Lupus in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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The lupus in dogs It is an autoimmune pathology that we can detect in two presentations, depending on whether it affects the skin or the entire organism. Precisely whether it is one type or another will depend on both the diagnosis and the treatment and, very importantly, the prognosis..

Next, in this AnimalWised article, we will learn to identify the symptoms that may make us think that our dog is suffering from this disease and we will give you the keys so that you know how to act in the event of the appearance of lupus in your dog..

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  1. What is lupus?
  2. Diagnosis of lupus in dogs
  3. Can lupus in dogs be cured??
  4. Is lupus in dogs contagious?
  5. Life expectancy of a dog with lupus

What is lupus?

Lupus is a autoimmune disease, that is to say, it is a pathology in which the organism attacks itself. Specifically, a deposit of immune complexes occurs on the skin or in different organs. Some predisposing causes are believed to exist, such as exposure to ultraviolet rays, modified live virus vaccines or own individual genetics. Although some caregivers think that lupus is cancer, the truth is that, as we have seen, this statement is not true.

We can find two manifestations of lupus in dogs, which are called systemic lupus erythematosus and discoid lupus erythematosus. The former is a multisystemic autoimmune disorder, while discoid lupus erythematosus in dogs is more benign and mild, limited only to the skin..

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Thus, in the systemic presentation we can find a variety of symptoms, depending on the organs that are affected, which are above all skin, kidneys, heart, or joints. Joint pain, episodic fever, kidney problems, anemia or, if the mouth is affected, stomatitis may appear.

In addition, they appear skin lesions ulcer type, especially in the area of ​​the face, especially in the nose, and the legs, specifically in the pads, which thicken, ulcerate and even, in the most severe cases, can fall off. The area around the nails can also become infected, which may even shed. Skin problems evolve from erosions to scabs and hair loss. The first symptom may be a limp that is changing legs or a wobbly walk.

Discoid lupus erythematosus

Discoid lupus erythematosus is a relatively common immune disease in which limited injuries to the face and ears, although in some dogs we will also find them in the genital region or the pads. It usually begins with the appearance of a small lesion that is seen as a colorless or reddened area. With the passage of time they end up becoming ulcers and scabs.

Depending on each case there will also be pain and itching. We may notice that sunlight makes symptoms worse. It seems that there are breeds with a greater propensity to suffer it such as the Border Collie, the German Shepherd or the Siberian Husky.

Diagnosis of lupus in dogs

At first, it can be difficult for us to think that our dog suffers from lupus, since, as we have seen, the symptoms can be very varied. Thus, to arrive at the diagnosis of lupus it is usual to have to rule out other causes. For this, the veterinarian will pay attention to the clinical history of our dog and the clinical picture.

Are usually needed diverse studies. It is essential to perform a blood and urine analysis, but, for a definitive diagnosis, it will be necessary to do a biopsy and an antibody test.

On the contrary, in the case of discoid lupus erythematosus, its identification is easier because the appearance and location of the lesions, if the dog does not present other symptomatology, they usually serve to directly correct their diagnosis.

Is lupus in dogs cured?

Lupus in dogs is a disease that has a treatment, but this will depend on the presentation. Thus, in the case of discoid, oral and topical medication is prescribed, based on corticosteroids and, if necessary, antibiotics. It seems that it is also beneficial to administer oral vitamin E. For systemic lupus erythematosus, immunosuppressants to stop the attack of the organism against itself, in addition to the necessary treatment for the symptoms derived from the organ that is affected.

In general you have to avoid exposure to sunlight or apply protectors if this is going to occur, since, as we have seen, these rays aggravate the problem and could increase the discomfort for the dog.

Is lupus in dogs contagious?

By looking at the characteristics of lupus in dogs, we can see that it is not a contagious disease, It is due to a failure in the dog's immune system that causes it to attack its own cells. This defect is not contagious, it is not possible for it to be transmitted from one animal to another, it is a unique circumstance. Therefore, no need to establish any control measures in that sense.

Life expectancy of a dog with lupus

Lupus in dogs, as we see, is treatable but, in the case of systemic, its forecast is reserved, because it will depend on the damage it produces in the different organs. The picture is especially delicate when the kidneys are affected. In contrast, discoid systemic lupus can usually be treated successfully. Of course, we must not lose sight of the effects of the treatment, since, when the immune system is suppressed to prevent it from attacking the body, it also increases the propensity for the dog, without defenses, to suffer other diseases, mainly bacterial, which complicate the picture. We will always consult with the vet.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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