Dermatomyositis in Dogs

The skin plays an important role in protecting your dog against injury, illness, and infection. Problems with the skin can affect your dog’s health and quality of life, but fortunately, there are many treatments available to help dogs with dermatomyositis. Let’s take a look at what you could be facing if your dog has this condition.

What is dermatomyositis in dogs?

Dermatomyositis (DM) is a rare inflammatory muscle disease that affects dogs. It is an autoimmune disease, which means your dog’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue instead of fighting disease. While it can be life-threatening, DM is not contagious and usually responds well to treatment.

There are two types of dermatomyositis: one affecting the skin and muscle tissues; and another affecting the muscles alone. The first type may also affect organs like the liver or kidneys, making it more serious for your dog than just having an isolated case of dermatomyositis without additional organ involvement.

Canine dermatomyositis is one of several inflammatory muscle diseases that affects dogs.

Canine dermatomyositis is one of several inflammatory muscle diseases that affects dogs. Other inflammatory muscle diseases include polymyositis, polymyalgia rheumatica and polymyositis/dermatomyositis.

Polymyositis is an inflammatory muscle disease that causes weakness and pain in the muscles of your dog’s body and limbs. The symptoms of canine dermatomyositis include:

  • Muscle stiffness
  • Muscle tenderness or pain when touched (sometimes severe)
  • Muscle twitching

The severity of these symptoms depends on how much damage there has been to your dog’s muscles.

Dermatomyositis in dogs is an autoimmune disease, which means the dog’s own immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues.

Dermatomyositis in dogs is an autoimmune disease, which means the dog’s own immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues. The immune system is supposed to attack foreign cells and substances that enter a dog’s body, but sometimes it gets confused and attacks healthy cells and tissues instead. Autoimmune diseases occur when the animal’s immune system mistakenly identifies its own tissue as a threat, prompting it to attack that tissue with antibodies.

As with other autoimmune diseases, dermatomyositis can affect any organ or tissue in the body. The signs of this condition include skin lesions (rashes), muscle weakness or pain, lymph node enlargement, fatigue (tiredness) due to poor muscle tone/conditioning…

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What are the symptoms of dermatomyositis in dogs?

  • A rash on the skin is the most common symptom of dermatomyositis in dogs.
  • Muscle weakness and difficulty chewing or swallowing food are also common symptoms.
  • Change in eye color (such as from blue to brown) is another common symptom, as is abnormal muscle reflexes.
  • Lack of appetite, lack of energy, lack of thirst and urination are all signs that your dog may be suffering from dermatomyositis

There are many ways dermatomyositis can affect your dog. One of the most obvious is the appearance of a rash on his skin.

One of the most obvious is the appearance of a rash on his skin. This usually shows up as itchy, red scaly patches anywhere on his body and often covers large areas. The rash can be raised or flat, but it’s typically more raised than flat. The most common places for rashes to appear are around the face, ears and belly (which can be very itchy).

Other symptoms include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Fever (can go up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Muscle atrophy (wasting away of muscles)

If your dog has a hard time getting up or moving around, it could be due to muscle weakness.

If your dog has a hard time getting up or moving around, this could be due to muscle weakness. Muscle weakness is a common symptom of dermatomyositis in dogs. If a dog has difficulty walking or even standing on his legs, he may need help moving around the house and will likely require more extensive care.

If your dog is not eating as much as usual and seems to have a hard time swallowing, it could be because his muscles are weak and not working properly. Weakness in the jaw muscles can also cause him to chew food less efficiently and could result in an inability to keep food down for long periods of time before vomiting or regurgitating it back up again because of its poor state after being chewed poorly by the weakened jaw muscles.

Dogs with dermatomyositis may have difficulty chewing their food and swallowing.

In addition to muscle weakness, dogs with dermatomyositis may have difficulty chewing their food and swallowing. This is because the muscles in the throat and esophagus can become weak.

  • Dogs with dermatomyositis may have trouble swallowing. The muscles in the throat that help you swallow are weakened in dogs with this condition, which can lead to choking or gagging on food or water.
  • Dogs with dermatomyositis may have trouble chewing. Similar to swallowing issues, weak jaw muscles can make chewing difficult for your dog if she has dermatomyositis. You may notice that your pet’s teeth seem dull because she isn’t able to chew her food properly anymore—but don’t worry! You can help out by providing soft food once a day (or adding crushed vegetables or other soft foods) until she gets better at eating again.
  • Dogs with dermatomyositis may have trouble breathing while they’re sleeping or resting quietly during the day; they might wake up gasping for air if they sleep on their sides instead of standing up straight like normal dogs do when they fall asleep! If this happens often enough it’ll affect their overall quality of life so make sure you get him checked out right away before anything serious happens here…
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Your veterinarian may notice abnormal muscle reflexes as your dog ages, as well as a change in eye color.

Your veterinarian may notice abnormal muscle reflexes as your dog ages, as well as a change in eye color. A change in eye color can be a sign of something more serious, but it’s important to note that canine dermatomyositis does not directly affect the iris. Instead, it causes an increase in pigment around the pupil and cornea (the clear part of your dog’s eye).

Your vet may also observe changes in your dog’s skin based on where they live. Dogs with no previous health problems can develop symptoms within two weeks of moving from one location to another and then living there for several months without treatment.

What causes canine dermatomyositis?

At this time, the exact cause of dermatomyositis is unknown. It’s a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation to the muscles and skin. It’s not contagious or a life-threatening condition, but it can be stressful for owners as they watch their pet suffer from pain and loss of mobility.

Although there are several theories on how this disease develops, none has been proven as fact—and there is no way to prevent it from developing in your pet.

Certain breeds are more prone to developing canine dermatomyositis than others. Breeds include Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, and other herding or sporting breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters.

Certain breeds are more prone to developing canine dermatomyositis than others. Breeds include Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, and other herding or sporting breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters.

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Other dogs that have been known to develop this disease include German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and West Highland White Terriers (Westies).

Some breeds including Australian Cattle dogs (Blue Heeler), Bulldogs, Dalmatians, Great Danes and Mastiffs are not at risk for developing this disease.

You’ll want to work closely with your veterinarian on finding the best treatment for your dog’s condition.

If your dog’s dermatomyositis is mild, the veterinarian may recommend a medication and/or diet to help reduce symptoms. In more severe cases, treatment may also include supplements, exercise and other forms of therapy. Your veterinarian will work with you to tailor a treatment plan that addresses your dog’s specific needs.

The exact course of treatment for dermatomyositis in dogs isn’t well-defined because it often requires some trial and error before we find what works best for each individual animal. You’ll want to keep an eye on how well your pet responds to the treatments being recommended by their vet and adjust things as needed (for example: if one drug doesn’t work very well for them but another does).

Conclusion

It is important to note that all of these treatments will be long-term and can have serious side effects. Your dog may require multiple medications or ongoing treatment to manage their dermatomyositis. You’ll want to work closely with your veterinarian on finding the best treatment for your dog’s condition. It may take some trial and error before you find the approach that works best for him or her.