The immune system is the defense mechanism which secures a living being from foreign substances like a virus, bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms. When Immune system goes out of control in animals, it results in severe disorder. The condition in which the animal’s immune system works against itself is called an autoimmune disease. The rarest form of autoimmune disease found in dogs is Lupus erythematosus. Lupus erythematosus can be categorized as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE). SLE is the rarest form of the autoimmune disease but may become fatal when left untreated. The auto-immune disease treatment for dogs depends on the type of disease.
As stated in petmd.com, dog owners should be aware of the life-saving procedures like CPR and other first aid methods in case of emergency. Since these autoimmune disorders can result in any organ failure in dogs, owners should be aware of the precautionary steps.
Symptoms and Identification of SLE
The over-reaction of the immune system can attack any organs. So it is not sure to determine the exact symptoms of SLE. But based on the many cases reported, fever and lameness are the most prominent signs which can be identified. SLE can be identified with the combination of problems like ulcer, inflammation of the pericardium, kidney problems, neurologic problems, skin lesions and decreased the count of certain blood cells. Clinical confirmation can be done by doing an ANA test being positive which encounters for a specific antigen. Other signs of SLE include anemia, fever, lung diseases, polyarthritis, renal failure, etc.
Affected breeds of dog
It is not all the dog breeds can be affected by SLE. The presence of SLE varies based on the genetic characteristics, environment and a dog’s immune behavior. The breeds which get affected and have a genetic continuation of this disease are Shetland and English Sheepdogs, German Shepherds, hounds, etc.
Complications and treating SLE
In adverse cases, the signs of SLE get complicated and result even in a fatality. Complications produced by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus are kidney failure, increased blood pressure, low red blood cell, bleeding or clotting, inflammation of blood vessels, Shifting lameness, muscle, and joint pain, stiffness, loss of appetite, fever and skin sores. Treatment of SLE normally includes a high dosage of Glucocorticoid along with nutritional supplements. In the case of skin lesions, sun exposure should be avoided, and sun blocks should be used. When dogs don’t react to the treatment very well, Chemotherapeutics and other immune regulating drugs are used. Certain drugs used for treating SLE are methylprednisolone, prednisolone, and prednisone which high dosage of glucocorticoids. In canine cases, aspirin, Levamisole are used.
It is practically impossible this disease occurring in the genital lines that are prone to SLE. But certain preventive measures can be done. It is highly suggested to restrict breeding in the affected dogs and their first-level relations. Sun exposure should be completely prohibited in the case of skin lesions, as it well develops more rapidly when exposed to the sun. Since any alteration in immune can cause severe damage to the internal organs and their functions, conventional treatment should be given upon diagnosis of SLE.