DogDaz Zoo: Helping Hiro – Understanding VKH

22 Feb


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:

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).

  1. Folic Acid 5 mg
  2. Vitamin B-12 1,000 mg
  3. Vitamin B Complex 50 mg
  4. 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.


Thank you.  All constructive comments welcomed.

Just another DogDaz morning at the zoo ❤


Posted by on February 22, 2016 in Dogs


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15 responses to “DogDaz Zoo: Helping Hiro – Understanding VKH

  1. mickeyrunny

    February 22, 2016 at 03:55

    Awe poor little gorgeous thing

  2. Genevieve Petrillo

    February 22, 2016 at 05:00

    Such a beautiful girl. Sadly, I have no insight, but lots of prayers are coming her way, along with happy healing thoughts for both Hiro and Marc.

    • dogdaz

      February 22, 2016 at 06:58

      Thanks. Prayers are always welcome.

  3. fredrieka

    February 22, 2016 at 07:16

    how sad.. poor pawbaby

    • dogdaz

      February 22, 2016 at 07:39


  4. Eily Nash

    February 22, 2016 at 07:20

    Beautiful Hiro, I am so sorry to read of this condition, I had not heard of it before. Dunno if this will be of any help to her or Marc but may be worth further investigation- I have recently found out from searching the net that Manuka honey has wonderful healing properties and works for the immune system.

    Angel my 8 year old Westie baby developed a really bad skin situation and was tearing her fur out. I believe it was from commerical dog food. I have been giving her the Manuka honey and feeding her home cooked fish and vegetables the last month and the improvement is huge.

    My prayers for Hiro, bless her xxx

    • dogdaz

      February 22, 2016 at 07:40

      Thank you Eily. I will definitely look into the Manuka honey and its properties

  5. easyweimaraner

    February 22, 2016 at 07:59

    Oh I hope there is a way to help Hiro… I never heard about this disease, it sounds so scary and sad for the dogs and the owners… I will cross my paws as hard as I can and maybe there is a treatment or therapy what helps Hiro

    • dogdaz

      February 22, 2016 at 08:09

      Thanks, Easy. There is so much weird stuff out there. Crossed paws is good.

  6. FACE Foundation

    February 22, 2016 at 17:16

    This is very informative, thank you for sharing!

    • dogdaz

      February 22, 2016 at 18:53

      Thank you for stopping by the zoo.

  7. paws2smile

    February 22, 2016 at 23:45

    Dang! Never heard of this before so thank you for bringing this to our attention. Auto immune diseases are usually from a lack of vitamin(s) (among other reasons) so the vitamin list makes sense. I know this as with having Lupus; I’m guessing it is the same with dogs.

    • dogdaz

      February 23, 2016 at 07:43

      Thanks for the confirmation. I know that supplements make a very big difference in my life.

  8. Misty Shores Chesapeakes

    February 23, 2016 at 20:51

    Oh poor baby. I have never heard of this disease before. I hope her owner is able to find something that helps slow things down.

    • dogdaz

      February 23, 2016 at 21:55

      There are so many different diseases out there. Just trying to see if anyone has insight. Thanks.

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