Auto-Immune Disease in Pets

Common Auto-Immune Diseases for Pets

Back in the early 1980s, very little was known about the below issues in animals. By the early to mid 1990s, whenever a veterinarian was baffled, almost every dog had an auto-immune issue. I had the misfortune in 1981 of my Afghan Hound, Baby Kaseme, of being diagnosed with Lupus. By 1982 a fellow veterinarian and I knew more about these issues than most vets in the country. Working closely with veterinarians in Europe we were lucky to come up with a very effect treatment program without the necessity of medications using the holistic approach. What our research also showed was that many lab tests were inaccurate as well as many symptoms mimicked those of auto-immune illness. Please research on your own if you hear any of these in relation to your pets. Also, always get a second opinion and look into other treatment options. More and more allopathic veterinarians are warming to the holistic approach and working together it is possible to keep the animals in remission since none of these can be “cured”.

Addison’s Disease

This is an adrenal gland issue of which is located just forward of the kidney. It is made up of two main parts the medulla and the cortex both of which produce hormones. The cortex hormone maker is the one concerned in Addison’s since it produces what is called corticosteroids. In Addison’s there is a deficiency of the corticosteroids hormone. Left untreated animals can die of shock. Blood sugar plummets, potassium soars upward, the heart rate slows causing arrhythmia. Caught early, this can be treated well with medication if you opt for the allopathic route.

Von Willebrand

There are three classified types but what is more important with the pet caretaker to understand and simply put it is a blood clotting disease. It is a very complex issue but one if you are a breeder and have a bred that is predisposed, DO NOT BREED YOUR DOGS! These dogs will hemorrhage easily, sometimes the platelets (we learned this word in the lab test results area) will drop drastically. Allopathic treatment is medication.


There are two types of Lupus, systemic lupus erythematosus and discoid. Discoid effects the skin while systemic affects the entire body.

Discoid is usually seen with pigment lose on the nose and can effect the face. Just because you see your pet with a pink spot on the nose do not run and call your vet’s office hysterically screaming I KNOW MY DOG HAS LUPUS. Many dogs pigment on the nose change as they age. As with people, direct sunlight can make it worse but it can usually be treated topically.

Systemic Erythematosus is rather rare, as I unfortunately found out and affects the entire body. It is an auto immune disorder in it’s simplest terms means that the good cells can no longer tell what is good or what is bad so they kill everything in sight even the healthy cells. This results in arthritis kidney disease, skin disease and blood disorders. Let untreated it can be deadly since once an attack happens it will cause damage to a specific organ. Generally every time there is an episode, that same organ goes under attack again. Allopathic treatment is medication.


This is another adrenal gland issue caused by an excess production of hormones. Although the adrenal glands produce a number of hormones the culprit in this one is called cortisol. Cortisol can only be produced when the adrenal and pituitary gland are functioning normally. The two type of Cushing’s is when either the pituitary gland is producing too much of a hormone and the other when the adrenal gland is diseased. Left untreated it can lead to diabetes, congestive heart failure, liver or kidney failure. Allopathic treatment is medication

(Note on author: The advantage of opinions is they cannot be wrong and they cannot be right. Consequently all written material is strictly my opinion based on over 30 years working with animals. I do not believe in “experts” for one finds out quickly that there is always someone who is smarter, better educated and a wider life experience. If I was an expert and knew everything I would opt to be dictator of the world, not working with animals. I do not believe in statistics since for every con argument there are equal pro arguments to challenge those statistics. Consequently rarely, if ever do I use them.
All information is copyright by Mimi Davis d.b.a. Curbside Clippers. (Copyright 2002. All Rights Reserved) Any use must have prior permission.

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