Sasha the Rough Collie
Sasha the Rough Collie

Well, we love our vet, they are amazing. First off they say no way Sasha’s nose became the way it is because she rubbed it against a fence.  She has something going on that we need to figure out.

She has kennel cough, so that will be treated first and she’s on antibiotics for a week. She also has infection in her mouth that hopefully that will help.

She’s going to have her teeth cleaned on the 23rd, and at that time our vet will do a biopsy of the skin on her nose, around her eyes, and on her ears, as she has crusting and scabbing in all those areas.  The vet said it could be one of three things. The first two are not too bad, the third thing is nasty. I’m going to read about each as I post this so I’m learning as we go.

Dermatomyositis

The first thing she could have, and the vet thinks this is the most likely thing, is Dermatomyositis.  I found three informational websites about this…

University Link
Icon Collies
Dog Patch

From the University Link:

This condition is one of inflammation (itis) of the skin (dermato) and muscle (myo) that is seen in young collies and Shetland sheepdogs. There appears to be a defect in the immune system that predisposes dogs to this disorder. The skin lesions typically develop first with variable muscle problems occurring later. There are many similarities to dermatomyositis in people.

Ulcerative dermatosis may be a variant of this condition. It is a rare disorder that occurs in middle-aged to older dogs of the same breeds, and is manifest by skin lesions (blisters, crusting) that are seen primarily in the groin and underarm regions. Occasionally there are muscle abnormalities.

So, I guess this is treatable and can make her more comfortable, but there is no cure for it. And since others can write about these things better than me, I’ll leave it at that!

The second thing it could be is

Lupus

From Pet-Medicine.com:

Discoid lupus in dogs is an autoimmune condition that results in discoloration of the nose. In rare cases, it can also affect other areas of the skin. Professionals have yet to find a specific cause for this problem, but genetics may play a role due to the fact that certain breeds as more affected than others. Some of these breeds include Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, and Collie.

Symptoms

As you already know, this condition begins as loss of pigment around the nose. As the disease gets worse, your dog may develop scaling of nasal tissue and sores. The nose’s surface may also become smooth instead of having it’s normal cobblestoned texture. These sores aren’t bothersome to some dogs, but others are very bothered by them.

So, I guess Lupus is manageable too.. I am not really familiar with Lupus in humans or in dogs, so I’ll probably read up a bit more on it too. Though actually, until we know what it really is, there’s no sense worrying myself eh? 🙂

The third thing, which the vet says is very nasty, is:

Pemphigus

Autoimmune Disease Suite 101 has some interesting, easy to read information.

I also found information on this in the following sources… and I’ll quote the Akita Club, since it’s easiest to understand. This is from the middle of the page. If you read starting at the beginning it kinda describes how the skin works.

Symptoms of Pemphigus Complex

Pemphigus is a disease that results when the body’s immune defenses attack its own skin. Something interferes with the recognition process and treats the skin as if it were a foreign substance. Actually, Pemphigus is a complex of diseases differentiated by the skin layer which is attacked. It is found across many species, including humans, cats, dogs, and horses.

The most severe form is Pemphigus Vulgaris. The attachment of the basal and prickle cell layers is attacked. Fluid filled blisters called vesicles form and eventually break open, resulting in painful ulcerated sore. These are most common in areas where normal skin meets specialized skin, like the skin of the lips, nose, eyes, pads, nails, as well as the mucosal skin of the mouth.

Pemphigus Erythematosus is similar but involves the outer skin layer or stratum corneum. It looks like a mild case of Pemphigus Foliaceus and may be more prevalent in collies. The ulcerated sores are usually restricted to the facial area and are very similar to those found in discoid lupus. Indeed, some researchers feel they are related in some fashion.

So… these are all diseases that collies can be prone too. Bleh. Treatment might include steroids. And I don’t know, really, if she has any of these, what her quality of life might be, or length of life. If she has something that makes her unadoptable, then we will, of course, just keep her. I think we need to name her Seven of Six.

Hopefully we will be able to place her. Maybe with an understanding family who will love her no matter what she has. We would, of course. She is very lovable, her face melted my heart the first time I saw her… scabby nose or not!