Platelet Size, Platelet Surface-Associated IgG, and Reticulated Platelets in Dogs with Immune-Mediated Thrombocytopenia


Corresponding author: Melinda J Wilkerson, DVM, PhD, Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, Kansas State University, 1800 Denison Ave, Manhattan, KS 66506 (e-mail:


Abstract: Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (IMT) is a disorder in which bound IgG on the surface of platelets results in platelet removal and alterations in mean platelet volume. Using flow cytometry, alterations in platelet size, platelet surface-associated IgG (PSAIgG), and numbers of reticulated platelets were determined in 13 dogs with primary IMT and 4 dogs with secondary IMT induced by experimental infection with Babesia gibsoni. Effects of sample age on platelet parameters also were determined, using samples from 20 dogs with normal platelet counts analyzed within 4 hours and after 24, 48, and 72 hours of storage in EDTA. No significant changes in platelet count, platelet size, or reticulated platelet percentage were observed in samples assayed within 4 and 24 hours of blood collection; whereas PSAIgG values increased 3 to 7 fold in samples stored for 24–72 hours. Using reference values for freshly collected or 24-hour-old samples, 10 of 13 (77%) dogs with primary IMT and all B gibsoni-infected dogs had increased PSAIgG levels. In 12 (75%) of the 16 dogs with thrombocytopenia the percentage of reticulated platelets was increased; however, absolute numbers of reticulated platelets were within reference values. Moreover, PSAIgG level and the percentage of reticulated platelets were not always increased concurrently in dogs with primary and secondary IMT. Platelet microparticles were detected in all B gibsoni-infected dogs, 8 of 13 (62%) dogs with primary IMT, and transiently in a dog that responded to immunosuppressive treatment. The results of this study indicate that sample age and time of sampling during disease affect interpretation of platelet parameters in dogs with IMT.