Canine amyloidosis – Symptoms and Treatment

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Amyloidosis is a disease that occurs due to the accumulation of amyloid in different organs such as the kidneys or the liver. It is not very frequent but it can be a common cause of problems in the kidney system.

For this reason, especially in certain dogs more susceptible to amyloidosis, it is necessary to take it into account when diagnosing kidney diseases. Unfortunately it does not have a good prognosis.

Index of contents

  • 1 What is amyloidosis?
  • 2 What are the symptoms of amyloidosis?
  • 3 How is amyloidosis diagnosed?
  • 4 What is the treatment for amyloidosis?
  • 5 Is amyloidosis cured?
  • 6 What happens to shar pei with amyloidosis?

What is amyloidosis?

Amyloidosis is characterized by the accumulation of amyloids in the organs or in the tissues. Amyloid is a grouping of proteins that have been linked incorrectly and, when deposited in different organs, is capable of causing various diseases.

The definition of amyloid and any polypeptide that is grouped in a certain structure is considered as such. The causes of appearance of this disease are not clear Nor is much information available on how amyloids act on organs.

Depending on the characteristics of this deposit, different functional or structural alterations will occur in the affected organs or tissues. In dogs, amyloidosis usually affects the kidneys. Amyloid, in this case, is deposited in the glomeruli, which are the functional units of the renal system, causing failure.

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What are the symptoms of amyloidosis?

The symptoms of this disease will depend on the organ that is affected by the deposit of amyloids. How dogs are more likely to damage the kidney, the clinical picture will correspond to that of kidney disease. In the shar pei episodes of fever and joint problems may occur before we discover kidney involvement.

In amyloidosis, therefore, we will have nonspecific symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy, edema, which are accumulations of fluid, ascites, which is the concentration of fluid in the abdominal cavity, etc. If there is already kidney failure, we will detect an increase in the intake of water and in the elimination of urine, anorexia, nausea and vomiting.

How is amyloidosis diagnosed?

If, based on the dog’s symptoms and characteristics, such as history, breed, sex, or age, the vet suspects amyloidosis, he can confirm this. looking for amyloid in the body. It is necessary to know that although the kidney is affected, it will not always be possible to detect the damage in an analysis.

X-rays show an abnormal or dwarfed form of these organs. Ultrasonography would corroborate this assessment but it is not specific for amyloidosis. Therefore, confirmation of the diagnosis requires a biopsy of the affected tissue. This test, being invasive, is only done in cases where it is essential.


What is the treatment for amyloidosis?

A single treatment cannot be established because it will depend on the damage caused by the disease. What is attempted in any case is to reduce the formation of amyloids, prevent their deposition and alleviate the symptoms that occur due to the affected organ.

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Some drugs can be used based on the experience of their use in human patients with amyloidosis, although there is some controversy in veterinary medicine about their usefulness and, ultimately, their efficacy. Yes, it is recommended to start treatment as soon as possible Because, hopefully, the medication may be late and no longer serve any purpose.

On the other hand, it is necessary to control the symptoms as they appear. The vet will also prescribe a high quality diet with a low percentage of protein. The rest of the measures will depend on the affected organ and the damages that have been caused. Therefore, a personalized treatment adjusted to each case is required.

Is amyloidosis cured?

Unfortunately, this disease is progressive and has no cure. Sooner or later, it will progress to kidney failure, in the majority cases in which the deposit occurs in these organs. The treatments, so far, have not been successful. The prognosis, therefore, is not good. Sick animals usually die before two years.

In conclusion, the vet can treat the disease but not cure it. The drugs and recommendations will serve to improve the dog’s quality of life for as long as he can live with the disease.


What happens to shar pei with amyloidosis?

This breed can suffer from a type of amyloidosis called familial, also present in other dogs such as beagles. Affected shar pei may soon begin to show signs of the disease, around one year of age. Females suffer more and cause kidney failure.

In shar pei this pathology is hereditary. It affects the kidney more but the amyloid can also be deposited in other organs such as the liver, spleen, or thyroid gland. That is why shar pei are a risk group when it comes to suffering from this disease.