Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means that a dog's immune system attacks his own tissues.
There are two types of lupus in dogs: systemic and discoid.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is fortunately fairly rare in dogs. The immune system of dogs suffering from SLE attacks various tissues in the body, including the kidneys, skin, heart, lungs, nervous system, blood and/or joints. It is a chronic and often fatal disease.
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE), also known as collie nose, is a form of the same disease, but its impact is local, rather than systemic.
Even though both SLE and DLE can have similar skin symptoms, DLE only affects the skin and lesions are normally limited to the face and nose. Other diseases can also cause similar skin problems, so a biopsy is required to definitively diagnose DLE.
Breeds most commonly affected by discoid lupus are Collies, German Shepherds, Huskies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Brittany Spaniels and German Shorthaired Pointers. A genetic predisposition towards developing DLE is thought to be responsible for the increased incidence in these breeds.
The first signs are usually a loss of pigmentation around a dog's nose and an abnormal smoothness to the texture of the nose. In more advanced cases, y red and flaky skin, ulceration of the skin, open sores and crusts can develop. Affected areas most frequently include the nose, lips, ears, the skin around the eyes and sometimes the genital area. What all of these body parts have in common are a tendency to be sparsely covered with fur and to be exposed to sunlight.
Collie nose is aggravated by ultraviolet rays.
This makes the disease most likely to develop in dogs that live at high altitudes and to flare up during times of high sun exposure: either during the summer or with the increased glare off of a persistent snowpack.
Often, keeping the dog out of direct sunlight is all that is needed. Sunscreen protection is also helpful (use sunscreens made specifically for dogs. The Zinc Oxide that is included in many human sunscreens can be toxic to dogs if they lick it off). Supplements with anti-inflammatory action, such as omega-3 or vitamin E can also help.
Consult your veterinarian before using any supplements.
Immunosuppressive drugs, such as corticosteroids are also commonly used to treat DLE. Topical therapy may be sufficient, which significantly reduces the chances of unwanted side effects developing, but in severe cases systemic treatment and close monitoring for side effects may become necessary. Before I'd reach for any of these drugs, I would definitely want to consult a TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) or holistic veterinarian for alternative options first.
In rare cases, dogs with dle have gone on to develop a type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, at the site of their skin lesions. It is thought that the increased tendency towards developing a sunburn (because of the loss of protective pigments) and chronic inflammation of these areas is to blame.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE)
Canine discoid lupus erythematosus
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) Overview
Alternative Treatments For Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) in Dogs
Coming from a person that suffers from lupus, I find it very interesting that dogs CAN get lupus!! I did not know that..ReplyDelete
Hi Karen. Sadly, it seems that dogs can get any nasty disease we do.ReplyDelete
I had no idea Jana! Holy cow! Since I have a Sheltie, I would be interested to know if you know how common it is in those dog breeds (including the ones you listed). Jasper is in the sun a lot while playing, but in the house while I am walking dogs. This was a new one for me. I had never heard of Collie nose.ReplyDelete
I'm sure that if Jasper had it you would have noticed it. The changes of the nose pigmentation etc would be hard to miss.ReplyDelete
I had no idea either. The diversity of breeds is fascinating, i.e, they're not similar physical types. I guess nose length -- like a collie's -- has nothing to do with it. Hmmm.ReplyDelete
Edie, seems like it is not known what the connection is. I'd imagine it might have to do with the pigment, that would be logical to me. I'll do some more digging.ReplyDelete
Dogs can indeed get both the systemic form of lupus and the skin form. Fortunately, systemic lupus is not a disease I see much, at least not in my practice. It's a nasty disease when it does happen though :-(ReplyDelete
With DLE, I'm not sure what the incidence rate is in susceptible breeds. I do see it sometimes in practice but usually it's not particularly severe and we're usually able to manage it by avoiding sun and applying ointments/creams. Sunblock made for dogs (as Jana suggested) is a good idea. Vitamin E creams can be helpful also. Tacrolimus ointment also can be used. On very rare occasions, I've had to suggest immuno-suppressive medications, but corticosteroids might not be my first choice here. Sometimes tetracycline/niacinamide can work for these guys with fewer side effects than steroids.
