What is ITP?
itp (immune-mediated thrombocytopenia) is a condition that affects dogs, although rare; it does occur more frequently in certain breeds such as: Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, Great Danes and Rottweilers.
itp in dogs is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system targets its own blood cells; it is also known as immune mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT).
Symptoms of ITP include:
Bleeding or bruising from minor cuts or injuries
Petechiae (pinpoint red spots on the skin)
Most dogs with ITP have a history of one or more of these symptoms, but often they are very subtle and may go unnoticed.
Acupuncture is used to help treat itp in dogs.
It is thought that acupuncture may stimulate the release of endorphins (natural painkillers made by the brain) and other chemicals that can ease pain, reduce inflammation and speed up healing. Acupuncture uses very fine needles that are placed into the skin at specific points on the body. Pressure applied to these needles produces a mild electric current, which seems to cause specific nerves to send impulses through to the brain’s hypothalamus gland. This stimulates activity in many areas of the brain, resulting in chemical changes throughout the body. These chemical effects are believed to have various beneficial effects, including improvement in immune response and blood flow, reduction in inflammation and nerve transmission.
Shelter dogs are more likely to be in pain because of poor nutrition, genetics, lack of exercise or simply due to the fact that they are not kept as house pets. Any dogs who have experienced physical abuse or emotional mistreatment may also suffer from itp. These dogs require different treatment options if their health is to improve.
Physical injuries may be treated with surgery but mental pain caused by uncomfortable living conditions must be addressed with behavioural therapies since acupuncture is generally ineffective for this type of itp. Although acupuncture may help other aspects of over-all well being, there is no evidence to suggest that this treatment reduces suffering and frustration associated with mental illness.
Acupuncture is a valuable treatment option for many itp issues and has been shown to successfully treat:
The average number of acupuncture sessions a dog receives is between three and six, as many as ten treatments may be required depending on the severity of the condition. Acupuncture is certainly not a quick fix but it can certainly help with chronic health concerns in animals who cannot afford surgery or medication.
How Long Can dogs live with ITP?
itp in dogs is a chronic illness and with the appropriate treatment, the life expectancy of a dog living with itp is not reduced. Some vets have reported that acupuncture has been effective for up to ten years.
Dog owners who believe their pet has itp should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible to discuss possible treatments.
Can dogs recover from ITP?
itp is a chronic disease, however with appropriate care and treatment it can be controlled effectively. With the right treatment plan, dogs will live comfortable lives if their condition is diagnosed early enough.
Symptomatic medications are available for most itp related conditions, so there should be no need to worry about your dog suffering with pain or discomfort.
How do you treat ITP in dogs?
There is no cure for itp in dogs and the conditions will require long-term management with medications, acupuncture and dietary changes. Some vets may try steroids to help reduce symptoms but this treatment often has serious side effects.
Dog owners who believe their pet has itp should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible to discuss possible treatments; many cases of itp can be effectively managed with careful control over diet and regular acupuncture sessions.
What causes ITP in dogs?
itp is caused by the immune system mistakenly identifying platelets as foreign bodies and attacking them.
In most cases of itp in dogs, there is no known cause although some breeds are more susceptible to developing this condition than others.
itp can be a lifelong condition in dogs where the blood does not clot properly and the pet becomes at risk of uncontrolled bleeding if they suffer a serious injury.
How is ITP diagnosed?
itp is a disease that must be diagnosed via a blood test. Your vet will take a blood sample and analyse the number of platelets in the pet’s body. If there are low levels of platelet cells, this can indicate itp – further testing may be required to rule out other underlying causes such as:
Aplastic anemia – a rare condition where the bone marrow fails to produce blood platelets, dogs with this condition often have very low platelet counts.
Dogs can also suffer with ITP and cancer at the same time; it is important that you bring your pet to the vet as soon as possible for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
What are the treatment options for ITP?
Treatment for itp in dogs will vary depending on the severity of the condition, but owners should expect to be involved in their pet’s care wherever possible. Management for this disease requires ongoing commitment from you and your vet to ensure that your dog lives a full and active life with the best possible quality of life.
Medication: this can include:
Corticosteroids – reduce the activity of the immune system and will help to suppress your pet’s symptoms, but long-term use can lead to serious side effects such as:
increased thirst and urination
diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes)
increased risk of infections
Pentoxifylline – this medication helps to reduce the immune responses that lead your pet to attack their own platelets.
Acupuncture treatment: research has shown acupuncture is effective in reducing the symptoms of itp, by encouraging blood flow around the body and boosting the immune system.
Diet changes: itp in dogs is thought to develop as a result of issues with the pet’s diet; changing your dog’s food to a hypoallergenic diet (one that does not contain ingredients such as: chicken, beef and dairy products) reduces the risk of further flare-ups.
What is the prognosis for ITP?
Although itp is a lifelong condition, treatment can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
Dogs with mild cases of ITP may never show any signs of the disease or their symptoms may be so minor that they go unnoticed by their owners – many dogs will require ongoing treatment for this condition.
It is important to remember that itp in dogs can, in some cases, be fatal; if your pet appears weak or unwell, this may indicate severe internal bleeding and you should consult your vet immediately. If you are concerned about the health of your dog, please contact us today – we will be happy to help.
Can a dog recover from low platelets?
yes, once the inflammation has been successfully managed and controlled. And because many cases of itp are manageable with careful diet changes, access to acupuncture sessions and ongoing medication, it will be important for your dog to receive ongoing veterinary care.
Many dogs can live a long life with ITP as long as their owners are committed to ensuring that their pet receives appropriate care and treatment.