Immunoglobulins are proteins that function as antibodies and, thus, provide immune protection. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is important in protecting body surfaces, which includes the skin, and the respiratory, digestive and reproductive tracts.
Selective IgA deficiency is defined as a primary immunodeficiency characterized by an undetectable (or low) level of IgA in the blood and secretions but no other immunoglobulin deficiencies. Dogs with IgA deficiency usually have problems from a young age. Typical symptoms include pustules and itching, sneezing or nasal discharge, prolonged or recurring diarrhea, and frequent or recurring bladder infections.
Selective IgA deficiency is diagnosed by measuring serum levels of IgA. It is treated by supplements which stimulate the production of immunoglobulins. The various infections, allergies, or autoimmune disorders associated with IgA deficiency are treated as necessary.