Enzyme Deficiency in Dogs

An enzyme deficiency can be dangerous as it can cause the lysosomal storage disease. The enzymes are essential in the dog’s body and have several tasks, most importantly in the metabolism. The enzyme deficiency is frequently genetic, but may also be acquired and is more common in puppies.

Causes of Enzyme Deficiency

The dog can be born with an enzyme deficiency, but the condition can also be due to a diet that lacks the necessary amount of enzymes. There are certain breeds that are more exposed to having an enzyme deficiency such as German shepherds, English setters or Beagles.

The enzymes are essential in the metabolic process.

When the enzymes are lacking, there will be several substances accumulated in the dog’s body and can affect the tissues and organs. This will lead to the occurrence of the lysosomal storage disease, which is deadly.

Symptoms of Enzyme Deficiency

The enzyme deficiency often leads to lysosomal storage diseases and the dog will present the following symptoms:

  • Lack of balance
  • Resistance to exercise
  • Sudden behavior changes
  • Blurred vision or even blindness
  • Fainting
  • Frequent seizures
  • Dehydration
  • General state of weakness
  • Secondary infections that can be caused by agents such as bacteria, viruses or even fungi

Diagnosing Enzyme Deficiency

Enzyme deficiency can be diagnosed by performing a number of tests that may include:

  • Measuring the enzyme levels
  • A complete blood count CBC
  • Urinalysis
  • X-rays and ultrasounds, to detect if the enzyme deficiency has caused any tissue or organ swelling
  • Tissue biopsies

Treatment Options for Enzyme Deficiency

The enzyme deficiency will be treated according to the severity of the condition. If the dog is not affected by the lysosomal storage disease, he will receive a supplementation of enzymes. A change in diet is also needed, to supply all the needed enzymes.

If the dog is dehydrated and lethargic, he will have to be hospitalized for a few days and will receive IV fluids. Intravenous electrolytes may also be administered.

The dog will have to avoid exercise or other activities that will increase his heart rate. The dog’s diet should also focus on maintaining the blood sugar at a normal level. In dogs with lysosomal storage disease, hypoglycemia is common.

Secondary infections are also common in dogs with enzyme deficiency, so the vet may prescribe an antibiotic treatment to manage the secondary infections.

At Home Care

A dog with enzyme deficiency may need special care, until his condition is stabilized.

If the dog is affected by the lysosomal storage disease, you will have to monitor the dog’s blood sugar levels. The disease will progress slowly and will eventually cause death. The dog’s life cannot be saved, but his life can be improved.

Dogs are diagnosed with the lysosomal storage disease or enzyme deficiency, should not be bred, as the condition is genetic and fatal.