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#1 Stunner
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, here's the deal. Java became our dog when he was ten weeks old, and my fiance's cousin had purchased him from an insanely bad breeder and realized inside of a week that he couldn't handle the responsibility - even calling them a breeder seems kind of too nice. Mom is albino, dog was being advertised as a "Warlock," seriously crappy people, but Java himself was apparently in great health and a stable, normal, happy dog overall. We had his ears cropped at 10 weeks. Looking back, I'm kicking myself for not considering vWD testing before the crop, knowing where he came from, but live and learn, I guess. When we picked him up, our veterinarian said that he was concerned about vWD because his ears bled excessively during the crop, and that we should consider testing at some point. I figured that when he has his annual workup when he turns 1 (he's 5.5 months, now) we would do a baseline CBC, Vetgen vWD test, vaccines, and baseline thyroid, and at 2 begin free T4, CBC, echo and holter, and vaccine titer. Presently, that's still the plan.

A couple days post-crop, he shook his head and started bleeding like a maniac. Some bleeding when a scab gets shaken loose wouldn't worry me too seriously, and I know that blood can look like a lot more than it is, but after several years in veterinary medicine, it seemed like too much to me, bleeding too fast, too easily, just off. We kept pressure on where it was bleeding and floored it to the veterinarian, luckily only about 6-8 minutes away, and the bleeding stopped on its own a few minutes after we got there. When he was teething, my collie came into the room with her white chest fluff covered in blood. I thought she was seriously hurt and frantically searched her for an injury, only to realize that Java had just lost a tooth and had been gnawing all over her hair like he usually does. And so on. Little incidents that make me think that vWD is very likely for him.

Now, I think I know enough about how to test for/handle/etc. vWD if he is indeed affected, but here's the catch. He's also a double cryptorchid, and I know that there is a huge possibility of one or both testicles ultimately turning cancerous if he's left intact. Ordinarily, I would neuter at 18-24 months as we were considering a future in agility and either way I want to allow his growth plates time to close, though vWD may nix agility either way and we may just stick to rally/obedience/therapy work.

So here is what I'm wondering.

  1. What I understand is that vW factor decreases with age. Does it decrease significantly enough that I should be considering neutering sooner rather than later?
  2. Should I be considering not neutering at all? I'd be seriously considering this if it weren't for the cryptorchidism and cancer risk. On one hand, the surgery for a double crypt is so much more invasive than an ordinary neuter, I'm even more worried than I would be about neutering an ordinary vWD dog. On the flip side - I'd rather do the surgery while he's young and (otherwise) healthy than wait until he has cancer AND vWD and is in a weakened state.
  3. I guess it's sort of off-topic, but while we're talking about it, does vWD affect whether stomach tacking is advisable?
  4. In the event that vWD is confirmed, would you say that agility is a 100% no-go, don't even try it? Goes without saying that if so, we will not even be entertaining the idea.
  5. What would you do?

Thank you any advance for any insight into how to handle this, assuming that vWD is confirmed. I'm head over heels in love with this dog, and want to make sure that I make the best possible decisions to keep him safe.
 

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Luv-The-Nub
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Personally, I would speak to and establish myself with an internal medicine specialist. More likely than not you will experience some medical problems/conditions that are quite scarey especially knowing his poor history (genetic history). I dont really want to say either way what you should do without you talking to a specialist.... but I will say that I would not neuter at this time. & whatever you do, please DO NOT allow the techs to perform jugular venipuncture on your boy- EVER. They should be poking veins that are far away from the heart (ie saphenous/ rear leg) I worked in critical care for 6 years as a cvt (at a specialty hosp) and cannot count the number of times day clinics would send over nightmares where they had stabbed the necks of dogs with bleeding disorder or potential clotting issues :( The prices at specialty hosp are not that much more expensiive (if at all), they just have a higher consult/exam fee.
 

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Luv-The-Nub
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It is also not a bad idea to prepare yourself for any emergency blood loss. (minor scrapes or cuts could result in a lot more blood loss than you would think, although most likely he would be fine, better be safe than sorry) Call around to after hours clinics and ask their protocols etc for blood transfusions etc. Do they carry an adequate supply of blood products and I would even try to tour/ get a visual on how they are storing and administering their blood.
*get used to checking him for any petechiation (bruising)- gums, ears, inner thighs, belly, armpits, etc
 
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First, I would get the VWD dna test done and find out if he is even affected. Remember most dna affected Dobermans are not clinically affected. In some breeds VWD is very serious, not so much in Dobermans. Most clinically affected Dobermans live perfectly normal lives without any clotting issues whatsoever. If the test does come back affected, then take precautions like having the vet do a simple clotting factor test before any surgeries and have plasma on hand. Some vets have plasma on hand and some do not, something to find out if you do have an affected dog. For instance, my vet always has it on hand.

