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.