Canine Lupus – What To Do For Your Boston Terrier

by Colleen Fernandez

in Health Problems

Canine Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that can give rise to an array of life threatening conditions.

If your Boston terrier is diagnosed with lupus, the treatment plan will depend on what type of lupus your dog has.

Both types of lupus (SLE and DLE) are caused by an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack itself. The body’s immune system starts mistaking healthy cells for foreign harmful microorganisms, and starts attacking them.

The disease manifests itself as an inflammation of any part of the body including the heart, kidneys, lungs, joints, and blood.

Two Types of Lupus in Dogs

Systematic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
SLE can affect any part of the body, but mostly the joints, skin, blood, and kidneys.

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE)
DLE doesn’t affect the whole body; instead it attacks only the skin, especially of the face and nose. Discoid lupus is more prevalent than systematic lupus erythematosus.

Causes of Lupus in Dogs

Unfortunately the exact causes of lupus are still unknown, but researchers do know that genetical and environmental factors play an important role in the development of the disease.

Some experts say that some dogs are genetically predisposed to the disease. For example, German shepherds, Collies, Siberian huskies and Shelties are more susceptible to developing lupus, especially discoid lupus.

Symptoms Of Systematic Lupus Erythematosus

If the disease is attacking the joints and muscles, your dog may become lethargic. If the disease is attacking the major organs of the body; it can lead to anemia, anorexia, and enlargement of liver, spleen and lymph nodes, confusion and seizures.

Some other symptoms of SLE:

  • Lameness
  • Arthritis in dogs
  • Joint inflammation
  • Muscle inflammation
  • Anemia
  • Skin lesions
  • Infections
  • Inflammation of the heart muscles
  • Hair loss
  • Fever
  • Pale gums
  • Increased urination

Symptoms Of Discoid Lupus

Discoid lupus causes skin lesions and can change the appearance of the skin of the nose, by causing depigmentation. You may notice skin lesions or sores on the nose, and gradually, the skin of the affected area may start to flake off.

Mouth ulcers may also develop. The most important triggering factor is sunlight or ultraviolet radiation.

So… if you have a dog with discoid lupus the most important thing to do is keep your pet out of the sun.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Lupus in Dogs

Numerous clinical tests are required in order to properly diagnose lupus disease. Your vet may need to do all or any of the following tests to diagnose your dog:

  • Blood count test
  • Urinalysis
  • Antinuclear antibody test
  • Immunofluorescence test
  • Skin biopsy

Right now there’s no cure for lupus, but the symptoms and complications are able to be prevented if treated properly. The treatment options are determined by: the type of lupus your dog has, the organs it has affected, the general health and well being of your dog.

A dog with lupus can survive for several years, but this disease requires constant supervision and a great deal of precaution.

If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. And try not to lose hope, with proper care, you’ll get through it!

If you have any comments or questions, I invite you to post them below!

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