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Objective To determine the prevalence of asymptomatic idiopathic macrothrombocytopenia in the population of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (CKCS) in New South Wales (NSW) and to determine if it exhibits an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern. We also aimed to determine if significant differences existed when counting platelets manually, by auto analyser or by blood smear estimation in CKCS and mixed breed dogs.

Methods Blood was collected from 172 dogs (152 CKCS and 20 mixed breed) and placed into sodium-citrate anticoagulant. Platelet counts were performed manually, by auto analyser and by blood smear estimates in CKCS and mixed breed dogs. Blood smears were also examined for platelet clumping and erythrocyte, leukocyte and platelet morphology. Pedigree analysis was performed to determine if an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern was supported.

Results A statistically significant difference was found in platelet counts between CKCS and mixed breed dogs (P < 0.0001). CKCS had a platelet count that was 32% that of the controls (95% confidence interval, 28 to 37%). There was no significant difference between methods used to count platelets. Thirty percent of CKCS had macrothrombocytes. Pedigree analysis and examination of obtained and expected segregation ratios from 17 CKCS families supported an autosomal recessive pattern of Mendelian inheritance.

Conclusions A high prevalence of idiopathic macrothrombocytopenia exists in CKCS in NSW and automated or blood smear estimates are sufficient to count platelet numbers. Data supports an autosomal recessive inheritance pattern.