ALL ABOUT DOGS and CATS Resource Center for Canine & Feline Lovers
Pet Health Articles
They Are Not Immune: Immune Deficiency Disorders
By Lilly Espisito
Your dog is not immortal. He or she is susceptible to a variety of diseases. Among the many problems
facing your favourite canine companion are those that attack the immune system.
What Is The Immune System?
The immune system (IS) is a combination of organisms that works to protect the body from disease
and infection. When invaded by unfriendly bacteria or viruses, the IS puts together a multi-pronged
defense. The IS recognizes the antigen. It then produces antibodies to bind the antigen and prevent
harm from occurring or reduce the instance of possible disease.
Also responsible for fighting invading substances are the two different types of cells.
* T-cells – are natural killers of invaders produced by the thymus gland
* B-cells are also natural killers, but are white blood cells.
These cells act as a strong natural defense but sometimes, it is the IS that faces problems and suffers
Your dog can suffer from allergies. This is a not natural reaction or a wrong reaction to an allergen. The
most common allergies developing in a dog concern food, fleas and certain applied substances. Dogs
react with visible signs of skin problems such as flea dermatitis or atopic dermatitis.
The best way to treat allergies in dogs is to find out the causal factor. Sometimes a vet will prescribe
antihistamines for air born allergens. In general, the best way to control allergies is to remove or at
least reduce the causal factors. This may mean extra vigilance concerning dust, pollen and fleas. You
may also have to switch to a food lacking such allergy causers as corn and other grains. Vets and pet
food stores sell different types of hypoallergenic food.
An autoimmune disease occurs when the body turns on itself. Antibodies used to control a problem
within the body actually attack a normal body part. The most commonly affected area is the skin.
Currently, there is no cure. You and your vet can manage the problem using corticosteroids (anti-
Immune-mediated arthritis is common among older, toy or small breed canines. This condition happens
when the antibodies attack the body’s own connective tissues. The result is a serious problem in the
joints. A painful type of immune-mediated arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. Other types are non-erosive-
such as Lupus. No one knows the actual cause of the issue which creates problems of arriving at a cure.
Treatment for immune-mediated arthritis usually involves various types of anti-inflammatories e.g.
corticosteroids. Other medications possible are chemotherapeutic agents such as azathioprine,
cyclophosphamide and methotrexate. Prednisone is another possibility. The medication depends upon
the age of the dog and the intensity and extent of the medical problem.
The use of medication will not cure the problem. The problem resides in discovering the cause of the
problem. Canines with anti-immune arthritis are subject to relapses of the problem.
Dogs are not immune to many health issues. Although many have a healthy immune system to fight
against health issues, sometimes, the immune system fails. The canine may suffer physically when the
immune system does not act, overreacts or acts in an incorrect manner. Your vet can help you control
if not cure many of the problems that can affect your canine’s immune system.
Article by Lilly Espisito, check out petflow.com for Merrick pet food & Fromm dog food online!