What is Canine Lupus?
Canine Lupus is a disease where the body attacks itself, spurred on by the autoimmune system. The disease can come in one of two forms, Discoid Lupus and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. Lupus can be responsible for diseases of the blood, nervous system, joints, kidneys, lungs, heart and skin. Lupus' symptoms vary depending on what part of the body it affects. Its symptoms can be chronic or acute, and usually recur in cycles.
There are products to help prevent Canine Lupus that contain shark cartilage, designed to be absorbed into the bloodstream. They carry proteins and amino acids into the blood, and help to promote new blood vessel generation. Some are all-natural products, that boost your dog's immune system.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is also called SLE, or Canine Lupus. This disease is specific to dogs, who, when affected, have unusual blood antibodies that target the tissues of their own body. In addition to the other damage it causes, Lupus can cause decreased platelet numbers and anemia. It usually affects more than one organ at the same time.
SLE tends to wane and wax, so your dog will have some periods when he feels better, and then flare-ups. You may notice a lameness that shifts from one leg to another, pale gums and weakness (from anemia), and possibly increased urination and extreme thirst (from kidney disease). The feet and face are often affected, showing loss of nose pigments, and thickening and ulceration of the pads of the feet.
Canine Lupus causes so many symptoms, that it may be incorrectly diagnosed as a number of other diseases. Some of its symptoms include a fever that may fluctuate, arthritis in several joints, lesions, skin crusting, renal failure and septicemia. The latter are signs that it in its later stages. SLE, once the symptoms are linked to it, can be confirmed by blood work and by biopsy for further examination by a veterinarian.
Discoid Lupus is a skin disease that is presumed to be related to SLE, but it mainly affects the face and the nose. The cause of this disease is unknown, but it seems to affect primarily the Siberian Husky, Shetland Sheepdog, Brittany Spaniel, Collie, German Shepherd and German Shorthaired Pointer breeds. Discoid Canine Lupus is also called Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus, or CLE.
CLE usually begins as a pigment loss around the area of the nose. Your dog may have sores that appear scabby, or a simple scaling of the nasal tissue. As it progresses, CLE can cause sores on the areas where the nose borders normal skin. The sores will begin to go up the nose as the disease progresses.
It has not been determined if Canine Lupus is hereditary or not, but it does tend to run in families. Do not breed affected animals – it's probably wise not to breed their close relatives, either.