Auto Immune Disorders
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Auto Immune Disorders

Myasthenia Gravis: A Disabling, but Treatable, Problem

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. [...]

Immune Disorders Strike Dogs as Well as Humans

As medical research teaches us more about the immune system, and as more and more autoimmune conditions are diagnosed in canines, especially purebreds, the issue of a dog's immunity is becoming a concern for would-be pet owners.In all mammals, the immune system serves as the body's defense against disease. It's comprised of white blood cells, antibodies and various other chemicals the body uses in its war against infections and any substance it perceives as foreign to the host animal. It's designed to combat any of these cells that it identifies as "non-self," and it does this through chemical markers that are found on the surface of every cell in the animal's body. It's this natural combative design that causes a person's or animal's body to reject blood transfusions, organ transplants and skin grafts. [...]

Pemphigus Foliaceus

One of a group of similar diseases (including pemphigus vulgaris, pemphigus vegetans, and pemphigus erythematosus) known collectively as the pemphigus complex, pemphigus foliaceus is a disease in which the body mistakenly produces antibodies that attack the outermost layer of skin. Though all breeds of dog are susceptible to this disease, the most common victims include Akitas, Dachshunds, Doberman Pinschers, Spitz breeds, and Bearded Collies. Because pemphigus foliaceus affects the most superficial skin layer, it is fortunately very easy to spot and diagnose. It usually manifests at first as a scaly texture to the skin, which then results in blisters that quickly rupture and cause scabs and other pus-filled sores. The blisters tend to come to a head and drain rapidly so they may be hard to find, but in general the disease has a very distinctive look and feel that makes it hard to misidentify. [...]

Genetic Hemolytic Anemia Is A Serious Health Concern

Genetic hemolytic anemia goes by many different names including immune mediated hemolytic anemia and autoimmune hemolytic anemia or AIHA. It can be caused by something as simple as a bee sting a vaccination or even a complication from a basic skin infection or cut. It is a disease that is most common in both intact and spayed females and typically effects a wide number of dog breeds, both mixed and purebred. Within the purebred group the most common breeds to experience genetic hemolytic anemia are the Basenji, Cocker and Springer Spaniel, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Dachshund, Malamute, Shih Tzu and West Highland White Terrier. Mixed breeds that have lineage from one or more of these breeds are also at risk. [...]

Dogs Vulnerable to Several Types of Blood Disorders

If you notice your dog is bruising easily or bleeding with no obvious cause, a trip to the veterinarian is in order. Your pet may have one of several types of bleeding disorders that can affect canines. These disorders occur when the blood does not clot normally, in turn causing the dog to bleed abnormally or excessively after any minor injury or cut.There are a number of warning signs that indicate your dog may have a blood disorder. Be watchful for any bleeding or bruises that have no obvious cause, frequent nosebleeds and blood in the animal's urine or feces. Also, the gums may be pale, and there may be tiny pinpoint-sized red spots on the gums or the whites of the eyes. If your dog becomes tired easily, he also may have anemia, which results from a reduced number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. [...]

Jawbone Disorders In Dogs

There are many different types of jawbone disorders that can be problematic in a variety of dogs from the small little toy dogs on up to the giant dogs. Some breeds will have possible jawbone problems either based on genetic or congenital problems that can occur within the breed or line. By purchasing a puppy through a reputable breeder there is far less chance of any type of jawbone abnormality to occur, plus you will have researched the breed and be aware of the potential problems and issues that can occur. In most breeds there is the possibility of an under or overshot jaw. In some breeds, such as the Bulldog, the longer lower jaw is desirable, but in most breeds it is considered a serious fault or a disqualification. Dogs with longer lower jaws may have increased problems with trauma and damage to the jaw that can affect the movement of the mouth. Since any pain associated with the mouth or jaw leads to a decrease in food consumption, this can have a huge impact on the overall health of the dog. [...]

Necrotizing Myelopathy: How to Cope

Necrotizing Myelopathy is a degenerative disease that affects the spinal cord in dogs, gradually affecting mobility and sensation. It is a progressive disease, so its not known to get better without treatment, and even with treatment, its progress is usually only slowed. The problem is one of the autoimmune system. As antibodies are produced that mistakenly attack the own body, tissue in the central nervous system is destroyed or "necrotized" this phenomenon is often described as the body literally eating itself. When the muscular tissue surrounding the spinal cord is eventually eaten away, it exposes the sensitive nerve fibres of the spinal cord itself. When those are affected, disastrous results begin to happen instantaneously. Paralysis results as the control pathways between the brain and the muscles are shut down and destroyed. [...]

Canine Patterned Baldness: A Sign of Auto-Immune Troubles?

Generally, baldness is not considered to be a major problem with dogs. It tends to affect a relatively small percentage of the population, and even then is usually only considered a major defect when it happens to animals that are active in the show ring. However, there are times when animal baldness should be taken more seriously, as it could very well be the sign of much more serious problems that are lying in wait.Patterned baldness is an unpredictable disease. Victims usually are born with thick and normal coats as puppies, with bald spots only beginning to develop at the point of maturity. These bald spots first tend to appear on the flanks, inside the hind legs, and along the front and sides of the neck, often at the deepest part of the chest. It can be distinguished from other causes of hair loss by its distinctive pattern: hair loss as a result of patterned baldness will always occur symmetrically. [...]

Pelger-Huet Syndrome: A Sign of Things to Come?

Pelger-Huet Syndrome is an observed abnormality in the formation of the nucleus of white blood cells. Whereas a typical white blood cell nucleus would have a generally round appearance, cells affected by Pelger-Huet Syndrome acquire a shape more like two round shapes held together by a thin bridge. It is often described as being shaped like a peanut. Though Pelger-Huet Syndrome is defined as a congenital abnormality, it can and often is developed post-birth and in such cases is termed "Acquired Pelger-Huet Syndrome" though for all intents and purposes, it remains the same defect.This particular type of cellular defect is significant not because of any real problem that it causes in and of itself but because it acts as herald to much more serious diseases such as leukemia. [...]

Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA)

Immune medicated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) is the new name for Auto Immune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA) a condition where the feline autoimmune system attacks red blood cells. The Immune System treats the red blood cells as foreign bodies; sending out antibodies which coat the red blood cells with a protein substance to single them out of the blood circulation pool for destruction. This process is called extravascular hemolysis. At the same time, the bilirubin (iron) that is extracted from these marked blood cells are sent to the liver. When this process occurs, the liver and spleen begin having problems. The spleen is overworked by having to process damaged red blood cells and enlarges as result. The liver is overloaded with bilirubin causing jaundice. [...]

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