Cutaneous Vasculitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

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Cutaneous vasculitis in dogs is an inflammation of the walls of the blood vessels due to an abnormal immune system response, which results in skin conditions. The inflammation is the result of a proliferation of white blood cells, though the cause is unknown in about half of cases of cutaneous vasculitis in dogs. The other half of cases can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, infections, and some forms of cancer. Usually cutaneous vasculitis affects only the skin, but internal organs may also be affected in some cases. If you see the signs of cutaneous vasculitis in your dog, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Here is what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for cutaneous vasculitis in dogs.

Symptoms Of Cutaneous Vasculitis In Dogs

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The symptoms of cutaneous vasculitis in dogs are visible on the skin. Usually these symptoms appear on the tips of the ears, the nose, the lips, the tail, the elbows, the inside of the mouth, or on the paws. If you see the following signs of cutaneous vasculitis in your dog, contact your veterinarian.

  • Red or purple spots
  • Crusting of the skin
  • Fluid-filled vesicles
  • Bruising
  • Hair loss
  • Black heads
  • Pain at the affected site
  • Achiness
  • Edema (swollen limbs)
  • Itchiness
  • Ulcers on the skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Causes Of Cutaneous Vasculitis In Dogs

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The cause of cutaneous vasculitis in dogs is unknown in about half of cases. This is referred to as idiopathic cutaneous vasculitis. The main cause of the symptoms is an abnormal immune system response, which can happen for a number of reasons. Here are several conditions that can cause the immune system abnormalities that lead to cutaneous vasculitis in dogs.

  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Internal cancer
  • Reaction to vaccine (often the rabies vaccine)
  • Food allergies
  • Tick-borne illnesses

Some dog breeds are more predisposed to developing cutaneous vasculitis. These include Chinese Shar Peis, Collies, Dachshunds, German Shepherd Dogs, Greyhounds, Jack Russell Terriers, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, and Shetland Sheepdogs. Some breeds are more prone to developing the condition due to a reaction from vaccination, including Maltese Terriers, Poodles, Silky Terriers, and Yorkshire Terriers.

Treatments For Cutaneous Vasculitis In Dogs

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Treatment for cutaneous vasculitis in dogs usually depends on the underlying cause of the condition. For example, if infection is suspected, antibiotics may be prescribed to help fight off the infectious bacteria. If food allergies are the cause, dietary changes will be prescribed.

Most cases of cutaneous vasculitis in dogs must be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressive medications to control the abnormal immune response. The types of medication depend on the severity of the skin condition and whether or not internal organs have been affected. When the underlying cause of the condition can’t be found or treated, medication may need to be given for the rest of the dogs’ lives.

Has your dog ever suffered from cutaneous vasculitis? How was it treated? Let us know in the comments below!