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The inflammation of the body blood vessels begins when leukocytes accumulate around a blood vessel wall. A combination of hypersensitive reactions occurs, leading to necrosis, followed by thrombosis and hemorrhaging. The extent of the vasculitis can range from mild to severe and it is best to seek treatment as soon as possible. In some cases, the disease can be fatal.
Inflammation of the body blood vessels in dogs, otherwise known as systemic vasculitis, is a disease brought on by a number of infectious agents, including parasites, or a local inflammation spreading throughout the body.
Vasculitis most often is the inflammation of the blood vessels in the ears, tail, lips, and paws. In other words, it will affect a canine's extremities most often. However, it can affect the organs as well. The most obvious signs of the disease include:
German shepherds often get familial cutaneous vasculopathy, while Jack Russell Terriers are affected by neutrophilic leukoclastic vasculitis and Dachshunds by ear margin vasculitis/seborrhea.
Diagnosis basically boils down to pinpointing which blood vessels have been affected in terms of number, size and type of blood vessel. In addition, veterinarians will look for signs of thrombosis, ischemia and infarction.
There are many ways that your canine may get an inflammation of the blood vessels. Most often, the disease is brought on by an infectious agent, however, it could be the result of a parasite infestation. In addition, other causes could be as follows.
When you bring your dog to the veterinarian, a physical examination will be the first step to diagnosis. The veterinary team will perform blood tests including complete blood count, blood chemistry and urinalysis. Blood tests could reveal anemia, leukocytosis (increase in white blood cells), neutrophilia (high number of neutrophil granulocytes) and hypoalbuminemia (low blood albumin). The veterinarian will want to analyze the cells within the vessels to look for damage and necrosis, and also to determine the cause for the inflammatory issues inside the blood vessels.
Once your veterinarian has run the appropriate tests, labs and biopsies, he or she will decide on the treatment. What you need to understand that there is not a cure-all approach to treatment and a large part of the decision making will be accounted for by the underlying cause of the condition.
Corticosteroids and medications that will reduce the inflammation in the cells will be prescribed. The length of treatment could be extensive, depending on the amount of inflammation present, and the response to therapy. Necrosis of the blood vessels is always a factor to be considered in therapy.
In the case of allergy or drug reaction, the offending element will be removed and the response to the elimination monitored. Antibiotics will be prescribed for infection. If there is an underlying cause, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, treatment for the cause will improve your pet’s condition.
Regular monitoring of your dog’s recovery and continued health will be necessary for the next weeks to months. Follow the instructions of your veterinarian to the letter, and attend all follow up appointments as needed. Your veterinarian may decide to repeat blood tests to confirm that the prescribed treatment is the best choice. With medications that may suppress the immune system, there could be side effects which will be discussed by your veterinary caregiver.
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They 12 years old terrier mix has a problem with her ear edges. She has just a couple of flat 'wart' type growths and one small hard 'ball' like lump on her lower hear near her neck. My vet did biopsies on the original growth but they did not give any diagnosis. However, he feels she has vasculitis and is prescribing pentoxifylline. She does not have any other issues on her abdomen, paw pads etc (her tail was docked before I adopted her 9 years ago. She is a poor eater and I am concerned that this medication, which causes nausea as one of it main side effects, will make her worse. I am also concerned about giving her drugs she may not require. Is there anything else that could cause these symptoms with her ears? Should I have her allergy tested? I want to do what is best for her.
July 26, 2017
It is difficult to think of what may be causing the flat ‘wart’ type lesions on Millie’s ear edges when a biopsy has come back inconclusive. Usually lesions on the ear are caused by vasculitis, immune-mediated disease or cancer; the treatment would be dependent on the underlying cause of the condition. Pentoxifylline is used to increase blood circulation, but it may be beneficial to give a glucocorticoid to see if that would help the condition. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
July 26, 2017
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