There are numerous kinds of autoimmune disease in animals and people, some involving skin, internal organs, blood cells, or bone marrow, and the treatment and prognosis varies depending on which autoimmune disease is present. Certain breeds of dogs such as German shepherds and Collies have a higher incidence of autoimmune disease, due to genetic influences. In some cases, autoimmune diseases can be triggered by drugs, vaccinations, cancer or infectious diseases, but in many cases an underlying cause cannot be found, and treatment involves immunosuppressive medications to stop the autoimmune reaction. In most cases, immunosuppressive medication is required lifelong for control, but in some cases the medications can slowly be decreased over a course of several months and eventually discontinued. In severe cases of autoimmune disease, death can result despite therapy. It would be helpful to get more details about your dog's particular disease, in order to give you an idea of treatment and prognosis.
Kimberly Coyner, DVM DACVD
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