Abnormal Sound Of Blood Flowing Through A Blood Vessel Understanding Genetic Disease in German Shorthaired Pointers

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Understanding Genetic Disease in German Shorthaired Pointers

Humans and dogs may be genetically predisposed to the same disease. One of these diseases that may sound familiar to you is lymphedema. We have all heard that we have lymph glands which are important for our body to function as a healthy unit. The German Shorthair Pointer also has lymph glands. Lymph is a clear fluid that drains from body tissues and spaces between tissues. Normally, lymph is full of protein and returns to the blood through the lymph glands. However, it sometimes happens that there is too much fluid in the body tissues which causes swelling (edema), and the result is known as “lymphedema”. The question that arises is “What causes lymphedema?”

The fluid apparently builds up because there is some sort of abnormal interference with normal lymph flow. When lymphedema occurs, it can be primary (hereditary) or secondary lymphedema. If the German Shorthair Pointer inherits primary lymphedema and with this type, the lymph vessels are abnormal or possibly absent. When a breed develops the secondary form of the disease, the lymphatic vessels are likely to be blocked by a number of factors, including tumors and inflammation. Because the German Shorthair Pointer has a genetic predisposition to primary lymphedema, the swelling may develop at birth or shortly thereafter.

It should be noted that in both primary and secondary lymphedema, swelling is likely to occur in the hind legs, ears, middle, and even forelegs. When the skin is inflamed, the chance of bacterial infection increases and recovery time from any injury can be longer. A dog may not look too bad, be otherwise healthy, but feel kind of spongy to the touch.

If your German Shorthair Pointer ever notices swelling, it is wise to take the dog to the vet for an evaluation. It’s helpful to know that lymphedema can cause swelling in a dog’s legs and spread throughout the body. You may notice that your dog is in pain and may have difficulty moving. Lymphedema is a serious condition that can lead to subcutaneous infections. Lymph vessels can also become infected. The vet will do a full examination, blood work, skin biopsy. There is also a test called lymphangiography in which dye is injected and x-rays are taken. Treatment for lymphedema ranges from any medication to surgery, depending on the severity of the disease.

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