Another caution though, there are other diseases (mucocutaneous pyoderma particularly) that can look like DLE so make sure to get it diagnosed before assuming that DLE is what your dog has.
Yes, thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
DLE is easily confused with solar dermatitis, pemphigus, ringworm, and other types of dermatitis.Discoid lupus erythematosus is an inflammatory skin disease seen in dogs and, very rarely, in cats.ReplyDelete
I am sure that if Jasper had that would have noticed. The changes in pigmentation of the nose, etc would be hard to miss.ReplyDelete
Homeopathic treatment that I am finding works is Apple Cider Vinegar diluted 1/2 with warm water. Use cotton ball and saturate, squeeze out a bit so it isn't dripping (just makes it easier to squeeze some on the dogs nose). clean the nose after every meal. Apply a Tea Tree Ointment (check for ingestion safety) found at your local health food store (don't use tea tree oil tincture straight as it can be lethal if ingested). Apply to nose after cleaning. There are also some PawPaw treatments for Collie Nose. Keep a good sunscreen on the nose. Dog's do put their noses in the dirt, ground so be sure you clean their nose extra if they do!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing that! Yes, Apple Cider Vinegar seems to be great for a whole lot of things, cool that it's helping for Collie Nose also!ReplyDelete
Never heard of the Tea Tree Ointment for this but glad it's working for you. Thank you for noting the toxicity caution. Tea tree oil can also be quite corrosive in high concentrations.
G'day, our Rhodesian Ridgeback, Shumba, was diagnosed with DLE yesterday, so it does affect other breeds. Also, he has a black nose, so I guess colour isn't that big a factor.ReplyDelete
Yes, just because a condition is typical in certain breeds it doesn't mean it cannot affect others. Also just because skin cancer is most prominent in people of caucasian descent, it doesn't mean that people with african descent cannot ever get it.ReplyDelete
Our Sheba II had DLE and it started at a very early age. As did our Sheba I. Both tri-color collies. Sheba II died at 112 years old of age the toll DLE took on her. She literally did not have a nose as it was almost down to the bone. I would like to find out if this is an acquired disease or if it is in the genes.ReplyDelete
Sorry you baby had it that bad!ReplyDelete
Yes, genetics are believed to be an important factor. It doesn't look like genetic screening test is available at this time.
Even with genetic diseases it is not completely straightforward. If a dog is genetically predisposed to something means that the odds of it happening are higher but it doesn't mean it has to happen. Other factors play their roles, such as environment and nutrition.
For example, a dog with predisposition to hip dysplasia might not get it with carefully chosen nutrition, or the nutrition might lessen the severity of it.
With autoimmune diseases, besides all that, it seems that the onset requires a trigger. The trigger could be a whole range of things. Nutrition would play role, stress can be a trigger and also, sadly vaccines can be a trigger.
Hi my Hovawart has DLE (she is almost 11 now), diagnosed about 1,5 yrs .On tetracyline and niaciamide. She gets sick from the vitamine E supplements.ReplyDelete
She loves her sunbaths, but licks of any substance I put on her nose.
Anyone tips or experience creating a coated muzzle or maybe another device for sun protection?
Mina from Belgium
Hi Mina, well sunbathing is not a good plan for a dog with DLE. Definitely not mid-day.Delete
Interesting idea, creating a sun-shade device, couldn't say I saw one though. Best idea is to minimize sun exposure in general.
If you want to experiment, perhaps one of the leather basket type of muzzle could be modified for this purpose. Whatever you try you have to make sure that your dog can pant and drink in it.
