Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus is a complex autoimmune skin disease of dogs, characterized by depigmentation, erythema, scaling, erosions, ulcerations and crusting, particularly on and spreading up the bridge of the nose, and sometimes the face and lips. In this condition, the body creates antibodies against itself.
Two versions of this disorder are seen in dogs, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and discoid (or cutaneous) lupus erythematosus (DLE). Although DLE is more common than SLE, it is thought to be a milder version of SLE. DLE specifically affects skin while SLE can affect any organ of the body.
The disease affects all dogs of all ages but some breeds are more prone to this condition like Collies, German shepherds, Siberian huskies, Shetland sheepdogs, Alaskan malamutes, chow chows, and their crosses.
Depending on where the immune system is attacking the body, symptoms may appear and disappear and vary in intensity. Some of the more common symptoms in DLE condition are
Skin depigmentation (loss of pigment) on the lip and tip of the nose
Formation of erosions and ulcers (following depigmentation)
Loss of tissue and scar formation to fill in the lost tissue
Chronic, fragile lesions (may bleed spontaneously)
Lesions associated with this disease may also involve the outer ear area and more rarely, the feet and genitalia.