When you are a dog owner and one or more of those dogs is an English Springer Spaniel, you may not ever really think about breed specific health conditions that they may suffer from or develop. However, every dog breed has its quirks and specific medical conditions, and the English Springer Spaniel is no exception. One of the diseases that affects this breed is a condition known as fucosidosis. Read this article to learn more about fucosidosis and how it might affect your English Springer Spaniel so that you can make sure you get your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible if they show signs or symptoms.
What Is Canine Fucosidosis?
Canine fucosidosis is a rare disease that is inherited genetically. It is considered to be a recessive autosomal disease, meaning that both parents need to carry the gene mutation in order for a dog to develop the disorder. Dogs with only one form of the gene mutation are known as carriers.
This is a condition in which your English Springer Spaniel's body cannot produce an enzyme known as alpha-fucosidase. This enzyme helps to break down sugars, fats, and cholesterol in the body. When these substances cannot be broken down, it means that the dog cannot get the nutrition that they need to function properly.
How Does Fucosidosis Affect A Dog?
Most of the symptoms of canine fucosidosis are neurological in nature. They affect the ways in which your dog thinks and is able to function mentally. Your dog may begin to act confused and may not respond to known commands or perform known behaviors as they normally would. This can be as simple as forgetting the command "sit" or not going outside to urinate or defecate.
Many dog owners assume that their English Springer Spaniel is acting out and just having behavior issues when this occurs, delaying diagnosis. As the condition progresses, an affected dog may also experience extreme weight loss, deafness, blindness, and extreme changes in temperament. Fucosidosis is progressive, and the symptoms will continue to worsen over time.
What Are The Options For Treating Fucosidosis?
Fucosidosis is an incurable genetic disorder and is considered to be fatal. However, a diagnosis does not mean that you need to make any drastic decisions in the moment. If discovered early, you can work with your veterinarian to manage the symptoms and improve your English Springer Spaniel's quality of life.
Experimental treatments for fucosidosis including stem cell therapy and bone marrow transplants can change the speed at which the disease affects your dog and may improve their overall quality of life. Additionally, you may be able to try monthly injections of a form of the missing enzyme as a means to break down those fats, sugars, and cholesterol molecules that build up in the dog's body due to the disease.
Now that you better understand fucosidosis and how it can affect your English Springer Spaniel, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to keep your dog healthy and to get them the diagnosis and the treatment they need to deal with this disease. For more information, talk with an experienced vet at clinic like Chapel Hill Veterinary Clinic.