Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease in Dogs: Understanding the Moderate Inherited Bleeding Disorder

Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) is a moderate inherited bleeding disorder that affects dogs and humans. It is caused by qualitative abnormalities of von Willebrand factor (vWF), a glycoprotein responsible for blood clotting. Dogs with Type 2 VWD have normal or slightly reduced vWF levels but their vWF functions abnormally, leading to moderate bleeding tendencies. In this in-depth article, we explore Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease in relation to dogs, shedding light on its significance and the measures necessary to support the affected canine breeds.

Understanding Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand factor is essential for the adhesion of platelets to the site of a blood vessel injury and the formation of stable clots. In Type 2 VWD, the vWF molecule is structurally abnormal, impairing its function and reducing its effectiveness in promoting blood clotting.

Genetic Basis of Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease

Type 2 VWD is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, similar to Type 1 VWD. Dogs must inherit two copies of the mutated gene, one from each parent, to express the disorder. Carriers of one copy of the mutated gene do not show symptoms but can pass the gene to their offspring.

Symptoms of Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease

The symptoms of Type 2 VWD in dogs can vary in severity, and the clinical presentation may be more unpredictable compared to Type 1 VWD. Common signs include:

  1. Prolonged Bleeding: Dogs may experience prolonged bleeding from minor injuries, surgeries, or dental procedures.
  2. Spontaneous Bleeding: Unexplained bleeding from the gums, nose, or other mucous membranes may occur.
  3. Excessive Bleeding During Heat: Female dogs with Type 2 VWD may experience excessive bleeding during their heat cycles.
  4. Joint Bleeding: In some cases, bleeding into the joints (hemarthrosis) may cause swelling and lameness.

Diagnosing Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease

Diagnosing Type 2 VWD in dogs requires specific diagnostic tests to assess the qualitative abnormalities of vWF. These may include:

  1. Von Willebrand Factor Multimer Analysis: A laboratory test that evaluates the size and structure of vWF multimers.
  2. Platelet Function Testing: Assessing platelet function in response to vWF can help confirm the diagnosis.
  3. Genetic Testing: Identifying carriers of the mutated gene is crucial for breeding decisions.

Treatment and Management

The management of Type 2 VWD focuses on controlling bleeding tendencies and improving the dog’s quality of life. Treatment options may include:

  1. Avoidance of Certain Medications: Dogs with Type 2 VWD should avoid medications that can interfere with blood clotting.
  2. Blood Transfusions: In cases of severe bleeding or surgery, blood transfusions may be necessary to replace clotting factors.
  3. Preventive Measures: Preventing injuries and minimizing activities that may lead to bleeding are essential for managing Type 2 VWD.

Breeding Considerations

Responsible breeding practices are critical to reducing the prevalence of Type 2 VWD in susceptible canine breeds. Genetic testing can identify carriers and help prevent the transmission of the mutated gene to offspring.


Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease is a moderate inherited bleeding disorder that affects certain canine breeds. Understanding the genetic basis, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and management strategies is essential for dog owners and veterinarians to provide the best care and support for their affected companions. Early detection, responsible breeding practices, and appropriate management can contribute to improving the quality of life for dogs with Type 2 VWD and potentially reduce its occurrence in susceptible breeds. By promoting awareness and taking preventive measures, we can ensure that dogs with Type 2 Von Willebrand Disease lead happy, healthy lives as cherished members of our families.