Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in Dogs: A Closer Look What Causes Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in Dogs and How To Manage It

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in Dogs: A Closer Look

An uncommon genetic tissue disease called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) affects both people and animals, including dogs. Here, we discuss how to treat and recognize the symptoms.

A rare genetic condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) affects both people and animals, including dogs. It is a collection of connective tissue diseases that impact the blood vessels, joints, and epidermis. A change in one or more genes that code for the synthesis of collagen, a necessary component of connective tissues, results in EDS. Collagen provides structural support to the body, and its deficiency or abnormality leads to the symptoms associated with EDS.

This article will provide an overview of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in dogs, including its causes, signs, diagnosis, and treatment options.


Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in dogs, also called collagen deficiency syndrome, is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the production and structure of collagen, a vital component of connective tissues. Collagen, which can be found in a variety of organs including the epidermis, bones, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels, gives the body structural support. The trait can develop naturally or come from either one or both parents.

There are several types of EDS in canines, each induced by a distinct mutation. 

The hypermobility variety, which is the most prevalent, is brought on by a lack of type III collagen. Other kinds include kyphoscoliosis, which is brought on by a lack of lysyl hydroxylase, and dermatosparaxis, which is brought on by a lack of type I collagen.


Some seen symptoms in a cutaneous asthenia dog include:

  • Joint hypermobility: Dogs with EDS may have unusually flexible joints that can bend in ways that are not normal, which can make them prone to dislocation or injury.

  • Skin fragility: Dogs with EDS may have thin, fragile skin that tears or bruises easily, even with minor injuries or pressure. This sign is also referred to as a stretchy skin disease.

  • Slow wound healing: Wounds may take longer to recover than usual because of a shortage of collagen or an irregular collagen structure.

  • Easy bruising: Due to the frailty of their epidermis and blood vessels, dogs with EDS may have the propensity to bruise easily.

  • Muscle weakness: Weakening connective fibers can cause muscle weakness or atrophy, particularly in elderly canines.

  • Gastrointestinal problems: Constipation or diarrhea are gastrointestinal problems that some canines with EDS may encounter.

  • Heart problems: In some types of EDS, dogs may develop heart problems such as mitral valve prolapse or dilated cardiomyopathy.

Treatment and Management Options

Unfortunately, there is no cure for collagen deficiency syndrome in dogs, and treatment is mainly focused on managing the symptoms and improving the quality of life for affected dogs. Treatment and management options may differ based on the type and severity of EDS, as well as the specific symptoms present. Below are possible treatments for canine EDS:

  • Pain management: Dogs with joint hypermobility or arthritis may benefit from pain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain management techniques. Previcox, Deramaxx, and Carprofen may be prescribed to help with the pain.

  • Wound care: Due to skin fragility and slow wound healing, proper wound care is essential to prevent infections and promote healing.

  • Nutritional supplements: Nutritional supplements such as vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in supporting collagen production and reducing inflammation.

  • Physical therapy: Exercise and physical therapy can help to reduce muscle atrophy and increase joint movement and muscle power.

  • Surgery: To rectify joint dislocation or other anatomical defects in some circumstances, surgical surgery may be required.

  • Lifestyle modifications: Owners can make certain modifications to their dog's lifestyle, such as providing a soft bed, avoiding rough play or activities that could cause injury, and managing their weight, to help reduce the risk of injury and improve their overall health.

Prevention Tips

Preventing Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in dogs is not possible. This is because it is an inherited gene disorder or a spontaneous one. However, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing symptoms and improve the overall health of affected dogs. Here are some prevention tips that can help:

  • Mating: To lessen the chance of transmitting the genetic mutation to future generations, breeders should refrain from mating canines with a documented history of EDS.

  • Early identification: Early evaluation of EDS can assist in managing the symptoms and averting further issues.

  • Proper nutrition: Providing a well-balanced diet that is rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, can help to support overall health and immune function.

  • Avoid trauma and injury: Dogs with EDS are more prone to injury and trauma, so it is important to provide a safe and secure environment and avoid rough play or activities that could cause harm.

  • Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring of the condition can help to identify and manage any symptoms or complications as they arise.

While it is not possible to prevent EDS in dogs, these prevention tips can help to reduce the risk of developing symptoms and improve the overall health and well-being of affected dogs.

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