Canine dysautonomia is a congenital disorder of the autonomic nervous system that has been reported in the German Shorthaired Pointer breed. Although the cause of dysautonomia is unknown, there is evidence that affected dogs are significantly more likely to live in rural areas (especially in Kansas and Missouri), spend fifty percent of their time outdoors, and have access to pasture land, farm ponds, and cattle. An infectious or neurotoxic agent has been suspected, but the disease is not contagious. Signs of canine dysautonomia often include loss of pupillary light reflexes with otherwise normal vision. The eyelids may droop or protrude abnormally, and the position of the eyeball may be also abnormal. Affected dogs may experience painful or difficult urination, vomiting, regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, and lose anal sphincter control. Some animals have decreased tear production and dry mucous membranes. Respiratory infections, weight loss, progressive deterioration in gait, and lethargic behavior are also obeserved. The disease is inevitably fatal and is associated with high incidence of sudden death.


  1. Harkin KR, Andrews GA, Nietfeld JC. Dysautonomia in dogs: 65 cases (1993-2000)
  2. Berghaus RD, O'Brien DP, Thorne JG, Buening GM. Incidence of canine dysautonomia in Missouri, USA, between January 1996 and December 2000
  3. Berghaus RD, O'Brien DP, Johnson GC, Thorne JG. Risk factors for development of dysautonomia in dogs
  4. Fatal disease strike dogs in Midwest - Canine dysautonomia (ScienceNews)

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