you your dog has a low volume of platelets in their bood, like the prior posters said, request hand counting of the blood test. You can also look at the dog's gums. If they are white looking or there is bleeding, red spotting or bruising, they may have Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia which does need treatment immediately. Print off the links on the condition in cavaliers for your vet so that if they can be familiar with the nonharmful version of the disease frequently found in our cavaliers before any medication is given.

Thank goodness for the people on the board! Our vet wanted to immediately start Murphy on meds that he didn't need.

8th March 2007, 01:04 AM
Wait your all confusing me :( OK I decided a while ago when Kodee gets her spay and hernia fix, I was going to get blood work to have a baseline. But I got lost at the by hand and lazer part! How to I ask my vet to do this?

and is any of this possible some good news for Wallis? Did they do it wrong?

8th March 2007, 03:02 AM
Debbie, first make sure that your vet is familiar enough with Cavaliers to realize that they often have "large" platelets that can be easily miscounted and the results show them to have a low platelet count. I found some articles here on the board which I sent to my vet on this subject. He was already aware of this and had done a smear by hand and also sent blood to a clinical pathologist to check and double check.

Most vet clinics have in-house equipment with which they do their own blood work. This gives them the advantage of being able to get blood results much more quickly than if they have to send it to a lab to get the work done. Just speak up and ask questions. If you don't quite understand the answers I think someone here can explain them to you. Lisa is excellent with her knowledge of blood work.

They are doing every thing right with Wallis, as far as I can tell. They are checking and double checking themselves. They have ruled out her needing to have a bone marrow test, which I didn't want to put her through. Depending on results we should get in a day or so we may be able to treat her with antibiotics and help her blood problem.

Don't EVER hesitate to ask your vet questions. It's your dog and you are paying his (the vet's) bills. How old will Kodee be when you have her spayed? I think it's probably a good idea to find out now if she does have large platelets - it's knowledge that you will have if she ever has to have bloodwork done and something that you will be able to inform the vet of (if you change) so that they can take that into account.

8th March 2007, 04:50 AM
Debbie, first make sure that your vet is familiar enough with Cavaliers.Thanks and yes my vet is familar with Cavaliers - currently 4 in the clinic and as well the vet assistant had a tri till last yr (he was 14 though). Cavalier's arent that popular in Canada so you'll never find a vet with tons unless they look after a few breeders. Thanks, she may know of the blood smear as well, I just wanted to know myself so I can be sure its done right. We are going to spay her between 5 and 6 mths. Her hernia is ok but I dont want to fiddle with it longer. I intend to get the blood work done the week before the surgery and retain a copy in my records.

That would be great if antibotics were to help you. Fingers crossed for another few days for you both!