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Risk factors for myasthenia gravis acquisita in dogs
Myasthenia gravis acquisita was described to be a disease mainly affecting female German Shepherd dogs of young to middle age. In this excellent study from Davis, California, the data of nearly 1200 dogs suffering from this rare disease were analyzed and it became clear: Other breeds are much more affected - and there are also other risk factors besides the breed.

The frequency of initial clinical signs and risk factors for acquired myasthenia gravis (MG) in dogs was determined in this retrospective study. 1,154 dogs residing within the United States from 1991 to 1995 with a confirmed diagnosis of acquired MG and 7,176 dogs with other neuromuscular disorders, including generalized weakness, megaesophagus, and dysphagia (control group) were included.

Records were retrieved from a database containing results of serum samples tested for acetylcholine receptor antibodies. Signalment, breed, age, state of origin, and month of onset of clinical signs were obtained. An antibody titer > 0.6 nmol/L was diagnostic for acquired MG. Unconditional logistic regression was used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: In comparison with mixed-breed dogs, dogs with the highest risk of acquired MG were Akitas, terrier group, Scottish Terriers, German Shorthaired Pointers, and Chihuahuas. Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Dalmatians, and Jack Russell Terriers had low relative risks. Sexually intact males and dogs less than 1 year old had some protection from risk. Generalized weakness with megaesophagus and megaesophagus alone were the most common initial clinical signs.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Breed predispositions for acquired MG were demonstrated. Age and sex were contributing factors. Although most dogs had generalized clinical signs, a substantial proportion of dogs had focal signs.



Source: Shelton GD, Schule A, Kass PH. (1997): Risk factors for acquired myasthenia gravis in dogs: 1,154 cases (1991-1995). In: J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1997 Dec 1;211(11):1428-31.



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