von Willebrand's disease in Scottish Terriers in Australia

Aust Vet J. 1995 Nov;72(11):404-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-0813.1995.tb06188.x.


Over a 5-year period (1988-92), von Willebrand factor antigen (vWf:Ag) assays were performed on plasma samples from 207 Scottish Terriers. Based on these tests, 47 dogs (23%) had vWf:Ag concentrations < 50 canine units (CU)/dL and were classified as heterozygous carriers of the von Willebrand's disease (vWD) gene, while 9 (4%) had concentrations below the sensitivity of the assays and were classified as homozygous. There was thus an overall prevalence of 27% for the vWD gene in the Scottish Terriers tested. The homozygous dogs (median age 0.6 years at diagnosis) consisted of 7 males and 2 females. Eight of these had haemorrhage attributable to the disease, mostly spontaneous and from the oral mucosa. Other signs included haemorrhage induced by trauma or surgery, easy bruising and epistaxis. Many haemorrhagic episodes were severe enough to warrant therapeutic intervention and there was a single fatality. Pedigree analysis, possible in 7 of the dogs, revealed that each was the progeny of a mating between dogs with vWf:Ag concentrations < 50 CU/dL, which supported an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. A single heterozygous carrier suffered haemorrhage after surgery that, in contrast to the homozygotes, was mild and did not require therapy. The data indicate that vWD is a significant problem in Scottish Terriers in Australia. Accordingly, we recommend that steps be taken to reduce the prevalence of the disease and thereby the number of clinically affected dogs, such as the establishment of a national testing scheme to determine the vWD status of all breeding dogs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Breeding
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / genetics
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Heterozygote
  • Homozygote
  • Male
  • Pedigree
  • Prevalence
  • von Willebrand Diseases / epidemiology
  • von Willebrand Diseases / genetics
  • von Willebrand Diseases / veterinary*
  • von Willebrand Factor / analysis
  • von Willebrand Factor / genetics


  • von Willebrand Factor