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Dysautonomia in 53 cats and dogs: retrospective review of clinical data and outcome


Background Dysautonomia is a disease characterised by degeneration of autonomic neurons.

Methods The aim of this study was to perform a retrospective multicentre review of clinical data relating to cats and dogs diagnosed with dysautonomia and to evaluate their outcome.

Results Cats (n=34) and dogs (n=19) with clinical signs consistent with dysautonomia were considered for this retrospective study. Reported clinical findings included oesophageal and gastrointestinal dysmotility and distension, urinary retention, reduced or absent tear production, third eyelid protrusion and inappropriate mydriasis. Treatment was supportive and included gastrointestinal prokinetics, feeding tube placement (oesophageal and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tubes) and medications to treat urinary retention. The survival to discharge was 29 per cent in cats and 47 per cent in dogs. The overall survival in cats was 21 per cent and that in dogs was 32 per cent. Survival of greater than 2 years was seen in six cats and in three dogs.

Conclusion This paper illustrates that some animals are able to survive this disease and can have a good long-term prognosis, which is an infrequently reported finding for this disease.

  • canine
  • feline
  • autonomic nervous system
  • pupillary light response
  • mydriasis
  • neuronal degeneration
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