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