Canine lupus is an autoimmune very similar to the condition that affects humans. Both conditions will cause the body to attack the internal organs, thinking that they are foreign objects that need to be eradicated. This condition can easily be fatal to your dog, but fortunately it’s a relatively rare disease.
There are various types of lupus in dogs. Including systemic and discoid. Systemic lupus occurs when the dog’s entire body is affected by the disease. Only the skin will be affected by discoid lupus.
Vets don’t exactly know why canine lupus occurs. Some suspect that it’s a congenital problem. When dogs are exposed to certain things in the environment, the disease will be triggered. Certain breeds have an increased risk of developing it.
As mentioned, lupus in dogs causes the body to attack internal organs like the heart, skin, joints, and kidneys. Over time, these organs will suffer extensive damage and lose their ability to function correctly. The specific signs that your dog displays will depend on the affected organ.
Common signs of canine lupus include rashes, skin lesions, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and fever. If discoid lupus is the problem, then your dog may suffer pigmentation loss on the face, especially the nose. Your dog will also likely be very sensitive to sunlight.
Diagnosing lupus in canines can be tricky since the symptoms mimic other diseases. The veterinarian will have to perform a thorough test of the blood. After a successfully diagnosis has been made, treatment can also be tricky.
The dog’s immune system will need to be made to stop attacking the organs. Corticosteroids taken over a long period of time are commonly used. Since the dog’s immune system will be considerably weakened, other diseases can easily occur. Taking those medications over time may also cause your dog to experience arthritis or kidney failure.
Unfortunately, canine lupus can’t really be treated, only managed. Most dogs that are diagnosed with it will die within a year or two. The occurrence of secondary infections are typically responsible for death.