I have owned affected dogs in the past and had surgeries done without any problems. Regarding him bleeding from the crop incision, that can happen as some areas of the head will bleed. I would test first before reading much into that.

Yes, I would neuter, even if dna affected.
 

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Premium Member
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I'd want to know sooner rather than later also. Vetnostics lab in NJ probably has the most reasonable price for VWD dna testing, and they are quick.

I would probably do the neuter sooner rather than later, and would not do the stomach tacking at all - it is a much larger incision and if he is clinically affected, I just would not do more than necessary. You will probably need to have plasma on hand for any surgery if he is clinically affected.

I had a foster puppy for rescue years ago that was clinically affected - she bled like a stuck pig every time she lost a tooth, but it did stop. She was spayed successfully with plasma set aside (don't recall if they needed it) - I know that she had some seepage from the incision afterwards and it was a PITA. She is the reason that I won't produce affecteds - once you have seen a clinically affected bleeder up close and personal, it makes a big impact on you!

Good luck to you!
 

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Sea Hag
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If dna testing indicates this dog is affected, I'd also do coagulation panels on the dog prior to deciding about a neuter. There *are* dogs whose clotting ability is so bad the vet advises against any kind of elective surgery. They make up a small minority but they do exist.
 

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Sirai Dobermans
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If dna testing indicates this dog is affected, I'd also do coagulation panels on the dog prior to deciding about a neuter. There *are* dogs whose clotting ability is so bad the vet advises against any kind of elective surgery. They make up a small minority but they do exist.
Couldn't agree more.
 
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Sirai Dobermans
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  1. What I understand is that vW factor decreases with age. Does it decrease significantly enough that I should be considering neutering sooner rather than later?
  2. Should I be considering not neutering at all? I'd be seriously considering this if it weren't for the cryptorchidism and cancer risk. On one hand, the surgery for a double crypt is so much more invasive than an ordinary neuter, I'm even more worried than I would be about neutering an ordinary vWD dog. On the flip side - I'd rather do the surgery while he's young and (otherwise) healthy than wait until he has cancer AND vWD and is in a weakened state.
  3. I guess it's sort of off-topic, but while we're talking about it, does vWD affect whether stomach tacking is advisable?
  4. In the event that vWD is confirmed, would you say that agility is a 100% no-go, don't even try it? Goes without saying that if so, we will not even be entertaining the idea.
  5. What would you do?

I ordered the vwd test (and dcm test) from Vetgen. I don't know why, but I was really surprised when Koa's test results revealed that he was vwd affected. I panicked. I emailed MurreyDobe for advice even! My vet is very Doberman savvy and repeatedly told me it wouldn't be a problem, she'd have plasma on hand just in case. She also knew that I lost my last male to bloat and mentioned that she had heard that our vet school (Texas A&M) was offering the gastropexy via laparoscopy and that maybe I could check that out too as an option. So, I did.

Koa had a full blood panel done the day before. They had plasma on hand because it's a teaching hospital but I would only be charged for it if they needed it. They also had a med called Desmopressin. I was told that although it was approved for other uses, that they have found that it does increase the vwd factor in vwd affected dogs. They would try that before the plasma if it was needed. Just before surgery, Koa was sedated and a buccal blood time test was done. He clotted at exactly 1 minute 30 seconds. He came through surgery just fine, but stayed an extra day under supervision as a just in case. He had no complications whatsoever. If the gastropexy wasn't offered via laproscopy (3 half inch incisions) I wouldn't have done it. I didn't want him to have to go through such a major surgery with a massive stomach incision and not knowing whether he was going to have a complication due to the vwd.

For your questions:
1. My vets have agreed that vwd factor can decrease with age. I don't think it is significant enough that you'd have to neuter him NOW vs at 18 months. But you would need to have that discussion with a vet familiar with your dog. And you'd need a vwd test to know for sure.
2. I've never experienced a neuter with cryptorchidism so I can't really give you advice here. But I don't think I would consider not neutering him based only on a vwd status, unless my vet felt that was what was best for him.
3. The advice I was given was that unless he was clinically affected, stomach tacking shouldn't be a huge issue if done laparoscopically.
4. Not all vwd affected dogs are clinically affected. Meaning he won't necessarily bleed out. Koa cut his paw the other day and I timed the clot and it was still at roughly 1:30. He still retains enough vwd factor to clot appropriately at this time. I have been told that as he ages it is quite possible for him to become clinically affected. But I can't put him in a bubble, and I want him to have fun in life. Try agility.
 

