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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 own pigment cells. This disease initially 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.

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

Now when it comes to…

The skin and eye inflammation that is caused by the uveodermatologic disorder what you’ll common find is that the nose, lips, and skin of certain 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. It is thought to be the dog’s immune system attacking the pigment cells as if they were a virus. This disorder often presents with red eyes that are irritated, the face and footpads being light in color, and the fur whitening (pollosis).

The main concern…

Your vet will have about this disease when it comes to the overall health of your pet is how is this condition affecting 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 is 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 does not normally 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 cases 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 tings
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Eye color lightening
  • Pain near the eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Small pupils
  • Verbal whining (pain) when in the sun
  • White spots on eyelids, footpads, lips, ad nose
  • Whitening of hair color

Cause and 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 things such as 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 breeds;

  • Chow Chow
  • Dachshund
  • Fox Terrier
  • Irish Setter
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Saint Bernard
  • Samoyed
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Siberian Husky

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 a detailing of 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 day care facility where they would have been exposed to a lot of other dogs.

Next your veterinarian…

Will likely want to give your dog a complete exam including, weight, body temperature, and blood pressure along with a cursory eye exam. The veterinarian may also want to perform blood tests (complete 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 in order to rule out signs of cancer.

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 own cells. Suppressing the immune system is most often done with oral corticosteroids, most often 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 the inflammation and irritation.  The most common eye drop prescribed by ophthalmologists is prednisolone.

Dogs that have…

Uveodermatologic disorder usually need to receive treatment for the rest of their lives. It is possible, if uveodermatologic disorder is found early enough, that 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, over time, the symptoms will reoccur and more aggressive treatment will be needed. Thus, it is important to follow all of the treatment instructions given by the ophthalmologist and to make sure 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 just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have myasthenia gravis (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!

Because…

The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, 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 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 right 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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