Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

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Autoimmune Testicular Atrophy


What is autoimmune testicular atrophy?

Autoimmune testicular atrophy is an autoimmune disease that attacks the testicles.

 How do I know if my dog has autoimmune testicular atrophy?

Testicular atrophy leads to sterility so your first indication may be breeding failures.  Testicles will shrink and become soft.  Testicular atrophy can have a variety of causes and diagnosis of the autoimmune form requires ruling out those other causes.

 What does having autoimmune testicular atrophy mean for my dog?

It does not have significant health impact but does cause sterility.  Unfortunately, there is no treatment.

 How common is autoimmune testicular atrophy in Aussies?

It is rare. However, it is important to keep in mind that breeders should approach all chronic autoimmune disease as a single health concern; different types of autoimmune disease frequently occur in affected families.

 Is autoimmune testicular atrophy inherited?

Yes.  All autoimmune diseases are genetically predisposed:  The dog must have the genes to get the disease, but not every dog with the genes will become ill.

 Is there a screening or DNA test for autoimmune testicular atrophy?

Not at this time.

 What does autoimmune testicular atrophy mean for my breeding program?

Since this disease renders the dog sterile, breeding ceases to be an option.  However, breeders should approach each autoimmune disease as part of an overall health and breeding issue because different autoimmune diseases frequently occur in an affected family.  See Autoimmune Disease & Breeding.