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Lupus in dogs

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Lupus in dogs
  • Has anyone heard of lupus in dogs?  My lab, Sassy, has had skin infections since Jan. and they haven't responded to any antibiotics or prednisone.  The derm vet is going to do a biopsy on Thursday.  She mentioned that she was concerned it was ? and I thought I'd remember it and look it up (yes, should've written it down).  I called the clinic today and the vet didn't write the name down in her notes and isn't in the office today.  The only thing that I can find that sounds like what she said is "lupus erythematosus".  I am so hoping that this isn't what Sassy has, but does anyone know anything about it?  Here's a link on it:
  • Cathy,,,,,,,,,,,,  I don't know,,,,,,   how many of those symptoms does Sassy have?  I don't know anything about Lupus, but nothing in the link sounded like what I thought I read about Sassy, or am I wrong?
  • Dyan - I honestly don't see 99% of the symptoms in Sassy.  However, the skin disorders kind of fit.  When she was in a few weeks ago for a recheck, they did a another culture (3rd one) and the vet said that she was surprised at the proliferation of white blood cells.  I have no idea what that's indicative of and just assumed it's her body trying to fight off the infections.  I think what concerned the vet was that there wasn't really much yeast or bacteria showing up.  So, that started me thinking along the lines of an autoimmune disorder.  Anyhoo...I'm probably getting worked up over nothing (fingers crossed), but I'm pretty good at searching the net and this was the only thing I could come up with that sounded like what she said and would explain the concern in her voice. 
    SLE causes a variety of signs and most often cases are presented because of lameness or skin disorders.
    Whatever the primary cause the disease is characterised by the production of non-specific antibodies (called antinuclear antibodies - ANAs)  by the animal which may attack specific cells or tissues, for example :
    • Red blood cells - erythrocytes
    • White blood cells - leukocytes
    • Platelets

  • Skin lesions including alopecia, cellulitis, crusting, erythema, furunculosis, panniculitis, seborrhoea, ulcers (mucocutaneous junctions and footpads), scar formation -50% of cases * The lesions can affect the face, ears , limbs,  and body
  • I am unfamiliar with your situation but I have seen lupus with one dog at the clinic I work at I have seen one confirmed case of Lupus in a dog.  The skin on her nose was peeling away and she had what looked like healing open sores on her nose.  I don't know if that helps any but it seemed very localised to just her nose. 

    Best of luck to you!  I hope it isn't and it all works out! 
    Take care,
  • Thanks Wysteria.  Is that really your name?  It's very beautiful and so are your dogs.  Yes, I hope you're right too.  I sure will be glad to get to the bottom of whatever the issue is and hopefully get it cleared up.  I'm like a worried mommy right now.
  • Understandable...sorry for my lack of sense in that post I was arguing with my fur children about laying down...and talking to the mother in law...multi-tasking is not always the best option.[;)

    Yep that's my name...and thank you my dogs use it to their advantage on a daily basis...the red one whenever he's bad will roll over on his back automatically. 

