January 17, 2021

What Are the Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease in Dogs?


In order to keep your pooch healthy and happy, they need to have a strong immune system.

But when the normally healthy cells of the immune system attack themselves, it can cause autoimmune disease in dogs.

This can cause a lot of stress, especially if you don’t know the symptoms of autoimmune disease in dogs.

With our guide, we will teach you about the symptoms to look out for, and how to test for autoimmune disease in dogs.

What Is Autoimmune Disease in Dogs?

Autoimmune essentially means a disease in which the body’s immune cells start to attack themselves. 

If your dog has an autoimmune disease, it means his body does not recognize good cells from bad cells. This is what causes them to attack themselves. Genetics play a role in these diseases, but other causes remain poorly understood by experts.

There are many variants of this when it comes to our favorite furry friends, including skin autoimmune diseases in dogs, and autoimmune thyroid disease in dogs. Luckily, if dog owners are vigilant, they can help alleviate their pup’s symptoms at home, giving them a better quality of life. 

What Are the Symptoms of Autoimmune Disease in Dogs?

Autoimmune diseases can affect any part of your dog’s body. This can include its skin, blood cells, there are even signs of autoimmune disease in the dog’s mouth.

Knowing what the different types of autoimmune disease are, and the symptoms can help get your best friend the help he deserves.

Some common types include:

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus

(DLE) is a disease that is also known as “collie nose.” Although it is not restricted to just collies, other breeds such as German shepherds and huskies also suffer from it.

The main symptoms to look out for is a change in color and texture of the skin around ears, lips, eyes, nose, and genitals. It can also cause skin ulcers to form.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

(IBD) is a collection of diseases that cause inflammation of the intestinal tract. It does seem to have a hereditary component.

Main symptoms include chronic vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Autoimmune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia

(AIHA) is a disease that causes a dog’s immune system to attack its red blood cells, causing anemia. Without enough red blood cells, your dog’s tissues will become starved of oxygen.

Look for a reduced energy level, increase in fluids, and a decrease in appetite.

The main symptoms for all autoimmune diseases to look for include:

  • Chronic vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Pale gums
  • Blisters
  • Rashes
  • Fever
  • Limping
  • Skin ailments

If you are concerned your dog has an autoimmune disease, or if he has been diagnosed with one, then you can help by making sure his diet is as good as possible. The best dog food for autoimmune disease is food that you make yourself.

Ground meat, rice, eggs, and veggies, mixed with supplements will provide a nutritious and delicious diet for your pooch.

How to Test for Autoimmune Disease in Dogs

If you suspect your pup is suffering, take him to the vet for an evaluation. They will take a history of your dog and perform a physical exam. 

Although there aren’t a lot of tests that can determine autoimmune diseases in dogs, your vet will diagnose based on ruling out common diseases. Once diagnosed, your vet will treat the symptoms. Prolonged and sometimes perpetual treatment is often needed to alleviate the symptoms.

Healthy Dog, Happy Dog

Autoimmune disease in dogs is a very scary thing, especially when you are not prepared for it.

Keep aware of your dog’s health and behavior, and if you are ever concerned, then it is always best to check with your vet. 

If you found this article helpful, then make sure you check out the rest of the latest posts on the site.


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