Glycogen Storage Disease in Dogs What does accumulation of glycogen do to your pet?

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Glycogen storage disease is a genetic disorder that affects the ability of dogs to metabolize glycogen. Dogs with glycogen storage disease type 1 (GSD-1) have deficiencies in an enzyme called glycogen debranching enzyme (GDE).

Glycogen is a polysaccharide that is stored in the liver and muscle tissue. It's also known as animal starch, and it's a form of glucose that your dog's body uses for energy. Glycogen storage disease (GSD) occurs when there is an excessive accumulation of glycogen in the body. This causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), lactic acidosis (buildup of lactic acid), neurological symptoms such as seizures, developmental delays, and other complications like kidney failure or low blood pressure.


The signs of this disorder are usually seen in young dogs, but older dogs can also be affected. A puppy with glycogen storage disease will have a normal appetite but will not gain weight despite eating as much as other puppies his age. He may also develop muscle weakness and tremors. In some cases, a dog's muscles will become sore for no apparent reason; this is called episodic weakness syndrome (EWS).

Episodic weakness syndrome is characterized by episodes of muscle pain and stiffness that typically last 6-24 hours and resolve spontaneously without treatment or pet medication. Other times, however, episodes can last up to 72 hours before they resolve on their own or with treatment such as physical therapy exercises or steroid injections like prednisone for dogs into the affected area.


The first step in diagnosing GSD IV is a history check and physical exam. Your veterinarian will ask you about your dog's symptoms, such as when they occurred and what makes them better or worse. He or she will also perform a thorough physical exam.

Blood tests are usually the first test used to diagnose GSD IV, but they can also be used at any point during the diagnostic process to help determine which form of GSD IV your dog has (I-III). A blood sample may be sent to a lab where it is analyzed for levels of glycogen in the red blood cells and/or liver enzymes such as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). If these levels are elevated, it could indicate that your dog has one or more forms of GSD IV.

Urinalysis can also be used to diagnose all forms of this disease since excess glycogen appears in the urine along with increased levels of glucose after feeding due to rapid breakdown by enzymes into glucose polymers called maltose polymers.


The prognosis is dependent on the type of glycogen storage disease and its severity. A mild case of Glycogen Storage Disease Type I can be managed with a diet low in carbohydrates, but moderate to severe cases will require dietary changes opting for specialized Hill’s prescription diet and possibly supplementation. In cases where the condition goes undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to permanent organ damage. Early diagnosis and treatment with the right pet meds are key for successful outcomes.

A Rare Condition That Can Be Treated

Glycogen storage disease is a rare condition that can affect dogs, but it's treatable. A special diet like Purina professional and treatment with pet medicines may be required to combat the symptoms of this disease. Dogs with this condition are likely to die by age two, but there have been cases where they live up to seven years. Treatment is expensive, so some owners may choose not to pursue it.


Indeed, this disease is rare, and the prognosis can be positive. However, if you see any of the symptoms described above in your dog, it is important to consult with your vet immediately. It is also very important to provide proper nutrition through a diet rich in fiber or some other supplementation. Hopefully, by reading this article, you have learned more about glycogen storage disease and have found some useful tips on how best to deal with it should your dog ever come down with this condition.

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