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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience with having pets with an Autoimmune Disease (possibly Lupus) or Diabetes?

I have an 8 yr old Border Collie/mix, Bailey, who I recently took to the vet for having a large sore/scab on the skin on his snout, an ear infection, and something going on with his eye. The vet suggested that he may have an Autoimmune Disease (possibly Lupus), but would need to do a biopsy of his nose to know for sure. The biopsy, anesthesia, etc, would cost $500, and I couldn't afford it at the time, as I'm a 21 year old poor college student. So I opted to treat his ear and attempt to clear up his nose and eye, paying $300 for medications and such. He goes back to the vet in two days. I've researched and found that Bailey could have Discoid Lupus. I know he might have to be put on steroids, which I'd hate to do because I believe it may shorten their lifespan and are hard on the body. Are there any safe alternatives to treat Discoid Lupus in particular?

Buddy, my 14 year old Miniature Schnauzer, I am planning on taking to the vet soon also. He is a very active, happy, great dog, especially for his age. However, I've noticed the amount of water he's been drinking has GREATLY increased, as well as urination. He has accidents in the house if I'm not constantly letting him out to use the bathroom. I'm making an assumption that he might have diabetes. I'm wondering if daily insulin injection prices are outrageous?

I'm very worried for both of my dog's health, and also about the finances that might come along with the health issues. I want to make them as comfortable as possible. I've had Buddy since I was 8 or 9, and Bailey since I was 13. So I obviously am very attached, having grown up with them. They're like my children, and I'm so so upset knowing that they're ill :(

I would love to hear from anyone who has had a dog with either Lupus, an Autoimmune Disease, or Diabetes! Or anyone with some words of encouragement...I'm so sad and worried about my stinkers! I know my vet will know best, but I would really like to hear of any experiences with these ailments. Thanks!!
 

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I'm really sorry to hear about the health problems with your dog.
I don't know about lupus in animals but I do know about lupus in humans. I have it. I do know you cannot diagnos lupus with a biopsy. It's a genetic blood disease. It is an autoimmune disorder. There isn't a tumor or 'bad cells' or whatever that you can test to determine if it's lupus. Lupus can, sometimes, be diagnosed by a blood test but this is not always accurate. Lupus is usually determined after tests rule out other possibilities along with the symptoms displayed. The best way to battle lupus is to keep the immune system strong through proper diet, exercise, etc. There are a lot of other problems that stem from lupus such as RA, kidney and heart disease, to name only some. Again, the best way to battle these things are to do what is best to curb the symptoms of them. With RA you have to keep the weight at a healthy to lean number along with regular exercise and calcium supplement. For the heart; exercise and proper diet. Make sure there is lots of fluid intake to keep the kidneys flushed and working good.
Doctors will usually want to prescribe steroids for lupus. Before you decide to accept that I strongly suggest you read the side effects first. They can sometimes be worse than the disease.
There is no cure for lupus, only treatments for the symptoms. I hope you poor puppy doesn't have it. If it does turn out that way please research treatments before accepting what the vet says. If you have more questions later about lupus please ask. I've studied lupus in depth since being diagnosed in 1990. I have no doubt the research I did has saved my life. No, I am not a doctor but I have done my homework.

Jihad
and the pound puppy crew.
 

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I do know you cannot diagnos lupus with a biopsy. It's a genetic blood disease. It is an autoimmune disorder. There isn't a tumor or 'bad cells' or whatever that you can test to determine if it's lupus.
You may want to do a bit more research....Discoid Lupus is absolutely diagnosed with a biopsy of the affected skin.

Krit...I have 2 girls with Lupus. What did they put your boy on? How bad is his nose? Do you have a photo of it by chance? Are his lips affected or just his nose at this point?

We are controling these two without steroids. It would have been quicker and easier to use them but like you I'm determined to try to manage it without them. We have used topical steroids on their noses but never anything more than that, no oral or injectable. Between diet, supplements and keeping them out of the sun we're having very good success. One is a collie and one is a GSD.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for the replies! I'm sorry your dogs are suffering from this as well, Moonshadow, but it's nice to talk to someone who can relate and provide some info! Bailey is half Border-Collie (I don't know what the father was).

