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Selective IgA Deficiencies    


Common names or abbreviations:

bulletSelective IgA Deficiency

Description or definition:


Selective IgA deficiency is a condition where a dog has low levels of, or a complete absence of, immune globulin A (IgA).  Essentially, the primary function of IgA is to prevent antigens from bacteria, viruses, and food, from crossing the gut barrier.  IgA deficiency results in decreased immune function in the mucosal surfaces (mouth, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, etc.) and results in increased risk for respiratory, urinary, skin, and gastrointestinal infections.  IgA deficiency is one of the most common of the immunodeficiency diseases.  It is hereditary, but can be influenced by hormones, severe viral infections, over vaccination, or stress.


Reoccurring infections (ear infections, vaginitis, sinusitis, pneumonia, etc.), diarrhea and allergies.  IgA deficient dogs have an increased risk of persistent intestinal infections resulting from E. coli and of developing Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth  (SIBO).

Another major problem in IgA deficiency is autoimmune disease.  Autoimmune disease occurs when the dog produces antibodies to his own tissues, damaging those tissues or organs.


IgA levels can be analyzed through a blood test.  Unfortunately, IgA in blood does not always correlate with IgA levels present in the intestine, therefore, the testing is not always very accurate.  A fecal IgA test has been recently developed which more accurately reflects intestinal IgA content.  Hopefully the fecal test will become more readily available in the future to identify IgA deficient dogs.


Treatment is generally directed at the particular problem the dog is experiencing.   For example, dogs that are experiencing infection would be treated with antibiotics directed at the specific organism causing the infection.  There  are a variety of therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, etc.  Allergies can be treated with diet, medicated baths, and a variety of oral or topical medications.

Links to sites about this disease:







This summary provided by:

bulletJessica S
bulletWildfire Kennel



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All rights reserved. Revised: January 2008

The information on this website was written by ISSR breeders and other concerned individuals, however we are are NOT veterinarians. This information is being provided as a general overview, from information we were able to find about each disease through our own research. These summaries are not intended to be relied upon as medical or veterinary advice, nor do we consider ourselves experts in the veterinary field or in any of these conditions. While we do our best to provide the most up to date information, new research is constantly being done on these diseases. We recommend that you do further study and talk to your veterinarian on any topics you see here, as we cannot guarantee that the information posted here is the most current information available.  This site was originally designed and maintained by Debbie Knatz.