First of all, it must be realized that SARDS (Sudden Acute Retinal Degeneration Syndrome) is the result of an autoimmune disease, which results in destruction of the canine’s retinal tissue.
However, since SARDS is the result of an autoimmune disease, other autoimmune diseases and organ failure can precede the blindness that may occur.
Many owners of SARDS canine patients report that their pet often displays other clinical signs prior to the actual retinal degeneration occurring.
The following are some of the clinical signs that precede SARDS and the actual signs of retinal degeneration:
. Weight gain
. Occasional vomiting
. Occasional diarrhea
. Elevated liver enzymes
. Elevated pancreatic enzymes
. Elevated kidney enzymes
. Food allergies
. Tumors benign and malignant
. Behavioral problems
. Idiopathic epilepsy
As you can see, there are many, many different manifestations that can occur with a canine patient with an autoimmune disease that finally develops SARDS.
Unfortunately there are many other disease processes that can precede the development of SARDS and when testing for SARDS, many of these disease processes may already be in place depending on how early the actual SARDS occurs.
SARDS, occurs due to the production of a deficient or defective cortisol, which is produced in the middle layer adrenal cortex.
NOTE: When the cortisol is measured and found to be elevated without also measuring adrenal estrogen, a lot of time and money are being wasted checking Cushing’s syndrome, which it is not.
Unfortunately, while spending time checking for Cushing’s syndrome which does not occur with SARDS, and other possible diseases, it can allow the retinal degeneration, to continue to its end and by the time proper SARDS therapy is initiated, permanent retinal damage may have already occurred.
The cortisol imbalance causes a damaged, negative feedback mechanism to the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.
When this occurs, the inner layer adrenal cortex will respond in a direct feedback mechanism which allows for the production of excessive amounts of adrenal estrogen.
The excessive amounts of adrenal estrogen will cause the immune system to lose recognition of self tissue and will cause the immune mediated, retinal degeneration.
What are the important facts to remember about treating a SARDS patient?
. The sooner that SARDS is diagnosed and properly treated, the better
the chances for returned vision. Unfortunately, many pet owners
have become disappointed with the SARDS therapy, because their
veterinarian begun the SARDS treatment protocol too late, and
complete retinal degeneration had already occurred.
. Most SARDS canines, due to their autoimmune disease, have food
sensitivities, and if these sensitivities are not realized and corrected,
vision will not return.
. Classically, when vision does return and the SARDS patient begins
to lose vision once again, the reason is often due to;
1) A change in food or snacks
2) Due to exposure to xenoestrogens (chemical estrogen
mimickers), which includes exposure to insect repellants, heartworm
preventatives, household chemicals and pesticides.
NOTE: This exposure to xenoestrogens can also lead to liver,
pancreatic and kidney diseases.
3) Exposure to phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) in their nutrients can
also lead to vision failure
The best thing to do if this is happening, is to repeat the endocrine immune blood test and to make sure that the diet that is being fed is devoid of phytoestrogens.
NOTE: If you go to SARDS Corner on this website, there are articles that will help you avoid these various pitfalls.
The last and possibly the greatest concern for SARDS canine owners and their veterinarians, is with treating a SARDS patient with normal amounts of a cortisol supplement even in the face of identifying a cortisol imbalance.
What is not well understood by my profession is that the funding of a cortisol supplement in a SARDS patient is first based upon measuring and identifying a defective or deficient cortisol.
NOTE: A cortisol supplement is never prescribed until a cortisol imbalance has first been identified. You can read about this, merely by going to Google and searching Cortisol Deficiencies.
The veterinary profession believes that the use of a prolonged cortisol supplement causes nothing but disease problems, even in the face a identifying and funding a deficient or defective cortisol which is wrong
I have realized many years ago that for canines and humans that a patient with a cortisol imbalance must also include a thyroid hormone, in order to allow an increased metabolism in the liver and kidneys, to breakdown the cortisol supplement in a 24 hour period.
If a cortisol supplement is prescribed without a thyroid supplement, signs and symptoms of a cortisol overdose may occur.
For further use of a cortisol and thyroid supplement in humans, please Google The results of an International Convention for MD Oncologists with my name.
Another concern is that different cortisol supplements may cause unnecessary side effects in different patients. An adverse reaction will usually happen very quickly, which may include increased appetite, or thirst, or urination, and if any of the reactions occur, have your veterinarian prescribe a different cortisol supplement.
Hopefully, you can now realize how complexed SARDS is and all the many different medical conditions and environmental inputs that can affect a SARDS treatment protocol. Even now, the professional thinking is that any disease that may occur while merely funding and endocrine immune imbalance for SARDS, is said to be due to the SARDS treatment protocol.
Hopefully this article will give you a better understanding as to whether to continue the SARDS treatment protocol, or stop it.
Unfortunately, with SARDS being an autoimmune disease, please realize if proper SARDS treatment is stopped or never begun in the first place, other autoimmune diseases and possibly cancer can occur.
My studies and my sharing my findings with you for your canine’s SARDS and autoimmune disease, is only meant to help you and your veterinarian properly diagnose and treat your canine with this disease.
These are only my suggestions for a very complex disease, and both you and your veterinarian must decide on which proper therapy will work best in order to help your canine.
Dr. Al Plechner