Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Weimaraner immunodeficiency

Contributor(s): Michael Day


  • Poorly defined immunodeficiency disease of Weimaraner Weimaraner.
  • Recognized in Europe, US, Australia and Israel.
  • Cause: inherited disorder but mode not characterized.
  • Signs: multisystems inflammatory/infectious disease at 12-15 weeks of age.
  • Diagnosis: most consistent immunological abnormality is reduced concentrations of serum immunoglobulins (IgG, IgM, IgA) in various combinations. Some studies suggest neutrophil function defects.
  • Treatment: no specific treatment.
  • Prognosis: variable clinical course and outcome.


Predisposing factors

  • Vaccination?


  • Young Weimaraners also are reported with a related syndrome of hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) with multisystems inflammatory disease. This syndrome has been proposed to reflect an adverse reaction to administration of multicomponent live viral vaccine as onset is reported within 10 days of second administration of vaccine in some cases.
  • May actually be a complex spectrum of disease in this breed involving interactions of vaccine on underlying immunodeficiency background.
  • Primary immunodeficiency state.
  • Subnormal serum immunoglobulin levels suggests B lymphoid defect.
  • No increase in serum immune complexes, so low immunoglobulin is not due to complexing of antibody.
  • Variable ability to mount 'protective' antibody titers to vaccinal antigens CDV, CPV.
  • A range of neutrophil function defects were described in US cases, but not in dogs from Australia and less data on European cases.
  • Studies of lymphocyte, monocyte and natural killer cell function have shown no abnormality.
  • Clinical presentation as multisystemic inflammatory disease, likely overlap with syndrome of HOD and multisystem inflammatory disease reported in young weimaraners.
  • HOD/inflammation syndrome suggested to be an adverse effect of multicomponent live virus vaccines, but this may be secondary to underlying immunodeficiency state.
  • Alternatively, HOD/inflammation syndrome suggested to be an atypical infection with CDV (vaccine virus or field strain in incompletely protected dog).


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Dodds W J (2001) Vaccination protocols for dogs predisposed to vaccine reactions. JAAHA 37 (3), 211-214 PubMed.
  • Abeles V, Harrus S, Angles J M et al (1999) Hypertrophic osteodystrophy in six weimaraner puppies associated with systemic signs. Vet Rec 145 (5), 130-134 PubMed.
  • Dodds W J (1999) More bumps on the vaccine road. Advances in Vet Med 41, 715-732 PubMed.
  • Day M J, Power C, Oleshko J et al (1997) Low serum immunoglobulin concentrations in related weimaraner dogs. JSAP 38 (7), 311-315 PubMed.
  • Hansen P, Clercx C, Henroteaux M et al (1995) Neutrophil phagocyte dysfunction in a weimaraner with recurrent infections. JSAP 36 (3), 128-131 PubMed.
  • Malik R, Dowden M, Davis P E et al (1995) Concurrent juvenile cellulitis and metaphyseal osteopathy - an atypical canine distemper virus syndrome? Aust Vet Pract 25 (2), 62-67 VetMedResource.
  • Couto C G, Krakowka S, Johnson G et al (1989) In vitro immunologic features of weimaraner dogs with neutrophil abnormalities and recurrent infections. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 23 (1-2), 103-112 PubMed.
  • Studdert V P, Phillips W A, Studdert M J et al (1984) Recurrent and persistent infections in related weimaraner dogs. Aust Vet 61 (8), 261-263 PubMed.