Pelger – Huet Anomaly in Boston Terriers

Dogs suffering from Pelger-Huet Anomaly produce white blood cells which possess both morphological and functional abnormalities. These defects often predispose the occurrence of autoimmune reactions where in the immune system of the dog is unable to recognize its own body thus attacking its own healthy body tissues.


There have been many problems met in arriving at a correct diagnosis because there are many disease conditions which manifest the same clinical symptoms. Certain neoplastic conditions and infections have also been shown to manifest the same signs thus there is a need to arrive at a differential diagnosis in order to be able to plan out an effective therapeutic regimen. There are also certain medications which have been shown to induce abnormal development of white blood cells. These conditions often create a pseudo Pelger Huet Syndrome which is not inherited rather it is attained as the dog grows into maturity.

Pelger Huet Syndrome has been recognized as a significant disease condition in dogs because clinical studies have shown that it can pave the way for the occurrence of serious health conditions including leukemia.


Your veterinarian will be able to arrive at a correct diagnosis by examining white blood cells and demonstrating the presence of monocytes and granulocytes with peanut-shaped nucleus. A biopsy of the cells of the dog’s bone marrow may also be recommended.


Once your vet arrives at a diagnosis, the white blood cell count of the affected dog will be regularly monitored. The increased production of immature white blood cells can affect the healthy cells of the bone marrow resulting in the bones becoming brittle. The blood clotting mechanism of the body is also compromised thus increasing the dog’s susceptibility to invasion of pathogenic microorganisms.

Since it is a congenital condition, there is no successful cure for Pelger-Huet Anomaly. Dogs which have been diagnosed with the disease anomaly should undergo rigid monitoring of white blood cell count to avoid the occurrence of serious and life-threatening conditions.

Cases of Pelger-Huet Anomaly are most common in Australian Shepherds however it can also affect other breeds of dogs such as Boston Terriers.