What is Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD)?
Von Willebrand's Disease or (vWD) is a bleeding disorder that changes how long it takes for the corgi's blood to clot causing them to bleed for a longer period of time; potentially bleed out in more severe cases. Von Willebrand's Disease is separated into 3 types. Going from mild to severe it's Type 1, Type 2, and type 3. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are affected by Type 1.
Owners usually notice symptoms such as: their corgi's gums randomly bleeding, excessive bleeding after losing puppy teeth, excessive bleeding after cutting nails (if the quip is cut), excessive bleeding during a heat (for female corgis only), bloody stools or urine, and more. The symptoms listed are what you should notice above the other symptoms not listed.
What Causes Von Willebrand's Disease?
If both parents carry the mutated gene that controls von Willebrand factor (a protein that plays a key role in blood clotting) then the puppy will be "at risk" for the disease and should be tested for it.
Genetically testing your corgi or having a veterinarian diagnose your corgi are both options to determine if your corgi is affected. It should be noted that all corgis affected are not affected in the same level of severity.
How is Von Willebrand's Disease Diagnosed?
A veterinarian can test the corgi's clotting factor prior to surgery. This test is called Buccal Mucosal Screening Time. While under anesthesia the veterinarian will make a small standardized cut in the corgi's mouth. The bleeding should be roughly under 4 minutes from this cut and clot on its own.
If it's suspected that vWD is present then a blood test will confirm the diagnosis. If affected there are medicines that your corgi should NOT take. You'll need to talk with your veterinarian about this.
There are 3 test results for vWD:
Clear - A (Normal)
Carrier - B (Carrier)
At Risk - C (At Risk)
If a puppy is clear then it shouldn't have vWD. If it's test result is carrier then they are not at risk for the disease, but will pass on 1 of 2 mutated genes to their offspring to get vWD. If they are at risk for vWD then you may want to have your puppy tested at a local veterinarian to make the final determination.
Breeding out Von Willebrand's Disease
As breeders and corgi owners it's our responsibility to genetically test for diseases that affect Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Not only to loosen the grip that Von Willebrand's Disease has on the breed, but to improve genetic diversity.
There are multiple genetic factors to consider when breeding. We cannot simply test and breed solely on vWD status. We must not pigeon-hole the genetic makeup of the breed. In doing so we will do more harm than good.
Getting a corgi from a responsible breeder will improve you and your corgi's chances of never experiencing a preventable disease.
What Can You Do?
Find a breeder who tests their corgis for diseases like Von Willebrand's Disease (vWD), ask what other testing is being done, ask them to see the test results. You must advocate for your future puppy.