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What Is Histiocytosis In Dogs?

Histiocytoses are a group of different diseases that affect virtually all breeds of dogs. Cutaneous histiocytoma, reactive histiocytosis, and malignant histiocytosis are found.

Other than cutaneous histiocytoma, which is very common in dogs, other forms of histiocytosis are quite rare.

Malignant histiocytosis

Malignant histiocytosis, also called histiocytosis, is a very infrequent cancerous disease. It presents as a tumor of the histiocytes. It therefore mainly affects the cells ensuring immune functions and then spreads in the dog’s body.

It mainly affects Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Flat-Coated Retriever, and Rottweiler, from 2 to 15 years old.

Among the warning signs of this disease, we find:

  • A fever
  • Cough
  • Depression
  • Sometimes difficulties in using the hind limbs
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Visible fatigue
  • Abnormal weight loss …

When you notice any of these signs, take your dog straight to a vet. Truth be told, there is, unfortunately, no cure; the vet will only be able to prolong your dog’s life with chemotherapy by ensuring a good quality of life for the days that remain.

Reactive histiocytosis

Reactive histiocytosis occurs in 2 different forms: cutaneous and systematic. Both are not cancerous.

Cutaneous histiocytosis is characterized by skin patches that can measure up to 1 inche and are sometimes hairless. It should be noted that the lesions do not cause pain or itching. It is a rather rare and non-genetic form of histiocytosis, which particularly affects:

  • Golden Retriever
  • The German Shepherds
  • The Spaniels
  • The Colleys

The prognosis of this condition is a priori favorable. Almost 50% of dogs respond to treatments.

Systemic histiocytosis progresses irregularly and chronically. This disease mainly affects the Bernese Mountain Dog and, to a lesser degree:

  • Labrador
  • The Rottweiler
  • The Doberman
  • The Belgian Shepherd
  • The iralndan water spaniel
  • The Poodle
  • The border collie
  • The Golden Retriever
  • Crossbreeds

Like cutaneous histiocytosis, systemic histiocytosis also affects the skin but, at the same time, affects other organs such as the nasal cavity, eyes, lungs, liver, bone marrow, spleen, and kidney. It is generally accompanied by:

  • Weightloss
  • Anorexia
  • Lethargy

Unfortunately, this disease responds poorly to treatment because of its chronic form. The average dog survival period is between 9 and 10 months.

Cutaneous histiocytoma

Cutaneous histiocytoma is skin neoplasia, usually benign. It particularly affects young dogs (less than 3 years old). This affection, therefore, decreases with age. The most affected areas in animals are:

  • The face
  • The extremity of the limbs
  • The auricular pavilions

The breeds most exposed to this condition are:

  • Boxers
  • Dachshunds
  • Great Danes
  • The Cockers
  • The Shepherds of Shetland
  • Bull Terriers
  • The Shnauzers
  • The Spaniels

Usually, lesions of cutaneous histiocytoma resolve spontaneously. Some forms, more or less complex and persistent, require antibiotics or surgery.

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