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Discoid Lupus Erythematosus AKA Collie Nose

GUEST POST written by our friend Darin Dell of the Animal Dermatology Clinic in Indianapolis – thanks, doc!

Collie Nose

Collie Nose

Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is a rare condition that typically affects a dog’s nose. In most cases, the first sign of DLE is a loss of the normal nasal pigment. The nose may become grey or white in color.  Over time, the nose can become red and/or scaly. In severe cases the nose may even crack or ulcerate.

Collie Nose affects more than just Collies!

DLE is more common in certain breeds; specifically, Collies, Shetland sheep dogs, German shepherd dogs, Siberian Huskies, and Brittany spaniels. This explains the common layman’s term “Collie nose”.

The condition does appear to be aggravated, but not caused, by sun exposure. Advanced cases can have lesions at sites other than the nose, including around the eyes and on the ears. A skin biopsy is required to definitively diagnose DLE and rule out other, more aggressive, conditions.

Discoid Lupus Erythematosus AKA Collie Nose is a benign skin condition of dogs

Fortunately, DLE is generally a benign condition. DLE progresses slowly and is not related to any internal disease. Treatment for DLE varies based on the severity of the lesions. Mild cases may be treated topically with anti-inflammatory ointments whereas severe cases may need oral immuno-modulatory therapy.

The prognosis for DLE in dogs is generally good. Treatment is required life-long but the condition does not affect the life-span of the dog. Early diagnosis and treatment, before cracking and ulcerations develop, typically yield a better long term outcome.

  • jana rade

    Thank you for the information! I am particularly interested in the treatment options in severe cases. What would the immuno-modulatory therapy be?

    • Darin Dell, DVM

      Oral immuno-modulatory therapy might include steroids (like prednisone), cyclosporine, azathioprine, chlorambucil, or two of these drugs used together.  The goal is to use as little oral therapy as possible to maintain patient comfort.  Because these medications affect the immune system, regular monitoring via physical examinations and blood tests are necessary.     

      • jana rade

         Thank you for your response. Yes, those are the ones I figure might be (some of them, anyway).

        So those are the IgM antibodies that are involved in DLE?

  • Noura

    I thank you also for the information! I do believe this is what my dog has and plan to go for a biopsy this week. 6 weeks of Clavamox has not touched it & it now seems worse. I hope it’s not too late to manage his care for this. My sweet baby dog!

  • muzzy

    Our collie came down with Collie nose when we were in the process of moving from Minnesota to Arkansas. Our vet thought maybe it was the sun. We tried all kinds of creams but eventually put him on prednisone. It would calm the collie nose down but eventually its use went to Bailey getting “hot spots” that we had a tough time curing and eventually diabetes which is what ended his life after 3 years of fighting Type I DM. We tried so very hard to solve all of his problems but one problem just seemed to lead to another. It would be really great if there was a way to test dogs to see if they have an inclination to auto immune diseases. He was such a patient soul and the day we lost him, he perked up from a really bad surgery, trying to cure a wound that never healed, sat up and looked at us. He barked once, then was gone. Such a sweet boy. It really needs to be worked on to find a cure.

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