Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a rare, life-threatening disorder that causes a rapid severe respiratory failure that is unresponsive to treatment.

Key Signs

Acute respiratory distress

Age of Onset

0 to 2 yrs

Juvenile onset


Autosomal Recessive

For autosomal recessive disorders, dogs with two copies of the variant are at risk of developing the condition. Dogs with one copy of the variant are considered carriers and are usually not at risk of developing the disorder. However, carriers of some complex variants grouped in this category may be associated with a low risk of developing the disorder. Individuals with one or two copies may pass the disorder-associated variant to their puppies if bred.

Likelihood of the Condition

High likelihood

At risk dogs are highly likely to show signs of this disease in their lifetime.

What to Do

Here’s how to care for a dog with ARDS

Partner with your veterinarian to make a plan regarding your dog’s well-being, including any insights provided through genetic testing. If your pet is at risk or is showing signs of this disorder, then the first step is to speak with your veterinarian.

For Veterinarians

Here’s what a vet needs to know about ARDS

Clinical signs of this disease emerge very acutely in dogs under one year of age. Early signs of the disease include noisy respiration, increased respiratory rate, vomiting, and weight loss. The disorder is unresponsive to treatment and quickly develops into severe respiratory distress that can be accompanied with other severe conditions, such as pneumomediastinum, hiatal herniation, or gastroesophageal intussusception. The disorder is unresponsive to treatment and affected dogs die or are euthanized between 1-6 weeks after the onset of respiratory signs. Some affected dogs have been reported to exhibit other developmental anomalies such as hydrocephalus or renal aplasia. These anomalies are not directly linked to the respiratory signs and affected dogs usually grow and develop normally until the onset of respiratory signs.

All described cases of the disorder have died or were euthanized due to unresponsiveness to treatment and clinical severity. Treatment should be targeted at maintaining fluid balance and oxygenation. Anti-inflammatory treatment may be of help. The prognosis is poor.

For Breeders

Planning to breed a dog with this genetic variant?

There are many responsibilities to consider when breeding dogs. Regardless of test results it is important that your dog is in good general health and that you are in a position to care for the puppies if new responsible owners are not found. For first time or novice breeders, advice can be found at most kennel club websites.

This disease is autosomal recessive meaning that two copies of the mutation are needed for disease signs to develop. A carrier dog with one copy of the ARDS mutation can be safely bred with a clear dog with no copies of the ARDS mutation. About half of the puppies will have one copy (carriers) and half will have no copies of the ARDS mutation. Puppies in a litter which is expected to contain carriers should be tested prior to breeding. Carrier to carrier matings are not advised as the resulting litter may contain affected puppies. Please note: It is possible that disease signs similar to the ones caused by the ARDS mutation could develop due to a different genetic or clinical cause.

Technical Details

Variant C>T
Chromosome 14
Coordinate 47,812,143

All coordinates reference CanFam3.1

References & Credit

Credit to our scientific colleagues:

Holopainen, S., Hytönen, M. K., Syrjä, P., Arumilli, M., Järvinen, A. K., Rajamäki, M., & Lohi, H. (2017). ANLN truncation causes a familial fatal acute respiratory distress syndrome in Dalmatian dogs. PLoS Genetics, 13(2), 1–12. View the article

Järvinen, A. ‐K, Saario, E., Andresen, E., Happonen, I., Saari, S., & Rajamäki, M. (1995). Lung Injury Leading to Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Young Dalmatian Dogs. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. View the article