Uveodermatologic Syndrome in Dogs
Your dog's immune system produces chemicals called antibodies to protect its body against harmful substances and organisms such as viruses, bacteria, etc. An autoimmune disorder is a condition in which the immune system cannot tell the difference between harmful antigens and its own healthy body tissues, leading it to destroy the healthy body tissues. Uveodermatologic syndrome is one such autoimmune disorder known to affect dogs.
Some breeds are at an increased risk of developing this disorder, including Akitas, Samoyeds, and Siberian huskies. However, dogs of all ages are at risk.
Symptoms and Types
- Inflammation of the interior of the eye (uvea)
- Loss of skin pigmentation (leukoderma) in the nose, lips, eyelids, footpads, scrotum, anus, and hard palate
Underlying autoimmune disorder
After recording a complete history, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical and ophthalmological exam on your dog, taking into account the background history of symptoms and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. Standard laboratory work will include a blood chemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis and an electrolyte panel. The results of these tests are often found normal in animals with this disorder.
Your veterinarian will also take skin tissue samples to be sent to laboratory for evaluation. The veterinary pathologist will examine the tissue sample microscopically to distinguish any changes that are characteristic of this condition.
Immediate therapy is of utmost importance in order to prevent permanent damage to the eyes. If treatment is not started in time, your dog may develop complications and may even become permanently blind.
The main objective of the treatment is to suppress the abnormal immune response that is taking place against the healthy body tissues, in this case the eyes and skin. Based on the final findings, the appropriate injections and eye drops will be prescribed for your dog.
Because suppressing the immune system can lead to its own complications, you will need to go over the details of this approach with your veterinarian. There are important steps that need to be taken to protect your dog from acquiring serious infections while it is undergoing immune system therapy.
Living and Management
During the initial course of treatment, you may need to visit your veterinarian twice every week. During each visit your veterinarian will conduct laboratory testing and eye examinations to monitor your dog's progress and adjust medications as needed. Drug doses need to be adjusted regularly to prevent some of the complications that are often related to immunosuppressive therapy.
Finally, you will need to monitor your dog's overall health and report anything of concern to your veterinarian so that it can be resolved quickly, before it becomes a possibly life-threatening issue.