Hiro is the 2 year old love of my chiropractor, Marc. She is an Akita. About a year ago, he started noticing that she was having trouble standing and losing hair. She was diagnosed with VKH. I had never heard of this disease before. It primarly effects the eyes, causes virtigo and hair loss. Hiro is going blind. Marc has taken her to tons of doctors (just like I did with Sofie), and she lives on prednisone to slow the disease down.
Volt-Koyanagi-Harada’s Disease, better known as VKH-Like Syndrome (VKH) is an auto-immune disease, named after Drs. Vogt, Koyanagi and Harada. In dogs it is known as UveoDermatological Syndrome (UDS) but because it’s so like the human form it is referred to more often by the human equivalent VKH.
VKH is commonly found in many of the Northern breeds. It is auto-immune related, with hereditary implications. It is felt that any type of stress can trigger the disease. Symptoms are depigmentation, hair loss,and blindness. Sometimes there are no warnings, sometimes there are, like the depigmentation and conjunctivitis (whites of the eye, and rimgo red). Conjunctivitis will often be followed by a detached retina, which shows as a milky blue surface on the eye ball. This is a medical emergency. Without treatment, blindness will follow. The dog suffers great pain.
It has also been reported that dogs have been known to lose their nails. The disease affects mucous membrane areas such as the eyelids, mouth, anus, vulva and sometime the pads of the dog’s feet. There is a definite visible loss of pigmentation in these areas, often started by crustiness or blisters. The severity of the symptoms vary from dog to dog. An interesting point to note is that many dogs are often stricken at 18 to 20 months.
There is no cure, and there are no methods to test breeding stock for VKH. (Info source: http://www.akita-friends.com/special/vkh.htm)
I found this really interesting book called “Akita Treasure of Japan” and it included some holistic recommendations for nutritional suppliments. I am not saying that I know anything about what is right for an animal with this condition, but this looked interesting to me for anyone who wanted to add things to stimulate their animals immune system (wish I could find something similar for Sofie and Louise’s problems).
- Folic Acid 5 mg
- Vitamin B-12 1,000 mg
- Vitamin B Complex 50 mg
- Vitamin E 400 IU
See the book for further recommendations.
I am wondering if any of you have come upon this disease before, and if so, have you found holistic, homeopathic, or other additional remedies, besides heavy doses of prednisone, that might help. She still has half her site, so maybe we can find a way for her to keep the rest.