The Discoid Lupus seems to only be affecting Bailey's nose and left eye. It has not affected his lips at all. The vet put him on Cefpodoxime Proxetil for about a week and a half, and she gave me Relifor topical spray for his nose, and Cortisone ointment for his eye - both of which I'm still using. She said that I can just get refills of these as necessary. She also told me to give him Vitamin E tablets daily. I'm not exactly sure how advanced his nose is right now, but here are some pictures.

This is how his nose looked when the symptoms first began. As you can see, it was just one scab, which did begin to spread into a larger one, but I don't have a picture of it.


This is how it looked the day of his vet appointment (his scab had fallen off while at the vet).


And this is how it looks now, after almost two weeks of treatment.



The nose seems noticeably better, and is no longer bleeding or developing a scab. However, since he has no pigmentation there, the vet said he shouldn't be outside in the sun for long periods of time because of risks of skin cancer. His eye is completely better.

So Moonshadow, do you think if I just continue to treat symptoms as they appear, that will suffice in treating this disease? Do you give your dogs Vitamin E for this disease?
 

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Hi,

Simplicef is a good antibiotic for skin infections (that's the brand name of Cefpodoxime Proxetil)...you're giving it once daily right? I'm assuming that the vet thought there was an infection on the nose? Or with the skin around the eye? Simplicef is a great antibiotic but it's not what you usually use for Lupus....not at all familar with the spray you are using. Is it a gentamicin spray? Should say ingredients on the bottle....is gentamicin sulfate anywhere on there? That's the only thing I can think that it would be.

Your dog doesn't look all that bad. His nose is almost exactly what our GSD looked like. Her's was only on the top like his and she's completely cleared up, black nose again and is taking nothing medication wise....but I do think that in my two the food I have them on is making a huge difference. My collie's nose was MUCH worse when she came here in July. It was the top and inside the nose, her lips were a mess too. She's almost back to normal. She still has some pink speckles on the nose but going from Rudolph to speckles....we're doing good!

There are supplemets that we are using and like I said I've seen huge improvement with diet and also some different medications. I really don't like to suggest medications on here but I'll PM you with my email address and email me if you want and I'll give you particulars of what we've found that worked and talk to your vet and see if she'll go along with it.

My opinion....I would think you could definately manage him without going the steroid route. I've seen much worse cases that have come back and been fine without them.
 

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Krit - the insulin is not expensive about $30-$40 a bottle. The excessive drinking and urination is obviously an indicator that something is wrong. Have you scheduled a vet appointment?
 

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On the older dog- Diabetes can cause lots more drinking/urination. So can Cushings. Cushings can also cause increased appetite, heavy panting, thyroid #'s to be off. Left untreated Cushings can cause eye problems, heart problems, immune sys problems. Diabetes can also cause the same.

Bloodwork, and telling the vet the symptoms (excessive drinking/urination) will help your vet diagnose it correctly.
 

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Kidney disorder may also be involved with the older dog - as for the potential Lupus, listen to everything Moonshadow has to say. She's obviously dealt with the issue long-term and has intimate knowledge about the disease, it's progression and ways to stimulate the body's immune system to control the problem on its own. Note, however, that not all dogs respond the same, and some cases do progress despite even the best natural treatments and do require some steroid therapy. In that case, I would suggest doing bloodwork to determine her immune status and look into possible low-dose steroid supplementation rather than full-blown steroid treatment.

Of course, all of this should be done under veterinary supervision. :)

Moonshadow - Lupus is one of the few diseases I DON'T have a long-term history with. Do you mind if I add you to my contact list on the chance we end up dealing with a case? We do special needs rescue and try to treat everyone the natural route first whenever possible - it helps immensely to have a mentor when dealing with an unfamiliar disease. :)
 
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