Immune Mediated Thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a condition where the pet’s own immune system attacks and destroys the platelets in the body, resulting in thrombocytopenia (low platelets). This condition can be life-threatening if left untreated and affects mainly dogs, and is rare in cats.
Clinical signs of ITP include bruising, petechiation (pin point red spots), bleeding from the nose, mouth or anus, bloody diarrhea or stool, and blood present in vomit.
Diagnosis of ITP includes various blood tests, with further diagnostics potentially being recommended to rule out other causes.
Treatment of ITP varies depending on the severity of the thrombocytopenia. More severe cases may require hospitalization, whole blood or plasma transfusions, injectable medications and supportive care and monitoring. Most patients require long-term medical management and monitoring but do not usually require medications for life.
The prognosis for ITP in dogs is generally good, with approximately 50% of dogs having a single episode and respond well to therapy during their lifetime. The prognosis for ITP in cats is guarded, as the disease is often associated with feline leukemia virus infection.
It is vital during treatment that you and your veterinarian monitor your pet closely with frequent bloodwork monitoring, and all medications be given as directed by your veterinarian.