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Dogs - Itchiness (masking Immune Disorders)


Skin Lesions or Infections that won’t heal indicating an immune disorder, possibly the auto-immune disorder, Lupus. 

Canine Lupus can be divided into two types; Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE) or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). 

DLE often affects the face, ears, nose, lips, mouth and around the eye with the following;

  • Pale skin on the bridge of the nose
  • Redness of the skin, especially the nose, lips, and face
  • Scaly, flaky, or crusty skin
  • Sores or ulcers
  • Scarring
  • Pain at the affected sites
  • Itchiness or scratching at affected areas
  • Bacterial infections

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) on the other hand, can affect almost any area of the body.  Symptoms vary from :

  • Shifting leg lameness
  • Arthritis, muscle pain, and stiffness
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Sores or lesions on the skin
  • Anemia
  • Hair loss
  • Swollen Lymph nodes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Seizures
  • Enlarged liver, spleen, or kidneys
  • Increased thirst or urination

The cause of lupus is still not understood today, although there can be a genetic component for some breeds, and it appears exposure to ultraviolet light, stress, medication, and viral infections all contribute to the condition.

The breeds more at risk seem to be Afghan Hounds, Beagles, German Shepherds, Irish Setters, Old English Sheepdogs, Poodles, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Rough Collies.  It also appears that middle-aged female dogs are more susceptible to developing this condition.


DLE as a diagnosis is occasionally given by a veterinarian after the dog exhibits symptoms of either ringworm or nasal lymphoma, however once a biopsy of skin from the affected area is analysed the correct diagnosis of DLE can be given.