Thanks, Jana, I'll keep that in mind. If I am able to make a proper shade device I will send you a picture! Now it is raining, no immediate need :-)ReplyDelete
My name is bruce and i have a border collie. I ttok him to the vet and they diagnosed it as collie nose. there was no biopsy done and to be quite honest i cant afford to keep taking him in. If anyonw has any ideas on how i could get him treated either with home remedys or possibly a discount program please email me at email@example.com i would really appreciate any opinions. Thank youReplyDelete
Depending on how bad the situation is, since you didn't describe it, in mild cases, keeping you dog away from direct sunlight (UV light) might do the trick to keep things calm.Delete
wow i didn't know that dogs can have lupus...ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, dogs can have pretty much any old disease we do.Delete
My dog Sasha has collie nose she is 1 will she have it all her life?She licks off everything I put on what can I do?ReplyDelete
Since this is a problem of the immune system, it's like allergies - not likely to go away.Delete
Naturally, avoiding direct sun exposure is the best way to mitigate this condition.
However, I feel that minimizing things that agitate the immune system, things that are pro-inflammatory and toxins would help - this starts with diet, avoiding over-vaccination etc.
I think that if you consulted with a good holistic vet they can make recommendations regarding diet, supplements and herbal treatments.
my collie has started showing signs of this the patch is just above his nose (white fur missing) so can't really colour or tattoo over with black as it would look odd.ReplyDelete
I've been looking at this they are claiming good results. Anyone else tried it?
Also wondering as he's male if testosterone can have same effect as in male humans where can cause baldness or make it worse? Thinking of having him castrated much earlier than planned as was gonna wait till he'd matured but now worried the bald patch is gonna be even bigger with so much testosterone in him for so long? Maybe better if he can't make it and hopefully it will reduce in size to at least be less noticeable?
did you get this diagnosed as discoid lupus? Were other causes ruled out? For example, missing fur - is that kind of a circular bald patch? Because ringworm would do that, for example.
My recommendation would be to get it diagnosed precisely, before thinking about treatment.
My Zack has Cutaineous histio Cytosis, which is an auto immune disease, plus now i believe he has discoid Lupus. A few years back when we were fighting the histio and getting him straightened out with his allergy shots his nose had a loss of color in the winter time but was okay in summer. Now his nose get scaly skin at the base. It is almost like he doesn't shed skin cells, and his nose is dry most of the time. It seems if i keep up with cleaning is nose off with just water and paper towel, his nose is not too bad. I am going to try this cider vinegar.ReplyDelete
I always remembered even as a puppy his nose seemed to look grainy and not smooth and moist like my other sheltie. I asked the vet about it but he was clueless. He was also clueless to his histio disease cutting these bumps out of his face thinking they were first cysts then cancer. With weekly shots for allergys zack keeps his bumps down.
Nina, with multiple immune issues, you might want to take a good look at the diet he's on and consider some holistic and integrative approaches.Delete
Jana With him taking all those drugs plus the steroids which I never recommend because they almost killed him I do know some foods he is allergic to. I know he is allergic to corn because it was in a food the vet gave him to get his tummy back in shape when he got pancreatitis. He also got pneumonia which near killed him from the steroids. A long with our new vet my Zack has a dermatologist who is a wonderful person, she has him on a special diet.ReplyDelete
Our dermatologist believe Zack is mainly allergic to his shots because as a puppy he had an allergic reaction to them with in a half hour of getting them.. The first vet we had ignored his reaction and told us to give him benydril before receiving yearly shots.
Nina, firstly, core vaccines are no longer given yearly. Cutting back on vaccinations or avoiding them all together for a dog with autoimmune disease(s) is certainly one of the important steps.Delete
Holistic and integrative approaches use food therapy which goes beyond simple generic prescription diet. They also include things such as herbal therapy, acupuncture and more.
If anyone is looking for a safe way to treating lupus in their dog, try looking up Lupus Kit for dogs. I followed directions to detail and my Kinsey's nose healed. Her diet is crucial to stay off any grain food. She is on grain free dog food and also treats. Also I put in dark meat chicken and brown rice. The Lupus Kit works.Delete
Thank you for sharing this, will look into it. Too bad your suggestion didn't find Viva on time.Delete
My dog has collie nose really badly! We have him on imuno suppressants but they don't seem to be helping. Any tips for severe cases?ReplyDelete
So sorry about your dog.Delete
Traditional treatment for DLE includes Antibitoics – tetracycline or doxycycline and niacinamide (type of Vitamine B3). Topical tacrolimus – an immunosuppressive drug. If the case can not be controlled by this regimen oral corticosteroids such as prednisone is added and/or cyclosporine.
