Cutaneous Asthenia (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)

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    Cutaneous Asthenia is an inherited skin disorder characterized by extremely stretchy and fragile skin that tears at the slightest scratch causing scars and wounds. It affects mostly dogs, cats, some small animals, and resembles the Ehlers-Danlos disease in humans.

    Susceptible Dog Breeds

    Most commonly affected dog breeds are:

    The disease reveals during the first 6 months of the animal’s life and is believed to be hereditary. There is no cure for this skin disorder, and most affected animals are euthanized.

    Signs & Symptoms

    Signs include numerous lesions of the skin:

    • Broad, thin scars
    • Gaping bleeding wounds
    • Stretchy, thin, and fragile skin
    • Skin folds behind the elbows

    The condition is due to a defect in the connective tissue in the skin and can be caused by decreased production of collagen.

    The skin tears at the slightest contact with anything sharp, including rough surfaces or even the dog’s or cat’s own paws. The tears usually do not bleed. Small tears may heal rapidly, leaving white scars. Occasionally the tears may enlarge and form large wounds.

    Some forms of the condition also affect the blood vessels in the skin and may cause bruising and blisters. In dogs, this condition is linked to looseness in the joints and abnormalities of the eye.

    Video Credits: Izzy Kornblau
    Image Credits: Dermatopatologia Veterinaria


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