Weak Immune System due to Hereditary Disorder in Dogs

3 min read

Immunodeficiency Disorders in Dogs

The immune system is a collection of biological processes that protects against disease by identifying and killing the invading pathogens, as well as tumor cells. It works 24/7, guarding against invading organisms and infections, detecting a wide variety of invading agents including bacteria, viruses, and parasitic worms. One key feature of the immune system function is that it is able to distinguish the invading organisms from the body’s own cells and tissues.

Primary immunodeficiency disorders involve weakened immune response when required. Primary immunodeficiency disorders are seen due to heritable defects in the immune system, whereas secondary immunodeficiency disorders are caused by some other primary disease.

Breeds predisposed to primary immunodeficiency disorders include basset hounds, Cardigan Welsh corgis, Jack Russell terriers, Beagles, German shepherds, Chinese shar-pei, Doberman pinschers, dwarfed Weimaraners, gray collies, and Irish setters.

Symptoms and Types

  • Prone to recurrent infections and failed response to conventional antibiotic therapies
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite (anorexia)
  • Various skin infections
  • Poor growth (hallmark)
  • Post vaccination diseases
  • Other symptoms related to infections


Immunodeficiency disorders are a congenital disorder; i.e., dogs are born with them.


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, to your veterinarian. He or she will then conduct a complete physical examination, as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count (CBC) -- the results of which may reveal various cell abnormalities or clues for infections. More specific tests are available for a more detailed evaluation of the immune system, and may be employed by the veterinarian with your consent. For example, he or she may take a bone marrow sample from your dog for evaluation.

Related Posts

Anemia Related to the Immune System in Dogs

Victoria Heuer
Apr 05, 2016

Systemic Autoimmune Disease in Dogs

PetMD Editorial
Apr 07, 2016

Narcolepsy and Cataplexy in Dogs

Cecilia de Cardenas
Aug 19, 2010