Autoimmune Diseases in Pets: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Autoimmune Diseases in Pets

First of all let us not confuse  the term autoimmune diseases with AIDS. These diseases are quite different from each other. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) refers to the disease states associated with infection by a specific immunodeficiency virus. AIDS has nothing to do with autoimmune diseases.

So what exactly is an autoimmune disease? Autoimmune disease starts when your pet’s immune system, encompassing antibodies and blood cells,  fails to distinguish between good and bad proteins and attacks and rejects its own tissue as foreign. This is similar to a system failure in a computer.

There are different types of autoimmune diseases which can occur in your pet. Some of them are more prevalent than others. The one thing that is similar to this disease is that the immune system of the pet goes terribly wrong and results in intense inflammation and pain in certain body parts of the pet. The pet may display sign of an autoimmune disease by limping or itching/chewing  body areas, excessive licking of the front paws, sores on the body, and swelling of the toes.

Some of the Autoimmune diseases found in dogs

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Autoimmune Hemolytic Anaemia
  • Lupus
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Diabetes

Autoimmune diseases found in cats

  • Diabetes
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Pemphigus

Some of these diseases are now considered to be triggered by genetic pre-disposition. There can be other reasons too, like environmental pollutants or food preservatives.

You vet can diagnose these diseases in your pet.

Management of autoimmune diseases can be difficult and life-long. However, there are now a number of great pet foods designed for certain diseases that can reduce the reliance on drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Examples are Hills m/d for diabetic animals and Hills j/d for pets with arthrits.

Check our website or call our friendly staff to find out if there is a special diet designed for your pet’s health condition!