That's about all conventional medicine has to offer.
Perhaps you could try include some of the natural treatments as well (likely in conjunction with what you're already doing and, of course, after discussing it with your vet)
Alternative Treatments For Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) in Dogs
If you have the option where you live, you might discuss potentially trying hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well. It has been used for autoimmune diseases as well.
My Beardie had his nose tattooed a few years ago, which solved the skin breakdown issue. His nose now is smooth and scab free. He has twice had autoimmune haemolytic anaemia otherwise healthy.ReplyDelete
Wow, that is so interesting! Do you have more information on that? (Tattooing for DLE)Delete
Hello, have any of you experienced bleeding? Recently, Cooper a shepherd boxer mix, has had random nose bleeds. After some applied pressure it will stop. He doesn't seem to have any loss in appetite or playfulness.ReplyDelete
I'd always worry about nose bleeds. Dogs don't get nose bleeds as easily as people do. I'd be concerned even with one, definitely with repeating ones.Delete
Please do take this seriously and have it checked. There is quite a range of serious health issues that result in nose bleeds, starting with foreign bodies, clotting disorders and ending with cancer. See the article linked below. Please do have this checked.
Symptoms to watch for: Nose Bleeds
Can my dogs eyes be affected by Lupus? It seems his eyes have a swelling at the corner of his eye.ReplyDelete
Technically, they shouldn't. However, DLE is a disorder of the immune system, so there might be a connection.Delete
One way or another, I'd want to have him seen. Eyes are extremely vulnerable and can get seriously injured very quickly.
My golden retriever cross has dle, he is on prednisone and antibiotics but has so many sores on his belly and black scabs all over his back and head. Does anyone know what I can do to lessen the scabs also he smells so bad and his breath is beyond gross.ReplyDelete
Roberta, I'm wondering whether he indeed has DLE or systemic lupus or something else all together? The thing about DLE is specifically that it is localized. Which this by the sounds of it is not.Delete
I'd have the vet revisit this case as there seems to be more to it. It is also possible that there is a secondary condition happening, such as bacterial or even fungal infection.
Please see your vet again, or get a second opinion, ideally with a dermatologist, internal specialist or integrative vet.
So, At the end of December I was told my collie had DLE due to loss of pigmentation on nose...Doxy and Nia...cleared this up...what I was not expecting was his increased energy..did not realize he was so lethargic...two months prior he had been diagnosed with strained Iliosoas muscles and prior to that his eye would occasionally go up toward head ...had his eyes checked out and they are fine....on occasion his front leg goes crazy and he turns it under....On Doxy none of these signs appeared...off Doxy for two weeks and they are reappearing..could it be SLE....ReplyDelete
Hi Kathryn, sorry your pup is having such trouble. It's hard to tell whether these things might be related unless you vet does some testing and diagnostics. It is possible that he has DLE and some neurological issue. Or it is possible that the immune system is behind all of it. Please get back to the vet and have them review the situation.ReplyDelete
My husky/collie mix has been diagnosed with collie nose. It has progressed to her eyes and ears and is starting to spread to her paws.ReplyDelete
Her ears has always been sensitive, and with the dle it seems worse.
One thing i do not want is that she suffers. so my question is, what is the progression of the dle? i would rather put her out when things get too bad, but nowhere does anyone give the progression of the dle?
DLE should generally remain localized to the nose but even there it can cause a great deal of trouble. A friend's dog ended up having difficulty breathing and just really not doing well with it so they let her go ...Delete
Your veterinarian should be able to guide you through what can be done and what happens next. Did you try a specialist? Did you try an integrative vet? Sometimes unorthodox approach can bring better results than conventional medicine on its own.
Does anyone have any contact info on where I can find someone to do this tattooing? I can't find anyone and I have been looking everywhere. Im really desperate to find someone for my 7 month pup. Thank you in advance! my email is firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete