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Information about Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome (VKH syndrome)

Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome  (VKH syndrome)

Vogt - Koyanagi - Harada syndrome (VKH syndrome) is a condition seen in humans and dogs involving various melanocyte-containing organs, characterized by uveitis (inflammation of the inside of the eye), poliosis (whitening of hair), vitiligo (loss of pigment in the skin), and meningitis, although dogs with this syndrome rarely develop meningitis.

It is also known as uveodermatologic syndrome. VKH syndrome is an immune-mediated disease. The mechanism of the disease is thought to be T helper cell mediated autoimmune attack of melanocytes in the skin and uvea of dogs and humans, and in the central nervous system and inner ear of humans.


In dogs VKH syndrome (often called VKH-like syndrome) most commonly affects young animals and is seen most commonly in the Akita Inu, but also in the Siberian Husky and Samoyed. Uveitis usually occurs first and is often severe enough to cause blindness. VKH syndrome can also cause retinal detachment, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Pigment partly disappears from the retinal pigment epithelium and iris. Skin lesions include loss of pigment and hair on the eyelids, nose, and lips. Symptoms and biopsy will confirm the diagnosis. Treatment is with immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone and azathioprine. The prognosis is guarded

 

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