Unique Juvenile-Onset Polyarthritis Syndrome of Akita Dogs

As the name implies, this disease affects young Akitas. Reported cases have occurred in dogs less than eight months of age, and some as young as two months. Clinical signs include cyclic episodes of pain along with varying degrees of reluctance to stand or walk. Sometimes one joint is affected more severely than others, but typically multiple joints are affected simultaneously — polyarthritis meaning arthritis of many joints. During episodes of joint pain, the dogs have a fever and decreased appetite. Because these episodes are cyclic, the pain and fever returns despite antibiotics or other standard treatments.

In addition, affected dogs may sometimes show evidence of Meningitis, causing excruciating neck and back pain, as well as Liver and Lung diseases.

The cause of Juvenile Onset Polyarthritis of Akitas remains unknown. It is believed to be a heritable disease but the mode of inheritance is unknown. There has also been speculation that development of clinical signs is related to vaccinations; however, no proof of this is available.

Additional Information:

Note: This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.