The immune system is essential to your pet's body, in that it is able to recognize any threatening substances and destroy them almost immediately. Unfortunately, this system does not always function as it should. In some cases, your pet's antibodies will attack healthy tissues rather than harmful substances as it should.
How Autoimmune Disorders Affects Your Pet
Autoimmune disorders occur when your pet's immune system does not function properly and it cannot tell the difference between harmful substances and normal body tissues. This can cause the immune system to produce antibodies that will attack your pet's organs and cells rather than protect them from viruses and bacteria. These pet health disorders can be restricted to just one organ, several or even your entire pet. Pets can be affected by autoimmune diseases. There are many different disorders of this type including, but not limited to, pemphigus vulgaris, feline leukemia, Addison's disease, allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and canine lupus.
Common Symptoms of Autoimmune Disorders
The symptoms of autoimmune disorders on pets vary broadly depending on the organ or system that has been adversely affected. Additionally, many of these symptoms are indicative of other conditions as well. As such, it is essential for you to visit your veterinarian right away if you notice your pet displaying any of the signs listed below: Bloody Stools and/or Diarrhea, Lethargy and/or Depression, Weakness and/or Tires Easily, Lesions on the Skin or Anus, Itchy, Dry Skin, Lesions in the Nose or Mouth, Walking Stiffly, Lameness/Pain When Walking, Seizures, Anemia, Reduced Appetite, Foul Body Odor and Weight Gain or Loss.
Treatments for Autoimmune Disorders
Although the treatments required for autoimmune disorders vary depending on what organ or part of the body has been affected, the goal is still the same. The goal is to suppress the immune system so that it does not continue to attack healthy tissues. This is commonly accomplished with such medicine as corticosteroids, cytarabine, lomustine, cyclosporine and/or leflunomide depending on your pet's unique case. Again, the medication your vet may choose is solely dependent on the organs or tissues that have been affected. Additionally, studies have shown that all-natural diets and supplements can help your pet's immune system function properly. Supplements known to support a healthy immune system include essential fatty acids, probiotics, sterolins, plant sterols and antioxidants.
There are many theories as to what may cause autoimmune disorders, and they include various vaccines, certain food additives and environmental pollutants. However, studies have shown that many of these disorders may have genetic predispositions or can be caused by infections, stress and hormonal imbalances. The following list includes breeds that are predisposed to these disorders as well as conditions that can make pets vulnerable to them. However, it is essential to note that not every breed that is listed below or every animal that experiences one of these conditions will necessarily develop an autoimmune disorder: English Springer and Cocker Spaniels, Old English Sheepdogs, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, Irish Setters and Dachshunds.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.