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Dermatomyositis in Dogs… Which Breeds are at risk? And Treatment Costs.

Suppose you’re like us and hate to see any animal in pain or discomfort; even the slightest case of Dermatomyositis is unacceptable! This is why, in this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss precisely what Dermatomyositis is and what you can do to help your dog manage the symptoms that are associated with this disease. This way, you can be sure you’re doing everything possible to ensure your pet is healthy and happy. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Dermatomyositis Defined

Like many “medical terms,” Dermatomyositis is a “mouthful.” This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet like to first “take apart” some of these more complex medical terms and examine their “components” to understand better what a veterinarian is saying when using words like…


Dermatomyositis is “broken down” into simpler “chunks.”

The suffix “itis” means inflammation, and “derma” means to do with the skin. Hence, Dermatomyositis in dogs is an inflammatory skin disease. But that’s not all because myositis means inflammation specifically of the muscle, so it also affects a dog’s muscles and blood vessels. It just happens to be a hereditary disease, which is more likely to affect specific dog breeds. Which then begs the question…

Dogs at Risk of Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is in a vasculopathy disease group known as ischemic dermatopathies, genetically linked to certain dog breeds. Now, if your dog belongs to one of the “affected” species, this does not mean that they will automatically develop Dermatomyositis; it just means they may be at an increased risk of developing this condition. In most cases, your dog will develop the state relatively early in life, so you won’t need to wait long if your dog is going to create Dermatomyositis.

Breeds at risk include:

It can also happen in any dog that is mixed with any of these breeds as well. So, for example, a Collie mixed with another dog breed might have inherited Dermatomyositis (only their chances of developing this condition would be less than a purebred Collie).

Clinical Signs of Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis in dogs can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some dogs will get apparent skin lesions, while others may only experience muscle atrophy. Another common clinical sign is a problem of an enlarged esophagus. Most of the time, however, dermatomyositis problems occur most intensely around a dog’s face. They may have pain from the skin lesions in the eyes, cheeks, ears, and mouth. They may also feel pain or weakness in the facial muscles, aka the muscles of mastication (chewing or biting).

Dermatomyositis is…

Also, a skin disease and muscle disease that flares up and retracts, so sometimes your dog may be in a lot of pain, but other times it may be manageable. This is because, at its “core,” Dermatomyositis is an immune-mediated disease (IMID) whose severity can “fluctuate” depending on the strength and health of the patient’s immune system at any given moment. This means that if your dog gets another sickness, it’s likely that a flare-up will occur.

Other signs and symptoms include:

  • A stiff gait.
  • Facial muscle problems.
  • Toenail/ claw problems (they may even fall out).
  • Ulcers on footpads.
  • Mouth ulcers.

When does Dermatomyositis Appear?

You will usually know if a dog has it before the puppy becomes fully grown. Now, suppose you have a breed that is at risk. In that case, you’ll want to ask the dog’s breeder if they have any family medical history indicating that they may be at an increased risk for developing Dermatomyositis.

This also…

We here at IndulgeYourPet always recommend that you only adopt a dog (of any breed) after you’ve had the opportunity to “meet” their parents. This is why you can avoid many issues if it turns out that those parents aren’t 100% healthy.

Diagnosing Dermatomyositis

If you suspect your dog has Dermatomyositis, then the first thing you should do is take them to the vet’s clinic for a proper diagnosis. A doctor will most likely perform a skin biopsy to diagnose the disease. The doctor may also try to evaluate muscle atrophy. We usually remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you think your dog may suffer from Dermatomyositis (or any other medical condition), immediately take them to a professional! O,r as we like to say…

“When in doubt, have a vet check it out!”

It could not only save your dog a lot of pain and suffering, but it could also save you a lot of money in the long run!

Treatment Options

Once a vet has diagnosed your dog, they will provide a treatment plan. This “treatment plan” usually includes a combination of pentoxifylline, a drug to help with muscle pain, and prednisone, which can help with the skin. Your veterinarian may…

Also, recommend your dog take vitamin E, known to be good for the skin, and several “special” shampoos and creams to alleviate pain, some of which may be “over the counter” products while others may require prescription.

Cost of Treatment

The cost of treatment really will depend on how severe of breakouts your dog has and how often. You are almost guaranteed to spend at least $100 monthly on medications to treat your dog’s condition. Also, simply diagnosing this condition can be rather expensive as well. In some cases, it could even run close to $500.00!

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet always recommend that anyone with a pet that would qualify for a pet insurance policy at least take a moment and see the cost.

For more information about who we “feel” is currently offering some of the “best” pet insurance policies, check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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