FACTOR VII DEFICIENCY IN BEAGLES

Factor VII deficiency in beagles is known to cause a mild bleeding disorder.  This disorder has been known to occur in beagles for decades, a few years ago a test was developed by Dr. Giger at PennGen - University of Pennsylvania to identify carriers of this genetic trait.  There are only rare reports of severe bleeding requiring blood transfusions from Factor 7 deficient beagles as many of the affected dogs may remain totally asymptomatic. Factor VII deficiency is most often diagnosed coincidentally when coagulation screening tests are performed; the PT is prolonged, while APTT and other test results are normal. This autosomal recessive disorder maybe unknowingly passed on through generations via asymptomatic carriers but also thru affected dogs as they may not show obvious signs.  Affected dogs "may" exhibit an increased bleeding tendency following trauma or surgery.

The true frequency of this genetic deficiency in beagles is unknown, but recent stats from various labs that offer the genetic test for Factor 7 had indicated that well over 50% of beagles are either affected or carriers. Affected beagles have been noted in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.  Factor 7 deficiency has been identified in show and field bloodlines. Input from breeders in America that have tested their beagles have supported the fact that this seems to be a widespread occurrence.  Of the breeders that offered information to me, only a small number of "clear" beagles have been identified.  The majority of beagles tested have been shown to be carriers and many of them have actually tested to be affected.  Limited case reports are at end of this page.


It is apparent from the information I have received that this problem probably exists across most show lines in America.  One  breeder/veterinarian characterized this as a condition without symptoms. 

Dr. Marjory Brooks,Section Director-Comparative Coagulation Section-Animal Health Diagnostic Center Cornell University stated-

"Based on the clinical histories of Factor VII deficient beagles in general, however, they do not appear to have any increased risk of problems when whelping than other beagles. We have also worked with clinicians managing Factor VII deficient beagles that safely underwent routine spay and more complex pyometra (uterine infection) spay procedures without transfusion. So, having frozen plasma available in case of complication would be a good precaution and you should discuss the situation with your veterinarian ahead of time (and Iím happy to share my experience with them."

Factor 7 deficiency is a simple autosomal recessive trait.  This means that carriers bred to carriers can produce "clears", "carriers", or "affected" offspring.  Knowing the status of breeding partners can help to decrease the frequency of affected beagles.  Having a carrier does not mean having to remove that beagle from your breeding program. Breeding a "clear" to a carrier can produce "clears" or "carriers".   Just as with all other health tests, knowing the Factor 7 status of your Beagle can help you make better breeding decisions.  There are tests available at many labs including PennGen or at VetGen that will identify the Factor 7 status of your Beagle.  This test is a simple cheek swab and cost approximately $75.


Unfortunately, as we see with other health problems in our breed, many breeders do not test and do not want to admit that they have any problems.  Breeders that step up to the plate and do health testing and openly admit to having problems and that are working hard to breed away from them; are often ostracized by other breeders.  This problem may be insignificant, as compared to other problems in our breed-that is a personal choice.  If you as a breeder, choose to do this health screening for your knowledge then you are doing the best you can to breed better.

A wise seasoned, breeder once told me: "If you breed long enough and often enough; you will have to deal with problems.  The measure of a good breeder is not if you deal with problems but how you deal with those problems".  Factor 7 deficiency is just one of many health issues that must be considered and ranked according to importance in our own personal breeding programs.

Anyone that can share with me on a confidential basis, a specific bleeding incident related to Factor 7 please contact me. 

CASE STUDIES:
1.  Two females both having c-sections without problems--deteremined to be "affected" by routine testing.

2.  Pet bitch with a lethargy and blood diarrhea for aprox 12 hours.  She was recently spayed (five days prior).  The spay was routine and she was doing well following the procedure up until last night.  She has had some bouts of bloody diarrhea in the past (last bout about one month ago) but they seem to resolve on their own.  Transfusion was done after lab work.  Factor Seven test was drawn and came back as "affected".  Female continues to have periodic bouts of bloody diarrhea that is self -limiting and has not required additional transfusions.

3.  Pet female at 3.5 months old checked for coagulation time prior to minor surgery. First test showed 6 seconds (1-3 normal). Second test showed 190 seconds. A whole blood transfusion was given to the dog just prior to the surgery. A spay operation was also done. There were no events of excessive bleeding. During dew claw removal at 5 days of age, there was no excessive bleeding.  Factor Seven test --affected.

4. (From a breeder outside of USA)-All my beagles have come back affected. Even one that I brought in with a totally different sire but from a bitch I bred. I had a female who was spayed after a C-section and she bled from a torn artery. This was her third C-section and she had no problem at all with the first two. I also believe that ANY dog would bleed from a torn artery. A different affected female had a c-section with no abnormal bleeding with her first litter. Second litter we planned a C-section and there was difficulty in removing placentas from wall of uterus. I was not happy afterwards with the amount if vaginal bleeding and her gums were white. I insisted on staying and asked them to do a blood count. I was told that it was OK for after a C-section. We went home. After a few hours she was still bleeding so I took her back. Vet did another blood count and said she needed a transfusion. So scary as she was fading and unable to sit up. Transfusion fixed her up. When she was spayed at a later date she had no abnormal bleeding. I had another affected female have a C-section recently. No abnormal bleeding whatsoever.

5. This is from my personal experience-I have an affected male snake bitten three times. I witness the first bite and before I could get to him he was bitten two more times. Fangs marks on each front leg and one bite in mouth. At the vets his mouth was swelling greatly and the vet drew blood from neck jugular vein and started IV in leg. He was given anti-venom. This was a perfect situation for a bled. Multiple sites from Snake bites(which can in itself cause coagulation problems), multiple punctures with IV and blood tests. He never bled. His bites healed properly and he does not have any residual scarring from any of the bites.


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