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Uveodermatologic Syndrome in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Uveodermatologic syndrome in dogs is not that common of a disease, but it is something that does happen.  And when it happens to your little buddy it really doesn’t make all that much difference in your world that it’s a relatively uncommon condition.

This is why…

We decided to include uveodermatologic syndrome on our list of conditions that can affect dogs so if you do suddenly find yourself in a position where you dog has been diagnosed with this condition you might be in a better position to know what to expect.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Uveodermatologic Syndrome Defined

Uveodermatologic syndrome is a hereditary autoimmune disorder that causes your dog’s own autoimmune system to attack its pigment cells. This disease begins with light patches around the nose, but often the first symptom to be noticed is the related eye problems, redness, and squinting.  The problem is these same eye problems can also be attributed to such things as:

  • Tick disease,
  • Injury,
  • Infection,
  • Or even cancer.

This is one reason why this disorder isn’t always diagnosed right away.

Now when it comes to…

The skin and eye inflammation caused by the uveodermatologic disorder you’ll commonly find is that the nose, lips, and skin of specific breeds of dogs begin to lose their pigment.  And while this is an uncommon disorder in most dogs, it is relatively common in particular breeds and is thought to be the dogs. The dog’s immune system is thought to attack the pigment cells as if they were a virus. This disorder often presents with irritated red eyes, the face and footpads being light in color, and fur whitening (pollinosis).

The main concern…

Your vet will have about this disease when it comes to the overall health of your pet is how this condition affects the health of your dog’s eyes.  This is why we always recommend that you have your dog checked out by a vet as soon as possible if you suspect that your dog may have uveodermatologic syndrome, particularly if your dog’s eyes seem to be affected.

Symptoms of Uveodermatologic Syndrome

Symptoms of Uveodermatologic syndrome in dogs do not usually start to appear until a dog is six months old, and there have been cases where signs have not shown until a dog is almost six-year-old. In a lot of instances the early symptoms of skin depigmentation are often dismissed as being merely cosmetician nature, but when a dog has trouble seeing this is when a veterinarian is finally consulted.

The following are…

The most common symptoms associated with Uveodermatologic syndrome in dogs:

  • Bumping into things,
  • Cloudy eyes,
  • Excessive blinking,
  • Eye color lightening,
  • Pain near the eyes,
  • Red eyes,
  • Small pupils,
  • Verbal whining (discomfort) when in the sun,
  • White spots on eyelids, footpads, lips, ad nose,
  • Whitening of hair color.

Most Commonly Affected Breeds

The cause of a dog’s immune system attacking cells responsible for the production of pigment is thought to be genetic. The trigger can be a viral infection from a tick bite, injury, or cancer. The Akita is the most common breed affected by Uveodermatologic disorder. It has also been found in the following species;

Diagnosis of Uveodermatologic Syndrome in Dogs

With every trip to the veterinarian, you will need to provide the veterinarian with your dog’s complete medical history along with any abnormal behavior and appetite changes. When uveodermatologic is suspected, your veterinarian will also need to know whether your dog has been treated for fleas and ticks if you found ticks on your dog’s body, and whether your dog has been to dog parks or a dog daycare facility where they would have been exposed to a lot of other dogs.

Next, your veterinarian…

You wYou will likely want to give your dog a complete exam, including weight, body temperature, blood pressure, and a cursory eye exam. The veterinarian may also want to perform blood tests (total blood count and blood chemical level), fine needle biopsy, urinalysis, and probably a fecal exam.  The veterinarian will also do X-rays and CT scans to rule out cancer signs.

At this point…

Your veterinarian will probably refer you to a veterinary ophthalmologist. To get a definitive diagnosis of uveodermatologic syndrome, the ophthalmologist will need to do a thorough eye examination.  The eye examination that the ophthalmologist does will include three parts; a Schirmer tear test to determine whether there is adequate tear production, a fluorescein staining to see if there are scratches or abrasions on the cornea, and tonometry to find fluid pressure inside of the eye.

Treatment Uveodermatologic Syndrome in Dogs

Uveodermatologic disease is treated by suppressing the immune system; this is done to keep the immune system from attacking its cells. Suppressing the immune system is most often done with oral corticosteroids, prednisone and azathioprine. (Humans are often treated with the immunosuppressant cyclosporine.) Eye drops are used to treat the eye topically and are usually cycloplegics and corticosteroids, which relieve inflammation and irritation.  The most common eye drop prescribed by ophthalmologists is prednisolone.

Dogs that have…

Uveodermatologic disorders usually need to receive treatment for the rest of their lives. If uveodermatologic disease is found early enough, there may be a good outcome, but most likely, your dog will go completely blind. This is because there is no overall cure for uveodermatologic syndrome. In most cases, the symptoms will reoccur over time, and more aggressive treatment will be needed. Thus, it is essential to follow all of the treatment instructions given by the ophthalmologist and to ensure that your dog is brought back for regular follow-up visits.

The good news is that…

Even with uveodermatologic disorder, you and your dog can have a very long and happy life together.  But we should remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who are passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.  This is why if you feel like your pet may have uveodermatologic syndrome(or any other health issue for that matter),, you’re going to want to have them check out by a vet ASAP!


An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, but beyond that,, diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

Potential Costs of Treating Uveodermatologic Syndrome in Dogs

  • Veterinary Exam: $50-$150.
  • Blood Test: $75-$350 (each).
  • Fine Needle biopsy: $75-$200.
  • Urinalysis: $75-$150.
  • Fecal Exam: $25-$50.
  • X-Ray: $50-$250.
  • CT: $1,100-$2,500.
  • Ophthalmologist: $190-$250.
  • Prednisone: $20-$40 (per month).
  • Prednisolone: $170-$220 (3-6 months).

This is also why we here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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