Environmental factors may have a role in causing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the slow motion degenerative disease causing arthritis and eventually kidney failure and neurological abnormalities.
The pet dogs of 15 patients diagnosed with SLE were examined by the Department of Immunology at the University Hospital at Nottingham. Dogs, like humans, can suffer from the illness.
All the patients' dogs were found to have abnormal antibody and blood levels corresponding to canine SLE.
The researchers concluded that SLE may be transmissible and cross the species barrier, or be due to some common environmental factor.