What is an immune mediated disease?
First of all, an Immune Mediated disease and an Auto-Immune disease are the same thing and the terms can used interchangeably. These diseases are ones in which the body is attacking its own cells. Instead of the immune system only attacking foreign invaders to keep the body healthy, somehow a malfunction occurred and the body labeled its own cells as being bad and is killing them.
We don't fully know what causes the body to attack itself, but some of the theories being tested currently include:
Immune mediated diseases can be extremely frustrating to determine if they are a primary or secondary immune reaction, but it is crucial for prognosis (long term outcome) of the pet. Unfortunately, diagnosing primary immune disease is a diagnosis of rule outs. What this means is the veterinarian must test for, and rule out, all the other causes that can set off the immune system. We'll cover this is in a different post.
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