Amyloidosis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

A beagle dog resting in the sofa, possibly suffering from amyloidosis

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Amyloidosis in dogs is a condition where proteins called “amyloid” are deposited in dogs’ organs and tissue, causing them to function abnormally. Amyloid is waxy and translucent in appearance, and the body can’t digest it.

If the issue goes untreated for a long time, it could cause organ failure, especially in the liver and kidneys where it’s most common in dogs. The symptoms can vary depending on which organs are affected and the amount of amyloid deposited.

This is an uncommon condition with many possible causes, though there’s a known genetic predisposition among certain breeds. If you see the signs in your dog, then you must consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for amyloidosis in dogs.

Symptoms Of Amyloidosis In Dogs

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

The symptoms of amyloidosis in dogs can vary based on which organ is affected. Typically, kidneys are the most common organ in which amyloid is deposited; however, the liver, skin, or other internal organs may be susceptible, as well.

Here are several possible symptoms you may see in dogs suffering from amyloidosis:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Signs of straining or pain while urinating
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Ascites
  • Edema, especially in the legs
  • Fever
  • Swollen joints
  • Dehydration
  • Jaundice

Causes Of Amyloidosis In Dogs

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

There are several possible causes of amyloidosis in dogs, though the condition is fairly uncommon.

Certain breeds have a predisposition to congenital amyloidosis, including Chinese Shar-Peis, Beagles, and English Foxhounds. Cutaneous amyloidosis that affects the skin is most often reported in Golden Retrievers.

The most common form of amyloidosis results from protein that forms in response to inflammation, which means that almost any condition that causes severe inflammation can result in abnormal protein deposits.

Here are a few of the conditions that can trigger amyloidosis in dogs:

  • Chronic infection or inflammation
  • Parasitic infections
  • Immune disease
  • Lupus
  • Cancer/tumors

Though it can affect dogs of any age, the majority of canines with the condition are over five years old. Furthermore, the risk for developing the condition gets higher with age.

Age-related amyloidosis is fairly common and mostly affects certain arteries.

Treatments For Amyloidosis In Dogs

A female veterinarian wearing a lab coat and a stethoscope is giving a golden retriever dog an exam in her clinic

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Unfortunately, there is no direct treatment for amyloidosis in dogs. Some drugs are known to block or reduce amyloid levels, but evidence of the positive effects of these medications on dogs is inconclusive at this time.

There is no cure for the condition, and depending on which organs are affected and how far the condition has progressed, the prognosis may not be good, giving dogs with amyloidosis only months to live. This is especially true if a dog is suffering from renal failure.

It’s important to note that not all cases of amyloidosis are so life-threatening. Therefore, you must consult a vet for a proper diagnosis and prognosis.

Treatment focuses on support for the affected organs rather than on amyloidosis, itself. Vets will give dogs suffering from dehydration intravenous fluids until their condition stabilizes.

Vets will also treat underlying causes accordingly, and they may prescribe long-term management, diet and lifestyle changes, and medications for at-home care. Further follow-up vet visits are necessary to monitor the progress of the condition and the state of the affected organs.

If your dog suffers from amyloidosis, then follow your vet’s instructions for care and monitoring closely.

Do you keep an eye on your dog for conditions like amyloidosis? Do you also make sure to keep up with regular vet checkups to find these issues early? Let us know in the comments below!