What are artery inflammation, juvenile polyarteritis and beagle pain syndrome in dogs? What are signs and symptoms of the condition and how can it be treated? Our Long Island veterinary specialists explain.
Juvenile Polyarteritis & Beagle Pain Syndrome in Dogs
Also referred to in the medical community as beagle pain syndrome, juvenile polyarteritis is a systemic disease that seems to be caused by genetics and only impacts certain breeds. It is most often reported in young beagles, while a similar syndrome has been reported in other breeds including boxers and Bernese mountain dogs.
This rare disease can be defined as a simultaneous inflammation of an artery or multiple arteries. Over time, plaque accumulates in the arteries and these small vessels in the spinal cord in the neck and in the heart become irritated or infected.
Once the arteries become too severely inflamed, they'll have an extremely difficult time doing their job of carrying blood to major organs and other parts of the body.
Symptoms of the condition can come and go and may suggest a serious bacterial infection: a high white blood cell count, pain and high fever. Juvenile polyarteritis can be difficult to treat due to this common misdiagnosis, as antibiotics have no impact.
If your primary veterinarian does not suspect beagle pain syndrome and your pet is displaying significant symptoms of this condition, you may want to consider asking for a referral to our board-certified veterinary cardiologists at Atlantic Coast New York Veterinary Specialists, especially if your dog has already received a course of antibiotics. You may also see this condition called necrotizing vasculitis (inflammation and tissue death of a vessel).
Symptoms of Artery Inflammation in Dogs
Taking your dog to your primary veterinarian for regular checkups can help, as artery inflammation can sometimes be detected and diagnosed during a comprehensive routine exam. Your veterinarian may refer you to one of our veterinary specialists in Long Island if necessary, especially if any of these signs appear:
- Coughing, especially after exercise
- Night coughing
- Suppressed appetite
- Stiffness or pain in neck
- Grunting when lifted
- Unwillingness to move
- Hunched back
- Lowered head
- Lethargy or fatigue
- Fainting or dizziness
- Rapid weight loss
- Muscle spasms (especially in front legs and neck)
If your beagle puppy is suffering from this condition, you might notice that they seem to experience pain when opening their jaw. They may also be reluctant to bark. Symptoms will usually become apparent when the puppy is between 4 and 10 months of age.
Peripheral vascular disease is very broad and can be caused by a range of underlying health conditions and issues. Types of this condition affect these parts of the body:
Causes of Artery Inflammation in Dogs
This disease can have many causes, and it may take some time until you start to notice any signs. Dogs can acquire peripheral artery disease, or artery inflammation, over time. Since there are many types of inflammation of the arteries, including congenital defects of the cardiovascular system, causes will vary and may include:
- Congenital defects
- Fatty diet
Diagnosis of Artery Inflammation in Dogs
Inflammation of the arteries in dogs can be difficult to diagnose, since the symptoms are vague and so many parts of the body can be affected by the inflammation. The condition may also co-occur with an underlying disorder.
Your dog may need several tests such as a biochemistry profile, bloodwork and imaging techniques to have this disorder diagnosed. One of our veterinary specialists can examine the types of vessels that have been impacted, and whether there is any blockage or inflammation present.
Congenital diseases can also contribute to artery inflammation, especially in puppies. Our veterinarians can also use a stethoscope to listen to your dog's heart, then conduct any further diagnostic tests that may be required. We can use an echocardiogram to test precisely how the blood is flowing through the heart and arteries. With this test, we'll also be able to detect whether there are abnormalities in the arteries.
However, onset of the condition can also occur when a dog is older. While it may resolve itself without treatment, artery inflammation will typically return within a few months.
Treatment of Artery Inflammation in Dogs
Your dog's diagnosis and the specific nature of their disorder will determine which treatment options your veterinary specialist recommends. Many heart conditions and diseases can cause inflammation of the arteries in dogs. Your veterinarian will need to consider treatment for this disorder as well as treatment to prevent further damage or inflammation to the arteries. Treatments may vary and can include:
This will help to reduce the stress on your dog's heart. If arteries are inflamed, it will reduce blood pressure and volume. An ACE Inhibitor will improve your dog's symptoms, but will not address the underlying condition.
Your veterinary specialist may prescribe medications based on the cause of your dog's condition. Medications can vary and will depend on what your veterinary specialist decides is the best match for your dog's condition. These may include blood thinners, beta blockers or other drugs that can help your dog's arteries function more efficiently.
Recovery of Artery Inflammation in Dogs
Dogs that suffer from inflammation of the arteries can continue to live a good life in many cases. However, lifestyle changes may need to be made. Regular veterinary visits, changes to your pooch's diet and exercise routine, and ensuring they remain stress-free may be required to manage this disorder.
In terms of managing and recovering from an underlying disorder that's a contributing factor in peripheral artery disease, your veterinary specialist can provide specific instructions about what to do at home for your pet. If he is geriatric and the inflammation is severe, it may be time to help him stay as calm as possible and give him lots of love and attention in his golden years.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.