Tag Archives: German Shepherd Dog

Autoimmune Disorders

Pemphigus complex the pemphigus complex comprises a group of rare autoimmune diseases described in dogs and cats the diseases are vesiculobullous ulcerative disorders of the skin and often the mucous membranes autoantibody is directed against the epidermal intercellular cement substance and may be demonstrated by direct immunofluorescence testing histologically the pemphigus complex is characterized by acan-tholysis (loss of cohesion between individual epidermal cells) Pemphigus foliaceus the most common of the autoimmune diseases dogs and cats no age, breed or sex predisposition Clinical features often begins on the face, nose and ears as a vesiculobullous or exfoliative pustular dermatitis () footpads are frequently involved with hyperkeratosis mucocutaneous lesions are uncommon Diagnosis history physical examination histological examination: subcorneal acantholysis leading to the development of a cleft. Within the cleft there are neutrophils and eosinophils direct immunofluorescence may reveal intercellular deposition of immunoglobulin throughout the epidermis Differential diagnosis bacterial folliculitis dermatophyte infection seborrhoea systemic lupus erythematosus discoid Read more […]

Panhypopituitarism (Pituitary Dwarfism)

hereditary, thought to be autosomal recessive German shepherd dog and carnelian bear dog are predisposed most dogs have a cyst (Rathke’s cyst) in the pituitary gland signs are principally related to lack of growth hormone, but there are others if the thyroid, adrenal or gonadal releasing hormones are deficient Clinical features pups are normal until approximately 3 months of age, but subsequently fail to grow the puppy coat is retained and no primary hairs develop; hair is easily epilated bilaterally symmetrical alopecia gradually develops during the first year of life although short of stature, affected pups have virtually normal body proportions hyperpigmentation usually develops in the alopecic areas there may be other signs attributable to hypothyroidism or hypoadrenocorticism other abnormalities which may be noted include aggression (fear biting), short mandible, delayed dental eruption, cardiac disorders, megalooesophagus and gonadal abnormalities lifespan is often reduced Diagnosis history physical examination and comparison with litter mates rule out other endocrine disorders biopsy: histopathology is that of a typical endocrinopathy — hyperkeratosis, follicular atrophy Read more […]

Idiopathic Colitis

This lorm of colitis is now considered to be one of the commonest causes of chronic diarrhoea in the dog () and appears to be much less common in the cat. However, there is a report of six cases of lymphocytic-plasmacytic colitis in cats (). It may be better described as a syndrome rather than a specific condition as there are many possible aetiological agents which may be responsible for the changes in the colon. Idiopathic colitis appears to affect any breed of dog and cat with no age or sex predisposition. However, cases appear to be more common in German Shepherd dogs. Rough Collies and Labradors. Unfortunately it is still unusual to determine the cause in the majority of cases of idiopathic colitis, hence the term, but occasionally a specific diagnosis is obtained. In this respect mycotic colitis has been recorded in cats due to Aspergillus spp.. The authors consider that dietary factors may be very important in the aetiology of colitis, because of the response noted to dietary management without drug therapy. Other aetiological agents include Trichuris vulpis infection, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. Idiopathic colitis may also develop as a sequel to gastroenteritis, secondary to small intestinal Read more […]

Gastric dilation and torsion

This condition preferentially affects the large deep-chested breeds of dog such as Bassett Hounds, German Shepherd dogs, St. Bernard, Irish Setters, Great Danes and Dobermans but Dachshunds may also be affected. There may be a predilection for young male dogs, but torsion has been observed in dogs from 2 to 10 years of age. The cause is not known but predisposing factors include; breed, use of dry cereal-based diets, overeating or drinking, stress, exercise and aerophagia (Table Predisposing causes for gastric torsion). Cereal-based diets fed as one large meal per day result in larger and heavier stomachs than those found in dogs fed tinned meat and biscuit. This predisposes the dog to gastric dilation and torsion (). It is also possible that disordered gastric motility may be involved. Torsions most often occur to the left or clockwise effectively sealing off the oesophagus and pylorus (). In our experience the mortality rate can exceed 68%. Table Predisposing causes for gastric torsion Breed Diet Overeating Stress, excitement Gastric stasis Aerophagia Motility disorder Lax gastric ligaments Normally the pylorus is held in position on the right of the abdomen by Read more […]

The Retina and Optic Nerve

Tapetal coloration of the fundus of the puppy and kitten is usually gray or blue at 6 to 8 weeks of age, gradually acquiring its adult coloration by 4 to 7 months of age when the tapetum matures. Myelination of the optic disc may also be incomplete in the puppy and kitten, giving the impression of a small, well-defined nerve head that takes on a more fluffy appearance as adult myelination occurs.Both congenital and acquired disorders of the retina and optic nerve are recognized in the young dog and cat. These may be inherited, as with collie eye anomaly, or secondary to postnatal influences, as occurs with canine distemper-induced retinitis. Congenital abnormalities can be diagnosed as early as 6 weeks of age, when the posterior segment is clearly observed. The more common congenital abnormalities of the canine fundus are summarized in Table Congenital Abnormalities of the Canine Fundus. Acquired abnormalities develop with advancing age and in this discussion are limited to those in dogs and cats younger than 6 months of age. Table Congenital Abnormalities of the Canine Fundus (diagnosed as early as 6-8 wk of age). DISORDER BREED CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES Collie eye anomaly Collie, Shetland sheepdog, Read more […]

