Having a dog is one of the best things in the world, isn’t it? Dogs always take care of you and make sure to be a helping hand during the sad times. In the same way, it is our responsibility to take care of them and be there when they need us. Lupus in dogs is one disease that directly affects the immunity of your pooch. With multiple symptoms indicating the disease, it might get difficult to find out what is going on with the dog. If you notice a few symptoms and are getting worried about the reason then try visiting your vet as soon as possible. Let's read further to know more about the disease.

Lupus and its types

Lupus is an illness found in dogs as well as humans. It affects the tissues of the body and drags the immunity down. The disease is not contagious so there is no need to panic and isolate your pooch. There are multiple variants of this illness but it is mainly divided into two common categories.

Cutaneous Lupus

Cutaneous Lupus which is also known as Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is the type that mainly affects the skin of the dogs. It is one of the most common types and mainly affects the facial area like the nose. The disease forces the immune system to attack against its cells within the skin resulting in flaking or crusting on the affected area. One has to be very careful and avoid Ultraviolet rays to avoid worsening of the disease.

What are the symptoms?

The cause of the illness is currently unknown but, it is said that ultraviolet rays can worsen the effects of the disease. So, it is best to keep your dogs away from the sunlight at all costs. Dogs that are suffering from the illness might develop ulcers, erosions, discoloration near the nose. The symptoms also include smoothening and loss of the bumpy texture of the nasal planum. There is also a possibility of heavy bleeding if lesions affect the blood vessels around the nose.

How can it be diagnosed?

 The diagnosis requires examining the skin by collecting a small sample from the affected area with the help of an instrument called punch biopsy. Your dog will be sedated for this procedure because the skin around the affected area is very sensitive and they will most likely not like the procedure. The area from where the sample is taken might require stitches like procedure and you might have to visit again to get them removed. The sample will then be examined under a microscope to know if the dog has been affected by the disease or not.

Is it curable?

The illness is not amongst the curable ones but with the help of various treatments and medications, the symptoms can be cured and controlled from occurring. This is the best way your dog can stay with you after getting affected by the disease. You also might require to get him to regular therapy sessions but, the treatment doesn’t promise that the symptoms would show up again and your dog might face similar episodes until lifetime. So, critical care and close inspections are required from your side regularly.

What is the treatment?

As the disease affects the immune system and forces it to attack its own body, the treatment involves suppression of the immune system to take control of the situation. Different dogs act differently to treatments so, the trial and error methods are applied to identify the right one for the dog. Usually, they are treated with steroids and put on vitamins to improve the immunity of the body. Along with the steroids your dog might also require antibiotics.

The medications stay until the lesions are fully gone. An owner has to be prepared about the fact that it may take time for things to get completely normal again. Your dog's vet will be the best guide throughout the process until your pooch gets fine again so take no worries and trust the process.

Systemic Lupus

Systemic is another type of lupus that can affect any part of the body like skin, joints, etc. This is a very serious condition and some breeds tend to develop the disease quite fastly. Usually medium to large male dogs are more likely to develop the illness than female dogs. The signs of the illness may show instantly or slowly that depends from body to body of the dog.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms will depend on the area where the body is attacking the tissues. So, technically it could be anywhere in the body. The symptoms of this type are likely to come and go, so intensive care is required during the process and until your pooch gets fine. Because systemic lupus can affect any part of the body, there are a variety of symptoms that you need to look for.

  •       Fatigue and lethargic nature
  •       Lose in appetite
  •       lesions around the affected area
  •       Redness around the affected area, ulcers, pigmentation, loss or thinning of hair, etc.
  •       Fever, muscular pain
  •       Swollen lymph nodes, spleen or liver
  •       Nervous system related issues

Is it curable?

The type is not curable but the symptoms can be controlled which helps a lot in keeping the dog fine for long. There is no scientific cause associated with the disease yet but, researchers have claimed that the reasons might be genetic, physiologic, or environmental related. The disease is said to be progressive and unpredictable so, it is hard to say that it can be treated easily.

What is the treatment?

The treatment will largely focus on curing the symptoms and keeping them stagnant until the dog's natural death. The patient might require a short period of hospitalization if the immune system starts attacking the red blood cells in the body. The treatment and course of medication otherwise depend entirely upon which part of the body is getting affected.