Sores and Lameness in a Dog: Is there a Connection between Star’s Mysterious Lameness and Skin Issues?

Star’s mom went to search for answers when Star came down with some mysterious problems.

It all started with Star having pain in her legs and difficulty getting around. The initial suspect was hip dysplasia but that was ruled out.

Sores and Lameness in a Dog: Is there a Connection between Star's Mysterious Lameness and Skin Issues?

Then Star’s face broke out with nasty, painful sores.

In spite of all attempts for diagnosis, all results came back negative, For everything. But Star was not well. