Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD) What is Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency and How Can It Be Overcome?

Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD)

Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD) is not very common among dogs. However, when it occurs, it can be overcome. The causes, symptoms, treatment, and management options are examined in this article.

Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency (CLAD) is an uncommon genetic condition that affects dogs, specifically those of the Irish Setters breed. This disease is a result of a mutation in the ITGB2 gene, which leads to a deficiency in the beta-2 integrin protein. Beta-2 integrin is essential for white blood cell proper function, which is crucial for the immune system's ability to fight infections. Without this protein, dogs with CLAD are unable to mount an effective immune response, leaving them vulnerable to infections that can be life-threatening. 

In this article, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for CLAD, as well as the impact it has on affected dogs and their owners.


Dog Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency is caused by a genetic mutation in the ITGB2 gene. The ITGB2 gene provides instructions for making the beta-2 integrin protein, which is crucial for white blood cell function. White blood cells are a crucial part of the immune system, responsible for identifying and fighting infections in the body. Without proper functioning beta-2 integrin protein, white blood cells cannot adhere to and move through blood vessel walls to reach sites of infection. 

As a result, setters dogs with CLAD are unable to mount an effective immune response, making them more susceptible to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. This genetic mutation is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner, which means that for their offspring to acquire CLAD, both parents must carry a copy of the mutant gene.

Symptoms of Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency

The symptoms of CLAD usually appear within the first few months of a dog's life and can include:

  • Recurrent bacterial, fungal, or viral infections

  • Delayed wound healing

  • Poor growth and development, due to chronic infections and a weakened immune system.

  • Chronic diarrhea and weight loss.

  • Gingivitis and periodontitis

Treatment and Management Options

Known methods of treating and managing Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency include the following:

  • Antibiotics: Dogs with CLAD are treated with antibiotics for bacterial infections. These antibiotics may be given orally or through intravenous injection. It's important to note that not all antibiotics are effective against all types of bacteria, so it's important to follow your veterinarian's instructions for administering antibiotics.

  • Antifungal medications: Dogs with CLAD are also susceptible to fungal infections, which may require antifungal medications. In accordance with the infection's severity, these drugs may be administered orally or by intravenous injection.

  • Immunoglobulin therapy: Immunoglobulin therapy involves the administration of preformed antibodies, which can help prevent or control infections. This therapy can be given through intravenous injection or subcutaneous injection.

  • Dental hygiene: Gingivitis and periodontitis are common complications of CLAD, so it's important to maintain good dental hygiene. Regular teeth brushing, dental cleanings, and the use of dental chews can help prevent these issues.

  • Nutrition: Proper nutrition is essential for dogs with CLAD to support their immune system and overall health. You should consult with your veterinarian to develop a balanced diet plan that meets your dog's nutritional needs.

  • Veterinary care: Dogs with CLAD require close monitoring by a veterinarian to manage infections and provide supportive care. However, routine checkups, immunizations, and parasite management are crucial aspects of veterinarian care.

Preventive Tips

Preventive tips for Canine Leukocyte Adhesion Deficiency include:

  • Genetic testing: If you are considering getting an Irish Setter puppy, it is essential to ensure that both parents have been tested for CLAD. A leukocyte adhesion deficiency test can help prevent the transmission of the disease to their pups.

  • Avoid exposure to infectious agents: Dogs with CLAD are more susceptible to infections, so it's important to minimize their exposure to infectious agents. This may involve keeping them away from other sick dogs or avoiding areas where there is a high risk of infection.

  • Good hygiene: Maintaining good hygiene practices can help prevent infections in dogs with CLAD. This includes regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, washing hands before and after handling dogs, and keeping their living environment clean.

  • Vaccinations: Vaccinations can help protect dogs with CLAD from infectious diseases that they may be more susceptible to.

  • Nutritionally sound care: Giving dogs with CLAD food that is well-balanced helps assist their immune systems. To create a diet strategy that suits your dog's nutritional needs, speak with your veterinarian.

  • Frequent veterinarian examinations: Regular veterinary examinations can aid in the early detection of illnesses and the prevention of consequences.

By following the preventive tips above, you can help ensure that your dog with CLAD leads a happy and healthy life.

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