Symptoms of Discoid Lupus in Dogs

Discoid lupus affects both dogs and humans and is a benign form of the full systemic disease known as lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder in which the body begins to produce antibodies against itself; the immune system treats certain parts of the body as foreign invaders and develops an attack against those parts. Discoid lupus in particular affects the skin and the fur of your pet only. However, it's important to be aware of the symptoms of discoid lupus so that you can adequately and promptly recognize it when you see it, and take your pet to a veterinarian right away. Read on for a few of the basic symptoms of discoid lupus in dogs.

Loss of Pigmentation

Discoid lupus will begin attacking parts of your dog's body by inducing a loss of general pigmentation. This will be most obvious for dogs that have darker skin or skin that is more readily visible. Look in particular for your pet's nose and gums. These will often turn from a black color to a gray or, in the case of the gums, from a dark pink to a much lighter white color.

Sores on the Skin

As lupus continues to affect your dog's skin, it will move beyond a simple loss of pigmentation. The areas that have changed in color will then start to develop ulcerations and open sores. These are not in and of themselves harmful to your pet's health, although they may be painful. The more important thing to worry about are the infections that can result from these open sores. Be on the lookout for signs of infection throughout your pet's body, such as fever, lethargy and more. Left untreated, these infections can spread to other body parts and even to internal organs, where they can cause a great deal of harm and may even be fatal.

Tendency to Sunburn

As your dog's pigmentation is destroyed, he will become more and more susceptible to sunburn. You may not notice your pet being sunburned in some cases, as the fur may be covering up his skin. However, look for the areas where he burns in which the skin is exposed. Spots on your dog's body like the nose, ears and paws are good places to check for sunburn.

If your pet has discoid lupus, it will be important that you work with your vet to address his symptoms and to change your way of treating the pet so as to avoid any other harmful conditions, like sunburn or skin cancer. It's also beneficial to note that certain breeds of dogs, like huskies, German shepherds and collies, have a tendency to develop discoid lupus over other pets.

For more information about discoid lupus and how to treat a dog with this condition, speak with your veterinarian with any additional questions you may have. Lupus is not treatable, but you can effectively manage it in your dog.