Eosinophilic enteritis

This is a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract which may involve only the small intestine or may also involve the stomach or large intestine (). There appear to be more cases reported in German Shepherd dogs although other breeds may also be affected. The aetiology is thought to be an allergic reaction to food components () or internal parasites such as Toxocara canis (). It has been reported in both dogs and cats although it is not as common as lymphocytic—plasmacytic enteritis. In cats the eosinophil infiltration may be more extensive and involve tissues outwith the digestive tract. It is thought the eosinophils are attracted to the intestine by a chemotactic factor produced from intestinal mast cells which suggest a type 1 hyper-sensitivity reaction has occurred. However chemotactic factor is also released by T lymphocytes and complement so there may be an Arthus reaction or delayed cell-mediated hypersensitivity involved () Clinical diagnosis The clinical signs depend on the severity of the condition in the individual dog or cat. In dogs many cases are mild leading to chronic diarrhoea and variable weight loss. In severe cases hypoproteinaemia develops due to the loss of plasma proteins into Read more […]

Lymphocytic-plasmacytic enteritis

This is a chronic inflammatory condition of the small intestine characterized by infiltration of the lamina propria by plasma cells and lymphocytes (). Middle-aged dogs of either sex are most susceptible and it appears more common in the German Shepherd dog although any breed can be affected. Similar infiltrations have been observed in other conditions such as bacterial overgrowth and giardiasis. In the Basenji a complex disease entity exists, characterized by anorexia, occasional vomiting and chronic diarrhoea. Histological changes to the small intestine resemble lymphocytic—plasmacytic enteritis. The condition is thought to have a hereditary basis and may be precipitated by stress. Hypoalhuminaemia and hypergammaglobulinaemia are other hallmarks of the condition (). The condition has also been diagnosed in cats which usually only develop a mild form of the condition, and certainly are never as severely affected as the Basenji. The aetiology of the condition is not understood but may simply reflect a normal intestinal response to antigen such as bacteria, virus or allergen (). This is further substantiated by a resolution of the problem when a hypoallergen diet is fed or where corticosteroids are administered Read more […]

Bacterial overgrowth

This is a condition seen in man and dogs where bacteria in the small intestine proliferate to abnormally high levels and subsequently interfere with intestinal function. There are few documented cases in dogs, in contrast to the extensive literature written on the subject in man. In the few canine reports Pseudomonas aeruginosa (), Bacteroides (), E. coli, Enterococcus, and Clostridium spp. () have been implicated. Clostridium difficile has been reported as causing chronic diarrhoea in dogs (). The German Shepherd dog appears to be more frequently represented than other breeds, although any breed can be affected. There is no sex predisposition. The aetiology is complex and not fully understood but may involve one of the following; (1) increased gastric pH (above 5) results in ingested bacteria surviving passage through the stomach to the small intestine; (2) extensive use of broad spectrum antibiotics may allow one population of bacteria to survive while others are suppressed; (3) reduced intestinal motility such as in stagnant loop syndrome, paralytic ileus and intestinal obstruction may allow bacteria to proliferate (); and (4) impaired immunity has also been implicated (). Bacterial overgrowth is often present Read more […]

Neurological diseases of old age chronic ‘old dog’ encephalitis

Canine distemper is most prevalent in young dogs, but chronic ‘old dog’ encephalitis is the neurological manifestation of canine distemper virus (CDV) infection that is seen in adult dogs which have survived the acute infection. Dogs developing this condition are usually over 6 years of age and have serological evidence of systemic immunity. The neurological signs (see Table Neurological signs seen in the ‘old dog encephalitis’ form of canine distemper) may occur without previous evidence of systemic disease and are usually progressive and irreversible (). The involuntary muscle twitching (myoclonus) is typical of CDV infection. Table Neurological signs seen in the ‘old dog encephalitis’ form of canine distemper. Hyperaesthesia Cervical pain Seizures Cerebellar and vestibular signs Visual deficits Behavioural changes Head-pressing Circling Paraparesis or tetraparesis Ataxia Myoclonus CSF examination for increased protein and increased lymphocyte count may be helpful in diagnosing dogs exhibiting neurological signs. Histologically there is perivascular lymphoplasmacytic infiltration in areas of demyelination and neuronal degeneration which may progress to sclerosing panencephalitis Read more […]

Intention tremors due to cerebellar disorders

Tremors that occur when an animal intends to move in a goal-orientated activity are most often the result of cerebellar disease (). Degenerative diseases Cerebellar cortical degeneration Cerebellar cortical degeneration, also termed cerebellar abiotrophy, is usually an inherited disease in dogs () with few reports in cats. Primary cerebellar cortical degeneration refers to degeneration and loss of Purkinje cells, molecular cells and granule cells. Clinical signs: These diseases are recognized syndromes in American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Kerry Blue Terriers, Gordon Setters, Rough-coated Collies, Border Collies, Brittany Spaniels, Bullmastiffs, Old English Sheepdogs and occur rarely in Samoyeds, Airedales, Finnish Harriers, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Cairn Terriers, Great Danes, Scottish Terriers and others (). Clinical signs usually begin between 3 and 12 months of age. However, a subset of adult onset diseases occur with signs starting from 2-8 years of age in the Brittany Spaniel (), Gordon Setter (), Old English Sheepdog (), American Staffordshire Terrier () and Scottish Terrier (). Other signs of cerebellar disease that accompany cerebellar Read more […]