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J Vet Intern Med. 1994 Nov-Dec;8(6):400-5.

Thrombocytopenia associated with neoplasia in dogs.

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Department of Microbiology, Pathology and Parasitology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh.


Ten percent (214/2,059) of all dogs with cancer at North Carolina State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital had thrombocytopenia. The thrombocytopenia was associated with infectious/inflammatory etiologies in 4%, miscellaneous disorders (therapy, bone marrow failure, disseminated intravascular coagulation) in 35%, and neoplasia without identifiable secondary factors in 61% of cancer-bearing dogs. Classifying these dogs by tumor groups revealed the following proportionate ratios: lymphoid, 29%; carcinoma, 28%; sarcoma, 20%; hemic neoplasia, 7%; multiple, 5%; unclassified, 3%; benign, 3%; brain, 3%; and endocrine, 3%. Dogs with hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, and melanoma were at increased risk of developing thrombocytopenia. Cytotoxic therapy was the major factor increasing the risk of thrombocytopenia in dogs with melanoma. Golden Retrievers were the only breed recognized with a predisposition to develop thrombocytopenia. If thrombocytopenia is identified in a dog with cancer, we recommend thorough evaluation of the coagulation system before surgery or therapy, and careful consideration of the risks and potential benefits of myelosuppressive or L-asparaginase therapy.

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