Shikoku Ken
Image © Sophie Allen

Lysosomal Storage Disease

There is limited information regarding this condition. It is caused by a lack of the enzymes that are needed to perform metabolic functions. It is genetic, and Shikoku will start to show symptoms around 6 months of age, which will get progressively worse, with most dogs dying between age 3-5 years old. It may be diagnosed via blood tests, urine tests, x-rays of the chest and abdomen, ultrasounds, enzyme measures, and tissue biopsies. There is currently no cure for this condition, and is one the most terrible diseases affecting the Shikoku today.

Symptoms:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Muscle trmours
  • Head tremours
  • Head tilt
  • Hindlimb weakness
  • Collapse
  • Compromised vision
  • Seizures
  • Balance problems

Seizures

The most common cause of seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy. It is genetic and the cause is unknown. Seizures are when the brain has uncontrolled episodes of electrical activity. It can cause dogs to fall to the floor, have behaviour changes (become aggressive or disorientated), and can last up to several minutes. There are a number of reasons your dog can develop a seizure such as diagnosed epilepsy; ingesting poison; low or high blood sugar; kidney disease; head injury; brain cancer; and brain swelling. The most common kind is the generalized seizure, also called a grand mal, where a dog can lose consciousness and start to convulse violently. The abnormal electrical activity happens throughout the brain. Generalised seizures usually last from a few seconds to a few minutes. With a focal seizure, abnormal electrical activity happens in only part of the brain. Focal seizures can cause unusual movements in one limb or one side of the body. Sometimes they last only a couple of seconds.

Symptoms:

  • Vacant stare
  • Tremors
  • Convulsions (such as paddling or shaking, these can be mild or very violent)
  • Aggression
  • Being disorientated
  • Vocalization, such as barking or whining
  • Unconsciousness
  • Urinating or defecating uncontrollable
  • Temporary blindness
  • Tongue biting

Treatment:

Depending on the cause of the seizure, treatment will vary massively. For epilepsy, the most common treatment is medication for life. Always follow your vets advise with seizures. If your dog has a seizure, stay calm, time it from start to finish, and move out of your dog’s way enough so you are at a safe distance, but can monitor your dog. It is important you do not touch your dog whilst they are having a seizure as stimulation can make it worse. Turn off the lights and keep the room quiet. Move things away from them that they could hurt themselves on such as furniture. It is important to remember your dog cannot choke on his tongue. Your dog may urinate and defecate whilst having the seizure. Always ring your vet practice once the seizure is over to let them know what to do next. If your dog continuously seizes for more than 5 minutes, or comes out of a seizure and straight into another one (called cluster seizures), ring your veterinary surgeon and take them to the practice right away, as this is now a medical emergency, as your dog could over heat.


Entropion

Entropion is an eye condition where the eyelids roll in towards the eye, causing the fur and lashes to rub onto the surface of the eyeball. It is mostly noticed in dogs under 6 months of age, and causes a lot of pain and irritation to the eyeball. It can affect one or both eyes. This is a genetic condition, and normally affects dogs that have wrinkly skin on their face such as chow chows, pugs and shar-peis, but is not limited to these breeds.

Symptoms:

  • Red eyes
  • Rubbing eyes or pawing at eyes
  • Runny eyes
  • Eye ulcers
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Squinting eyes
  • Closing eyes repeatedly

Treatment:

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Some dogs have very mild entropion, and can go on to live happy and healthy lives, where the condition may cause an eye infection once or twice a year. Other dogs have very severe entropion and cannot be managed medically. Options including waiting or the puppy to grow up and grow out the condition, if the dog is still affected by 1 years old, the only cure is eyelid surgery. A vet will remove a small wedge of excess tissue from the affected eyelid, to make the eyelid turn outwards again, and stop rubbing on the surface of the eyeball. Surgery is incredibly successful, and will rectify the problem. If dogs are affected in both eyes, surgery can be done on both eyes at the same time.


Panosteitis

Panosteitis is a painful inflammation occurring on the surface of the long bones in young, growing dogs. It is sometimes referred to as ‘growing pains’. The most common bone it affects is the humerus (upper forelimb), but may also be found in other parts of the fore and hind limbs. It mainly affects larger breeds, but can affect breeds of any size. Symptoms may start to show from as early as 2 months of age, and continue until 2 years of age. The underlying cause is unknown, however there is thought to be a genetic link. Metabolism, stress, infection, or autoimmune components may also be factors. It is also thought that high protein, high calcium diets may predispose dogs to this condition.

Symptoms:

  • Unexplained pain in one or more limbs
  • Shifting lameness
  • Mild to severe lameness
  • Licking the affected limb (licking can be a sign of pain)
  • Guarding the affected area

Treatment:

This condition tends to be self limiting, meaning over time it will resolve itself with some anti-inflammatory pain relief to make your dog feel more comfortable, as flare ups of this condition are incredibly painful. However, your vet may take x-rays under anesthetic to rule out any other injuries especially if pain relief doesn’t help, as there are many other conditions that cause lameness and pain in young dogs. During flare-ups, vigorous off lead exercise should be restricted to prevent more pain, however light exercise is encouraged. This condition should completely resolve when your dog is around 18-24 months of age (or fully grown).

Tags: