Dog disease lupus: Rare, but act in time if symptoms occurLupus is an autoimmune disease that can also affect dogs. Different symptoms appear. Must be treated individually.
Paris – The dermatologist Pierre Louis Alphee Cazenave was the first to describe the disease lupus in a scientific form in 1851. Lupus is a rather rare autoimmune disease, but it does not only affect humans. It can also occur in dogs.
Canine lupus: What is it??
Lupus is based on the formation of autoantibodies. This means that the immune system turns against the body's own structures and fights against them. In healthy dogs, the immune system only attacks pathogens. In case of a lupus disease the body does not distinguish any more between healthy and foreign resp. diseased cells. Lupus can affect almost all body parts and organs. Three different variants occur in dogs:
– systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) – cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) – discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE)
Dog disease lupus: the symptoms
In SLE, the symptoms are based on affected regions. Most often the musculoskeletal system. The skin affected. Typical symptoms are swollen joints, muscle inflammation and lameness. Symptoms usually occur in a combination with skin redness, blisters, crusts and pustules. Hair loss may also occur. Often the dogs show anemia and have a high fever. This is either long-lasting or comes in spurts. At the mucous membranes are usually well recognizable, conspicuous changes to be found. Sometimes heart diseases and meningitis are a consequence of systemic lupus in dogs.
CLE is a "skin lupus", also known as butterfly lichen. It only affects the skin. Can be triggered or intensified by sunlight. Signs are increased scaling. Pigmentary changes. Most often they form first on the face. Then spread. Hair loss, crusts and ulcers also occur as the disease progresses.
The DLE is a special form of cutaneous lupus. It is limited to parts of the dog's body exposed to light, such as the nose.
Canine lupus: treatment and diet
A dog with lupus is treated with special medications. Medication is based on the specific symptoms and suppresses the immune system to prevent further progression of the dog disease. Sometimes homeopathy also helps with individual signs of the disease. The medication is given to the dog in tablet or ointment form. Often occurs due to the weakened immune system. The skin changes to skin infections. If such secondary bacterial infections are present, additional treatment with antibiotics is necessary. In summer, the dog should be applied a high sun protection factor, as sunlight aggravates the autoimmune disease. In case of very strong sun exposure, it is advisable to keep the dog indoors. If the kidneys are also affected by lupus, it is important to set up a kidney-friendly, low-protein diet plan in consultation with the vet.
Canine disease lupus: life expectancy
With the right and early treatment, dogs with lupus have the chance of a normal life without limited life expectancy. They usually reach the average age of their respective breed. However, in severe cases of the disease, internal organs may be attacked. For example, the brain, intestines, heart and kidneys are then susceptible to secondary damage from lupus. In such cases the life expectancy is reduced. However, it depends on the specific individual case. Since some medications also attack the liver, regular monitoring of blood values is important. It is best to give the dog a general check-up to keep an eye on the lupus and to act at an early stage.