Low White Blood Cell Count in Dogs

Neutropenia is the lower than normal count of neutrophils (a type of white blood cells) in the body. White blood cells are vital part of body immune system as they respond to infection and attack bacteria and other foreign invaders directly. Produced in bone marrow and circulating in the blood, neutrophils are abundunt in the body and make up about 50% to 75% of white blood cells. A decrease in the number of these cells leaves the affected dog susceptible to all kinds of infections and illnesses due to a weak immune system.

Infectious diseases that reduce the neutrophil production in dogs include parvovirus, different bacterial infections, and a tick transmitted disease called Ehrlichia. Certain drugs can cause this problem as well as cancers of the bone marrow. It can also be an inherited condition. 

This rather rare disorder in dogs is also sometimes called "gray collie disease" because it is a stem cell disorder that occurs in collies. The affected puppies are smaller and weaker with a pink rather than black nose. These puppies develop fever, diarrhea, joint pain and other signs. 

Genetic inheritence also occurs in Belgian Tervurens but the condition is less benign with treatment only necessary if the dog is unhealthy. Same is true for some giant schnauzers that also inherit this condition but the deficiency in this case, is due to failure to absorb vitamin B12.

Common symptoms of this condition include

Frequent infections

Unexplained fever, diarrhea, joint pain, etc.

Newborn puppies are small and sick—fever, diarrhea, joint pain, etc. In collies, the color of the coat is diluted and noses are gray rather than black like the other puppies 

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