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Lupus in Boston Terriers

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Lupus in Boston Terriers can strike them down in the prime of their life.  Prompt recognition of the disease is essential to early treatment and survival of your dog.

Definition of Lupus

“Lupus” is a general term for an autoimmune disease characterized by the formation of antibodies against the body’s own tissues. There are two distinct forms of lupus in dogs, each of which have different symptoms and consequences. They are discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). DLE, sometimes referred to as “collie nose” or “nasal solar dermatitis,” is one of the most common immune-mediated skin diseases in dogs and almost always is limited to the face, ears and mucous membranes. SLE is the more complex and serious of the two conditions and tends to target the skin, kidneys, liver, heart and joints.

Cause of Lupus in Dogs

The exact causes of lupus are not known, but it is thought that the disease has a strong genetic component. Other suspected contributing factors include viral infection, adverse drug reactions, stress and chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation (sunlight). Sunlight exacerbates the effects of DLE, which occurs more commonly in summer months and sunny climates.

Prevention of Lupus in Dogs

There is no known way to prevent lupus in dogs. Affected animals should not be bred, because of the role that genetics play in this disease. Owners of dogs at increased risk of developing DLE should consider applying a high SPF, waterproof sunblock to their dogs’ nasal planum (the fairly hairless area on the top of the nose/muzzle) and should keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible.

Special Notes

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a very serious, progressive disease. Discoid lupus erythematosus is considered to be a much more benign, cutaneous (skin) variant of the systemic condition.

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I learned a great deal from this article and I hope that you did too.  I did not know that lupus is the number one auto-immune disease in dogs.   Tell me about lupus in Boston Terriers if you have one in the section below.

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