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I'm sorry that you're going through this, I can be extremely nerve wrecking at first, argh! I found out that Hagan is vWD affected by "accident", when I ordered the cardio combo test offered by VetGen via DPCA and...surprise! :mad:

I wish I had known beforehand, because I also panicked. When I contacted my breeder, she reassured me that it's not such a big deal since he's not clinically affected, but advised me strongly against doing a gastropexy at the time.

He did get Desmopressin before his neuter, but didn't need Cryoprecipitate. He's never had any prolonged bleeding, but I'll worry for the rest of his life (or mine) that he develops problems later in life, since I've read that the chances increase with age.

I'd definitely have Java tested soon, like the most experienced members have suggested to you. It's better to know and be prepared, in my humble opinion. Good luck, and thanks for sharing the pictures of your cute dogs on your blog!
 

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Luv-The-Nub
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As far as gastropexy with neuter, I would. The incision wont be much larger, especially if one of the testicles is harder to find. And it would an attempt at preventing future surgery, which he does not need if affected. I would also recommend running coags the morning of surgery and plasma before the surgery as a preemptive measure. (thisi is if he is infact affected)
 

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Sea Hag
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You know, sometimes I can be a bit of an idiot-I totally didn't think to mention in my earlier posts that I had a neuter done on a vWD affected uniball. They did a BMBT on him prior to the neuter, and fresh frozen plasma was on hand (this clinic stores it at all times). The plasma was never used. I didn't do coag panels on this particular dog because he never showed any sign of excessive bleeding or clotting problems. He came through it just fine, with normal clotting times.

I *would* do coag panels on the OP's dog prior to any surgery, due to the fact he's already created some concern about his clotting ability.
 

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As far as gastropexy with neuter, I would. The incision wont be much larger, especially if one of the testicles is harder to find. And it would an attempt at preventing future surgery, which he does not need if affected. I would also recommend running coags the morning of surgery and plasma before the surgery as a preemptive measure. (thisi is if he is infact affected)
I've done gastropexy's twice on bitches while spaying and the incision is about 2x the size of a simple spay. A gastropexy is not a small surgery and I personally would not risk doing a more invasive surgery than I had to on a vwd clinically affected dog. JMHO
 
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#1 Stunner
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all for taking the time to respond. I very much appreciate the input. I will consider gastropexy off the table, and will be pursuing the recommended vWD test shortly. Just to clarify, I had intended to have him tested at his one year visit in December, not two years. :) I feel a little more on top of the situation having read everyone's thoughts, so thank you again!
 

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I'd recommend getting the vwd dna test sooner rather than later for anyone with a Doberman.

What if (God forbid) they have a huge injury, hit by car, etc and you have no idea their status? Better to go into the ER saying "he's affected and may need plasma" rather than wait around for them to discover a ton of blood being lost.
 

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I'd recommend getting the vwd dna test sooner rather than later for anyone with a Doberman.

What if (God forbid) they have a huge injury, hit by car, etc and you have no idea their status? Better to go into the ER saying "he's affected and may need plasma" rather than wait around for them to discover a ton of blood being lost.
Great advice for anyone who does not know their Dobes status!!
 
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Sea Hag
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I'd recommend getting the vwd dna test sooner rather than later for anyone with a Doberman.

What if (God forbid) they have a huge injury, hit by car, etc and you have no idea their status? Better to go into the ER saying "he's affected and may need plasma" rather than wait around for them to discover a ton of blood being lost.
And if the dog has had bleeding episodes that make you suspect clotting ability is a problem, it's even more important to do that test sooner rather than later.
 

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joie de vivre
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I've done gastropexy's twice on bitches while spaying and the incision is about 2x the size of a simple spay. A gastropexy is not a small surgery and I personally would not risk doing a more invasive surgery than I had to on a vwd clinically affected dog. JMHO
This is absolutely right. I had a gastropexy done on Fiona at time of spay and her incision started just under her rib cage and ran all the way down her abdomen. They have to open them up quite a bit to reach into the rib cage and move the stomach. They don't just tack the stomach in place - it's moved across the body and tacked to the wall of the ribs. And the deeper the chest, the more they have to open them according to my girls' vet because the rib cage can be tighter to try to fit their hand in to find and move the stomach.

Gastropexy also extends healing time by about double that of a normal spay and it's crucial to keep them quiet the first week or so to ensure the stomach incision heals properly in place. If the dog were to be too vigorous they can actually rip open the stomach at the incision site.

If I had a vWD clinically affected dog, personally I would not opt to have a gastropexy done.
 
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