Studies have shown that hereditary stomatocytosis is a health disorder that appears to affect certain breeds more than others. The disorder results in defects in a dog's cell walls which allows too much fluid to get in to the cells which damages red blood cells. Dogs suffering from hereditary stomatocytosis do not often show any signs of being anaemic which can make it harder for owners and vets to detect a problem.
As previously mentioned, there are certain breeds that appear to be more predisposed when it comes to developing the disorder and this includes the following breeds:
However, other breeds can also inherit the condition and may show signs of there being something wrong although many dogs never show any signs of being anaemic.
The condition is caused by an autosomal-recessive gene which allows fluids to seep into a dog’s blood cells and this includes sodium and potassium ions. It is a hereditary disorder that results in cellular dysfunction which in short means that red cells die off too quickly due to them being so fragile. The condition is often associated with liver disease (non-specific) as well as the following health issues:
When dogs develop hereditary stomatocyosis, there are certain symptoms associated with the disorder that a vet would be able to test for and these are as follows:
A vet would ideally need to have a dog's full medical history and be told how the first signs of there being something wrong first manifested themselves. The vet would typically recommend carrying out the following tests which would help confirm a diagnosis:
Because hereditary stomatocystosis is not yet fully understood and more research into the disorder is needed, for the moment there aren't any treatment options for dogs suffering from the condition. However, studies suggest that diet could play an important part in managing the disorder and that supplementing a dog's food with specific supplements and in particular folic acids which can go a long way in helping control a dog’s condition. Sometimes a vet might recommend carrying out a spenectomy which is to surgically remove a dog’s spleen with the end goal being to resolve the problem. If dogs suffer blood clotting issues as a result of having developed hereditary stomatocytosis, a vet would typically prescribe anticoagulants too.
Unfortunately, the prognosis is never good for dogs diagnosed as suffering from hereditary stomatocytosis with most having to be put to sleep around twelve months after they were first diagnosed with the condition. The reason being that as time progresses, their symptoms tend to worsen and it is much kinder to put a dog to sleep rather than continue to let them suffer unnecessarily.