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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Dysautonomia in Dogs

By William B. Thomas, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), Professor, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee ; Cheryl L. Chrisman, DVM, MS, EDS, DACVIM (Neurology), Professor of Veterinary Neurology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida ; Charles E. Rupprecht, VMD, MS, PhD, Director, LYSSA LLC ; Kyle G. Braund, BVSc, MVSc, PhD, FRCVS, DACVIM (Neurology), Director, Veterinary Neurological Consulting Services ; Caroline N. Hahn, DVM, MSc, PhD, DECEIM, DECVN, MRCVS, Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Clinical Neuroscience, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh ; Charles M. Hendrix, DVM, PhD, Professor, Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University ; Karen R. Munana, DVM, MS, DACVIM (Neurology), Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine,North Carolina State University ; T. Mark Neer, DVM, DACVIM, Professor and Hospital Director, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University ; Robert Wylie, BVSc, QDA

Also see professional content regarding canine dysautonomia.

Canine dysautonomia is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system, which controls many reflexes and other neurologic functions that the animal does not consciously control. Cases have been reported from both Europe and the United States, where canine dysautonomia has been seen primarily in the Midwest. Signs often include a loss of the pupillary light reflexes, with otherwise normal vision. The eyelid may droop or protrude abnormally, and the position of the eyeball may be abnormal. The dog may experience painful or difficult urination and lose anal sphincter control. Secondary signs such as pneumonia and lethargic behavior may develop. Weight loss may be dramatic. There is no treatment and the condition is ultimately fatal.