Neuromuscular diseases affect animals as well as humans, and one of the most common is known as Acquired Myasthenia Gravis. It's a disorder that interrupts communication between the nerves and the muscles. It's also an autoimmune disease, meaning it's caused by the body's own immune system turning against itself. Specifically, the immune system attacks and destroys junctions, which are places where the neurons (nerve cells) and muscles interconnect. Once these junctions are destroyed, the adjacent muscles cannot be controlled or are poorly controlled.
With myasthenia gravis, a dog will experience muscle weakness, especially in the limbs and the muscles affecting the eyes, facial expressions, throat and esophagus. Sixty percent of affected dogs will become fatigued after any significant exercise; others will develop difficulty swallowing or noticeable changes in their voice. The dog may appear only slightly affected, or else be almost entirely immobile. [...]
As with any purebred breed of dogs there are some genetic health problems associated with the Akita breed. They are not typically unhealthy dogs and virtually all of the health issues within the breed can be tested for prior to breeding, ensuring that reputable breeders are not producing genetically inferior litters. With this breeds surge in popularity in the early 1970s through the 1980 many puppy mills and backyard breeders produced genetically unhealthy dogs, leading to health issues with the breed. For this reason it is highly recommended to only purchase an Akita from a reputable breeder that completes all health and genetic checks prior to breeding programs. [...]