Mucopolysaccharidoses in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment What Is Canine Mucopolysaccharidoses and How Can It Be Treated?

Mucopolysaccharidoses in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A class of inherited metabolic abnormalities known as mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) alter how the body breaks down complex carbohydrates. Here, we discuss this condition and how it can be overcome in dogs.

Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are a set of hereditary metabolic diseases that disrupt the breakdown of complex carbohydrates in the body. These disorders are caused by a lack of enzymes that ordinarily break down mucopolysaccharides, leading to their buildup in numerous organs and tissues. While MPS is well-known in people, it is also recognized in dogs as a rare but severe illness. 

This article will look at the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for MPS in dogs, as well as the difficulties that pet owners and veterinarians encounter while dealing with this condition.


Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are produced in dogs by a genetic abnormality that impairs the synthesis or activity of certain enzymes responsible for the breakdown of complex sugars known as glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). GAGs build in the body in the absence of functioning enzymes, causing tissue damage and malfunction. There are multiple kinds of MPS in dogs, each caused by a distinct enzyme deficiency:

  • MPS I: This is caused by a lack of the enzyme alpha-L-iduronidase, resulting in a buildup of heparan sulfate and dermatan sulfate in tissues and organs.

  • MPS II: This is a result of a lack of the enzyme iduronate-2-sulfatase, resulting in heparan sulfate and dermatan sulfate buildup in tissues and organs.

  • MPS III: Caused by a deficiency of one of four enzymes responsible for breaking down heparan sulfate, leading to the accumulation of this GAG in tissues and organs.

  • MPS IV: This is caused by a lack of the enzyme galactosamine-6-sulfatase, resulting in chondroitin-6-sulfate buildup in tissues and organs.

  • MPS VI: This is caused by a lack of the enzyme arylsulfatase B, which results in a buildup of dermatan sulfate in tissues and organs.

Each type of MPS has a different genetic basis and affects different GAGs, resulting in different clinical signs and symptoms.

MPS in Dogs Symptoms

Mucopolysaccharidosis in dogs can cause a variety of symptoms that differ depending on the kind of MPS and the severity of the disease. The following are some of the most prominent mucopolysaccharidosis symptoms in canines:

  • Skeletal abnormalities: Dogs with MPS may have shortened limbs, a broad skull, or a curved spine.

  • Joint problems: MPS can cause joint stiffness, discomfort, and reduced mobility in dogs.

  • Respiratory issues: Dogs with MPS may have difficulty breathing due to airway obstruction or lung disease.

  • Eye problems: Dogs with MPS may have corneal clouding, cataracts, or retinal degeneration, which can lead to blindness.

  • Skin problems: Dogs with MPS may have dry, scaly skin, thickened skin, or skin ulcers.

  • Neurological issues: Dogs with MPS may have seizures, tremors, or difficulty walking.

  • Behavioral changes: Dogs with MPS may become more irritable or aggressive due to the discomfort and pain associated with the disease.

MPS in Dogs Treatment

Mucopolysaccharidoses are progressive, incurable illnesses in dogs. However, there are several therapy and management options that can help reduce symptoms and enhance the dog's quality of life. Here are some of the most prevalent methods for treating a mucopolysaccharidosis dog:

  • Enzyme replacement therapy: This form of treatment entails administering a synthetic enzyme on a regular basis to replace the missing or inadequate enzyme in the body. Enzyme replacement therapy can improve joint mobility, reduce respiratory issues, and slow the progression of the disease.

  • Symptomatic treatment: Medications such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics for skin ulcers can help control specific symptoms of MPS.

  • Changes in nutrition: A low-protein, high-carbohydrate diet can assist in minimizing GAG accumulation in the body. However, the effect may be minor.

  • Physical treatment: This can assist in enhancing joint mobility and muscular strength, which can lessen pain and improve the dog's general mobility.

  • Surgery: Surgery may be required in some cases to correct bone abnormalities or relieve airway congestion.

  • Palliative care: As MPS is a progressive and incurable condition, palliative care may be necessary to manage pain and discomfort as the disease advances.

  • Genetic counseling: For breeds prone to MPS, genetic testing and counseling can help reduce the incidence of the disease by identifying carriers and avoiding breeding affected individuals.

Prevention Tips

MPS disease in dogs is a hereditary illness. Thus, preventative efforts focus on identifying carriers and avoiding breeding afflicted individuals. Here are some MPS preventive tips for dogs:

  • Genetic testing: In different dog breeds, genetic testing can detect MPS carriers and affected individuals. Pet owners can work with their veterinarian or a veterinary geneticist to conduct genetic testing and design a breeding strategy that avoids breeding afflicted individuals and minimizes disease occurrence.

  • Breeding management: If a dog has MPS or is a carrier, he or she should not be bred to avoid the spread of the faulty gene. To lessen the danger of passing on the genetic abnormality, it is also critical to avoid breeding dogs from similar lines.

  • Responsible pet ownership: Regular veterinary checkups and close monitoring of the dog's health can help detect early signs of MPS or other genetic disorders. Pet owners should also follow a healthy lifestyle for their dogs, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and good hygiene.

  • Public education: Raising awareness of genetic disorders in dogs, including MPS, can help pet owners make informed decisions about breeding and responsible pet ownership. Public education can also encourage breeders to prioritize the health and welfare of their dogs and reduce the incidence of inherited diseases.

MPS prevention in dogs necessitates a multifaceted strategy involving breeders, veterinarians, and pet owners. We can minimize the prevalence of MPS and other genetic illnesses in dogs and enhance their health and well-being via genetic testing, good breeding methods, and public education.

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