Dogs with Autoimmune Disease are Increasing, Says Vets

Autoimmune disease, a condition that has no known cause, is causing deaths to many family pets. Veterinarians say that there are increasing numbers of animals diagnosed with the disease and it is currently untreatable.

Autoimmune disease in dogs can suddenly happen, just like in humans. However, dogs are dying from it so it is now being heavily researched, according to WLKY.

Seven-year-old Toby is one of the family pets who are diagnosed with the autoimmune. Tonya Skaggs, its owner said that she knew when something is wrong. Toby stopped eating regularly and started losing weight; however, it still has energy.

"That started to change about a week before we took him to the vet. He became completely lethargic, probably three days prior to us taking him the vet to where he didn't do anything. He didn't move," Skaggs said. Toby's veterinarian believed that an autoimmune disorder causes his sickness.

To understand autoimmune disease in dogs, immune system should be given a general understanding and know how it works.

According to Natural Dog Health Remedies, the immune system is composed of white blood cells, antibodies and other substances that work together interdependently. Their job is to reject foreign proteins and fight off infections.

Each body organ and tissue has its own role in protecting the body. Skin is the first defense against bacteria and other environmental threat, kidneys and liver filter wastes and toxins from the blood and blood carries oxygen, antibodies and nutrients where it is needed. The spleen then filters the blood and traps the remaining foreign bodies that were not killed by the body's army and the lymphatic system cleanses and feeds the cells and tissues and brings the "immune army" to the parts of the body that were not reached by blood.

Autoimmune disorder occurs when one or more of these components of the dog's immune system overacts and lose its ability to distinguish "self" and "foreign." This will cause the system to produce antibodies and attack the body's cells and organs instead of fighting off foreign proteins like virus and bacteria. Autoimmune disease may affect just a single organ, a region or the whole body.

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