Canine Immune System Diseases and Disorders

Animals have evolved a sophisticated defence system that produces glycoproteins called immunoglobulins or antibodies in response to antigens on the surface of organisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses) or other substances (e.g. toxins) that gain access to the body. The antibodies chemically bind with the antigens - an initial step in the process to remove them from the body. Under normal circumstances the body's immune system recognises tissues and cells that are part of itself, and the immune system will only produce antibodies against foreign cells. However, sometimes the controlling mechanisms fail and the immune system does produce antibodies which attack the animal's own body tissues. These are called autoantibodies and the disease that results is called an autoimmune disease.

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