Muscular dystrophy is a genetically inherited disease that affects muscles in dogs. The signs of the disease are generally seen in dogs’ lives, and they progress with time as the pooch ages. Muscular dystrophy usually refers to over thirty genetic diseases in dogs that lead to a breakdown in the muscles.
This skeletal muscle condition can be characterized by muscle weaknesses and stiff muscles that limit activities as it worsens. The progressive degeneration of this condition is caused by fibrosis of the muscle cells, which results in loss of muscle function. Treatment of this condition is limited to symptom relief and is unable to stop the condition’s progression, which is usually fatal.
Causes of muscular dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy is typically associated with the defect of genes on the x chromosome. Since male dogs only have one copy of the x chromosome, they’re likely to suffer from the condition than female ones. Female dogs posses two copies of the x chromosome and therefore more likely to have at least one functional copy of the gene.
The bodies of dogs suffering from muscular dystrophy produce an incomplete version of protein known as dystrophin. The membranes of muscle cells tend to be leaky with themalfunction of dystrophin. Abnormal dystrophin causes substances inside the muscle cells the leak and allows different things to enter the cell. These leak cell membranes, therefore, result in abnormality in the muscle function and the structure.
Signs and symptoms of muscular dystrophy in pups
Signs and symptoms of muscular dystrophy have an early onset, often present in your dog’s early life, even at birth. These include
- Weakness of muscles
- stiffness in muscles
- Stiff gait
- difficulty in swallowing
- muscle atrophy
- plantigrade stance
- muscle enlargement
- resistance to exercise
- limb deformity
- excessive drooling
- breathing sounds
- loss of muscle mass
- progressive generalized weakness.
Diagnosing the disease
The diagnosis of the condition is derived from the signs and abnormalities seen in testing. The test for positive diagnosis is a microscopic evaluation of the immunohistochemically staining and muscle tissue from a biopsy. The two tests can also assist in the distribution between the various types of muscular dystrophies.
When your pooch is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, it is essential to avoid breeding more pets with such conditions in the future. If your pooch is diagnosed with the disease, you should not bred it even if it has survived to adulthood. The mother of the affected puppy should also not be bred because it is likely to be a carrier of the trait.
Treatment of the condition
So far, there is no treatment specifically for muscular dystrophy, but drugs may help with symptoms. Most veterinarians usually administer glucocorticosteroids, but they often have negative results. Sometimes surgery may be performed to correct the gait abnormality or limb deformity. Some supportive therapies within your dog and surrounding environment can also be of help, such as soft bedding.
Recovery of muscular dystrophy
The recovery from the condition is guarded to poor. While some of the four-legged friends can stabilize after maturity, the state’s progressive nature can cause weaknesses at muscle disease and debilitation.
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Prevention is essential in such a debilitating condition. The breeders are advised not to breed the affected pets though the possibility of an asymptomatic female carrier dog remaining at the undiagnosed always has a risk for passing on the gene.