    I totally understand the worried mommy thing...I will keep you guys in my thoughts!
  • Cathy, I'm sorry that Sassy isn't any better after the meds the derm vet had her on. I was afraid that Jessie had pemphigus erythematosus when her head swelled and she had sores on her eyelid and nose. The vet didn't want to do a biopsy because of the locations of the sores, and Jessie got better with antibiotics. The vet said that if it was pemphigus, it would have taken a lot of steroids for her to get better. There are two types of erythematosus, systemic lupus erythematosus and pemphigus erythematosus.
        Pemphigus erythematosus usually affects only the head and feet :
         Sassy may possibly have cutaneous lupus erythematosus, which is a milder form of  systemic erythematosus. It is also called discoid lupus:
      That may be why Sassy only has the skin problems and not the other symptoms. Please let us know as soon as you learn the results from the biopsy. You must be really worried now. Hang in there and hope that if it is lupus, it is the cutaneous form, as that seems to be the easiest to treat. I'll keep Sassy in my thoughts and hope it's something that can be easily treated.
  • Thanks Janice.  I sort of hope you're right [;)], in that we'd have an answer to the problem.  I kept seeing "dogs are usually euthanized within a year" on the sites I was searching and had myself pretty worked up today.  I'm going to try to stay calm about this and wait to see what the results show.  I appreciate you sharing your experiences though and it does give me hope.
  •    Gosh, I don't blame you for being worried. The cutaneous lupus is supposed to be milder and not affect the internal organs. Since Sassy isn't running a fever, limping, and isn't anemic, it is reasonable to think that if she has lupus, it's the cutaneous form. I know there is no way to know what it is until she has the biopsy, but there's no need to assume the worst either. I'm so sorry you're going through this.
  • There are times when surfing the net is no good, Cathy, this is one of them. Don't do this to yourself.   I did the same thing with Ollie, so I don't blame you but you can't go thinking negative now,,,,just try to keep faith!   Decide to think of something nice about Sassy everytime you get to worrying... HANG IN THERE!!!
  • Oh my gosh Dyan, you are so right about the perils of searching the net.  It's such a great tool, but can certainly overload ;people like me and in my situation.  Last night my husband said "look, she's now got bumps on her chest too" and this morning I said "honey, come feel this"  I felt a lump internally right where her ribcage ends.  He said "okay, you're starting to overreact now".  Ya think???  I know he's worried too though. 
    I looked at her tummy this morning and it's just so bad.  The area we originally started treating for pseudo and staph (belly area) now has welts again.  That's the area they said only Cipro and Clindamycin would work on and if it didn't, there were no other oral antibiotics that would work.  So not sure what we're going to do about that.  I tried putting the Ketachlor shampoo on and she was okay for the tummy, but when I got to the yeast area (vulva), she freaked out and jumped up.  I couldn't even get the shampoo off.  As you know, when they decide they're done...they're done. 
    The vet said she thought they could do the biopsy with local anesthesia, but I'm going to tell them to sedate her.  I just don't think she's going to hold still to have three areas cut and sutured and I want her to be comfortable. 
    Janice - You know, they've never done blood work on her other than for her thyroid, so for all I know she could be anemic or have other issues.  I think I should ask for a complete blood work-up, don't you?
  •    The complete bloodwork sounds like a good idea. About the lump you felt where her ribcage ends: Jessie is Lab-Shepherd and has three lumps in her ribcage area. She also has one the size of a cherry in her rear left abdominal area, and one the size of a marble in her left armpit. Fluid has been aspirated from all of them and they are lipomas, which are harmless fatty tumors. It is very common for large dogs to have several of these lumps. Jessie had her first ones by the time she was two years old. Please don't panic over the lumps you find under her skin. When I found the first lump on Jessie, I couldn't sleep until I got her to the vet and had it checked. Since then I have found several more and they have all been lipomas. Labs are prone to them. You know the expression ,"A little knowledge is dangerous thing?". That's the problem with surfing and reading information online. It's dangerous because you're getting very worried before you really know what Sassy's problem is. We all attempt to diagnose conditions that way, but we don't know nearly as much as a veterinarian, so you could be worrying much more than is necessary.  I know it's hard not to get really worried, but in a few days you should know what is causing Sassy's problems. I'll be praying for you and Sassy. I'm so sorry that Sassy's stomach is worse again. I hope things go well tomorrow.
  • Geez Cathy, poor little girl AND her parents....I sure hope you get to the bottom of this in a hurry, I sure know that feeling of anxiety, worrying about our baby!
    When do you take her back in?
  • Tomorrow at 8 is the appt for the skin biopsies.  I called the vets office and asked if I needed to fast her in case they need to sedate her, and they said that'd be a good idea.  She's famished (more than usual) on this homecooked diet, so she'll be more antsy than usual, but that's okay.  They said to bring the food with us, so I guess they'll keep her a little while.  Anyhoo, I'll let you all know what the vet's actual concern was (I'll write it down this time) and hopefully it's not the lupus.
    Janice - our other dog, Buffy, also had a lipoma that they aspirated and it was fine, so I know what you mean.  I don't think that's what this is, but my husband said "it's her organs and it's just that you can feel them now that she's so thin".  I think he's right and we'll see what she weighs tomorrow too.  I'm afraid she's dropping weight with this new diet, but she'd be thrilled at the idea of getting to eat more [:D].
    Thanks for the support guys!!
  • Cathy, for whatever its worth (which is nothing) Ollie got very very skinny also.  He wasn't eating much during that period, we kind of coaxed him to eat what he did.    I think that is the point at which we decided enough is enough and he was done with all the antibiotics and steroids and medicines.   We put him on Nzymes and probiotics and Eagle Pack (first Canidea but he quit eating it) then took him to the skin specialist.  We even went the Oxy Drops in his water. Don't now if any of that helped, but we did it.  Thank God he isn't going thru this anymore, I feel bad that you are!  Give her a kiss for me, okay??