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

If you’re like us and hate to see any animal in pain or discomfort, even the slightest case of dermatomyositis is totally unacceptable!

Which is why…

In this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly 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 that you’re doing everything that you can to ensure that you pet is health and happy life.  So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Dermatomyositis defined.

Like many “medical terms” dermatomyositis is a certainly 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” so that we can get a better idea of what exactly a veterinarian is saying when the use words like…


Dermatomyositis “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 as well.

Which just happens…

To be a hereditary disease, which means that it’s more likely to affect specific dog breeds.  Which then begs the question…

“Is your dog at risk?”

Dogs at risk of dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is in a vasculopathic disease group known as ischemic dermatopathies which has been shown to be genetically linked to certain dog breeds.


If you’re dog belong to of the “affected” breeds, this does not mean that he or she will automatically develop dermatomyositis, it just means that he or she may be at an increased risk of developing this condition.

And in most cases…

Your dog will develop the condition relatively early in life so, you won’t need to wait long if your dog is going to develop 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 consider less than a purebred Collie).

Clinical Signs of Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis in dogs can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some dogs will get skin lesions that are quite obvious while others will may only experience muscle atrophy. Another common clinical sign is a problem of an enlarged esophagus.

Much of the time…

However, dermatomyositis problems occur most intensely around a dog’s face. He or she may have pain from the skin lesions in the eyes, cheeks, ears and/or mouth. He or she may also feel pain or weakness in the face 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 it’s “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.

Which 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, if you have a breed that is at risk, you’ll definitely wan to ask the breeder of the dog if he or she has any family medical history indicating that he or she may be at an increased risk for developing dermatomyositis.

This also…

Why we here at IndulgeYourPet always recommend that you only adopt a dog (of any breed) after you’ve had the opportunity to “meet” his or her parents.  This way you can avoid a lot of 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 him or her to the vet’s clinic for a proper diagnosis. In order to diagnose the disease, a doctor will most likely perform a biopsy of the skin. The doctor may also try to evaluate muscle atrophy.

Now this is when…

We usually like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or even medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who are really passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you think your dog may be suffering from dermatomyositis (or any other medical condition for that matter), take him or her to a professional right away!  Or 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, it could also save you a whole lot of money in the long run!

Treatment of Dermatomyositis

Once your dog has been diagnosed by a vet, he or she will provide a treatment plan. This “treatment plan” will usually includes a combination of pentoxifylline, which is 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, which is known to be good for the skin as well as recommended several “special” shampoos and creams to alleviate pain some of which may be “over the counter” products while others may require a prescription.

Cost of Treatment

The cost of treatment really will depend on how severe of breakouts your dog has and how often. It’s almost guaranteed that you will spend at least $100 a month on medications to treat your dogs condition.


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 that has a pet that would qualify for a pet insurance policy at least take a moment and see what the cost would be.

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

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