It’s not just us

Did you know that Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is not just a human disease?  It’s also been found in animals, including cats, dogs, sheep, cattle and mink and if it’s found in these species chances are it’s also in other species and just not reported.  When I mentioned this to my vet he’d never heard of it and it’s estimated that, like humans, EDS in animals is vastly under-diagnosed.

Skin complications tend to dominate and joint hypermobility is less common, or at least that’s what’s been found so far but to be fair there has been hardly any research done so hypermobility could be more common than is first thought.  Or it could be that animals have one of the variants of EDS which involves more skin issues, a bit like classical EDS in humans.  Vascular EDS was reported in a dog in 2015 so it’s possible that animals have all the variants of EDS that humans have.  If it takes an average of 10 years for people, who can vocalize symptoms, to get diagnosed I’m sure the disease is missed in the majority of animals unless it’s very severe and blatantly obvious.

Cushing’s Disease (hyperadrenocorticism) has been seen to be a complication or co-morbid condition in the majority of cats with EDS.

Although no gene has been identified it appears to definitely be an inherited trait in animals, so affected animals should not be bred.  From the little knowledge available dogs can have severe disease and not live past 2 or 3 years of age, though some with mild symptoms can have a normal lifespan.

I’d love to know the prevalence of allergy symptoms in animals with EDS!  I’d imagine any rashes or blisters are put down to part of the skin symptoms of EDS rather than as a co-morbid condition like MCAS and it’s not like your dog can tell you its nose is bunged up, its lips are tingling or it’s feeling tight chested.

I always find it fascinating when humans share diseases with animals.  People can be accused of being a hypochondriac or their symptoms put down to being ‘all in their head’ but the same can’t be said of animals.  Just because the gene associated with hEDS hasn’t been identified yet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  Dogs and humans don’t exactly eat the same food either, so it’s not like their diet can be blamed.  When animals are sick their symptoms are studied without all the mental, emotional and social connotations which are linked to human disease so maybe researchers need to look more at EDS in animals and it might help our understanding of EDS in humans.



6 thoughts on “It’s not just us

  1. peggy lemay

    I’m interested in know how your finger treatment is going. I have the exact same issue from a rose thorn three weeks ago and it’s very painful. Would like to know if you found the best treatment for it. THanks in advance. Peggy


    1. Jak Post author

      Hi Peggy

      I’ve just been taping my index finger. Initially I buddy taped it to my middle finger because bending was so painful, but now I can bend it OK so am no longer buddy taping but it’s still swollen at the knuckle so I’m using KT tape around the knuckle just to give a bit of compression. My injuries take forever to heal so it could be several more weeks before it’s back to normal.

      Hope yours is on the mend soon.
      Jak x


      1. peggy

        Thanks Jak! Keep me posted please. I’d hate to have to have surgery and I think I have plant thorn synovitis as well. Strangest thing ever. One quick jab, the thorn never even left the branch and immediate pain and swelling. Going to try taping it too. Thanks again.


        1. Jak Post author

          Sorry Peggy, I thought you meant my recent finger issue. My plant thorn synovitis happened in 2015. My finger was swollen for 3 months, I’d booked the surgery to have it drained or whatever they do, and while I was waiting the swelling simply disappeared! It was really odd. I can’t remember doing any treatment on it or anything, it just eventually went on its own but it took ages x


  2. coolncreative17

    Can you please do up a post on EDS/Hypermobility criteria as I am a little confused as to how it is diagnosed as there seems to be a few conflicting blog posts and information around, some saying The Beighton Scale but others being diagnosed when they can’t touch the ground.
    This would be much appreciated.



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