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How To Treat A Dog with Discoid Lupus

Updated on December 12, 2011

Does your Dog have Lupus?

Canine Discoid Lupus is a mild form of lupus that affects dogs in their eyes, nose, and, in worse case scenarios, their genitals. It is always best to get a vet’s diagnosis and recommendations before diagnosing or treating yourself. However, I’ve found that the following tips have worked well for my dog along with my vet’s excellent advice.

Prevention is Key

The most primary treatment proves the old adage correct. Prevention is always better than a cure. When dealing with a compromised immune system of any sort, it is so much easier to treat early symptoms rather than later. If you have a dog breed, such as a German Shorthair Pointer, that tends to have the genetic tendency, look out for the signs early on. In the early stages, it is good to imagine what human chapped lips would look like on a canine nose. Look for a nose that is dry and rough and has a cobblestone texture. Also look out for overly redness or cuts that simply won’t heal correctly. Severe onsets of the disease are more obvious. The dog can have a swelling of the nose, pealing around the nostril, a discoloration of the skin and sever ulcers. The most severe forms have flipped nostrils and sever ulcers and scabs around the eyes.

So How Do I Treat it?

Once you have determined that your dog has discoid lupus, there are a few different methods of treatment. I had to start my dog out on a prescription steroid cream twice a day, because we did not get a correct diagnosis early on. It is expensive, but well worth the money. Once is major ulcers started healing, we were able to switch over to an over the counter diaper ointment cream. It took awhile to find one that did not have zinc in it, since zinc is toxic to dogs. Ingredients change often, so always read the labels, even with a familiar product.

Vitamins Are For The Dogs

I also immediately started him on a regimen of fish oil and vitamin E on recommendation from my vet. Originally I had the liquid oil, but it was too messy, so I switched to two 1200 mg caplets of fish oil and one 400 IU of Vitamen E a day. I smothered them in peanut butter to ease his suspicious mind. But he soon found he liked the taste of the fish oil, and he eats all three like candy now. The vitamins are supposed to boost his immune system and help fight the lupus from within.

Suncreen is for the Dogs

Also, for any dog with lupus, sun protection is a must. The sun causes an allergic reaction in canines with the disease, and even an unprotected twenty minutes can cause a minor flare up. In the summer I try to keep him indoors between 10:00 and 4:00 p.m. He has gotten into a rhythm and does not seem to mind the activity later in the evening. I am a little more lenient in the winter. But whenever he goes outside and it is sunny, he gets a good spray of sunscreenabout fifteen minutes ahead of time.

When looking for sunscreen, you have to remember once again to look for one that does not contain zinc, or zinc oxide. I have tried all different kinds of sunscreen with him, including dog sunscreen, and have only found one that he does not immediately lick off. It was a happy day when we found Aveeno’s Continuous Protections Sunblock Spray for humans. It is lightweight enough that an immediate distraction makes him forget all about licking his snout. I use an SPF of 70 in the summer, but a 50 SPF works well enough for the winter.

Moisturize Those Rough Spots

And finally, the last magical ingredient that has made our life so much easier is a product that is found in the cooking aisle of all places. Coconut oil has a natural antiseptic quality and moisturizes all at once, working double duty on a scuffy nose. A little bit goes a long ways, and you can just rub it on gently over soars and rough skin alike, once or twice a day. Even though my dog is not to fond of having his sensitive snout rubbed, he likes the taste and lets me rub his lips in it, which also have recently begun to get a little chapped. I have abandoned the diaper ointment in favor of the coconut oil, because the results are so similar, and I prefer the cheaper and natural alternative.

So even though my dog has never completely healed from his lupus, with this daily regimen, we have managed to keep his flairs to a minimum, and he gets three extra treats a day. Not so bad from a dog’s point of view!


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    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 6 years ago from Indiana

      Very interesting. I had never heard of sunscreen for dogs but it does make sense that can be susceptible to skin cancer too!

      Welcome to hubpages!