Canine Lupus Erythematosus

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The autoimmune disease lupus erythematosus is a terrific imitator, with a host of nonspecific signs that make it hard to diagnose. Dogs are most at risk for the disease; it hardly ever happens in felines. There are two forms: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), that can impact several systems within the body, and a milder form that is limited to the skin, discoid (or cutaneous) lupus erythematosus (DLE). Lameness, due to an inflammation of the joints or muscles, is the most common sign of the more major form. Although skin lesions on the nose, face and ears can accompany both kinds, the signs of DLE are typically limited to the skin. Both types of lupus erythematosus are typically treated with immunosuppressive drugs.

Canine Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multisystem autoimmune disease that is defined by the development of antibodies against a broad variety of self-antigens (antibody-generating substances) and circulating immune complexes. To puts it simply, this is disease where the body’s body immune system has actually become hyper-defensive, attacking the cells, organs, and tissues of its own body as if they are diseases that need to be destroyed.


Lupus erythematosus is an uncommon and intricate autoimmune condition. Two versions of this condition are seen in dogs, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid (or cutaneous) lupus erythematosus (DLE). Although DLE is more common than SLE, it is believed to be a milder variation of SLE.

In these diseases, the body develops antibodies versus itself. In the case of SLE, these antibodies can attack any number of systems within the body, including joints, muscles, skin, kidneys, the nervous system, and the blood itself. Signs can vary extensively, depending on the systems impacted.

The condition is suspected to be genetic, but the precise mode of genetic transmission is unknowned.

Symptoms and Identification

Lameness and fever are the most common signs associated with SLE, but lots of signs can be related to it, depending upon what organ systems the antibodies attack. Signs may likewise wax and wane, making medical diagnosis very elusive.

Signs of DLE might begin with a loss of pigmentation on the nose and lips, and development to ulcers and scarring on the face and ears. A skin biopsy is typically required for diagnosis.

A medical diagnosis of SLE can be provided if the patient 1) is favorable on an ANA blood test for a particular kind of antibody and 2) has two or more of the following symptoms: skin lesions, oral ulcers, arthritis, swelling of the covering of the heart (pericardium) or the lining of the chest cavity (pleura), kidney problems, neurologic symptoms and particular decreases in certain blood cells (platelets, red cell, or lymphocytes).

Affected Breeds

Lupus erythematosus runs in lines of dogs, many typically in Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes, Afghan hounds, beagles and Chow Chows.


Treatment of DLE normally needs fairly low doses of glucocorticoids (like prednisone) in addition to easy dietary supplements (like fatty acids). Use of sunblocks and avoidance of sun exposure is also recommended.

SLE is usually treated with high-dose glucocorticoids, and treatment effectiveness is highly variable, depending on the organ systems involved. While some dogs respond very well to therapy, other dogs’ conditions are somewhat unresponsive to medical treatment. Chemotherapeutics and other immunomodulating drugs are often attempted, to no obtain in many cases. Euthanasia due to unmanageable symptoms or drug-related side effects is not unusual.


Though inheritance techniques have actually not been established, it’s suggested to refrain from breeding affected dogs and their first-degree family members (parents and siblings).

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References and used sources

D. Roberts (Junior Expert)

He is a specialist in the field of veterinary medicine, and pet care. Believes that the person responsible for each pet, which was taken into the house, and therefore should study his behavior, means of determining health status and methods of first aid.

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