Factor VII in Scottish Deerhounds

The Scottish deerhound is related to the Irish wolfhound.
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Known for their pleasant temperaments and loyalty to their owners, Scottish deerhounds are gentle giants originally the property of nobility. Scottish deerhounds are generally healthy, but some may suffer from certain genetic health conditions, including factor VII deficiency. This disease can lead to excessive bleeding if your pooch is injured or goes through surgery of any kind.

Blood Clotting and Factor VII Deficiency

Factor VII is a type of protein secreted by your pup's liver that aids in the coagulation of his blood. Pups with factor VII deficiency don't produce enough of this protein to effectively make their blood clot when they are injured or when they are recovering from surgery like a healthy pooch. This makes even routine procedures, such as spaying, dangerous for a factor-VII-deficient dog because he will continue to bleed after surgery much like a human with hemophilia. Scottish deerhounds are just one of the breeds that this genetically inherited condition can affect. Others are beagles, Airedales, Alaskan klee kais and giant schnauzers.

The Genes Have It

Factor VII deficiency is an autosomal recessive disorder, meaning that dogs with two mutated disease genes will suffer from the condition, and those with only one gene will be healthy carriers of it. Those with no disease genes won't have the disorder, nor will they carry it into future generations. If a Scottish deerhound who has the disease is bred with one who doesn't have the gene, a chance of at least 25 percent exists that their puppies will suffer from the disease. Two healthy deerhounds who carry the gene can also produce offspring with a 25 percent chance of developing the disease. For this reason, all Scottish deerhounds should be tested for this gene before being bred.

It's All in the DNA

Even if a Scottish deerhound appears healthy, if he carries the gene for factor VII deficiency, you should breed him only with a pup who doesn't carry the gene; a Scottish deerhound who suffers from the disease shouldn't be bred. When speaking to a breeder about purchasing a Scottish deerhound, ask her if she's gotten her dogs tested for the gene and what the results of the test are. If your pup carries one gene for factor VII deficiency, he should live a healthy life with no complications. Testing for the gene or the disease requires a blood sample or a noninvasive swabbing the inside the cheeks of your pooch to obtain his DNA.

Pups With Factor VII Deficiency

Scottish deerhounds diagnosed with factor VII deficiency require special care and considerations, especially in terms of veterinary treatment. Your vet should have clotting factors available during any surgical procedures to prevent your pup from bleeding out. Some pups require blood transfusions after a severe injury that causes excessive blood loss. Small cuts and bruises are usually not causes of severe bleeding. Pups with this disease should not receive any blood thinners or other medications that can affect the clotting of the blood. Note that the severity of the disease may vary.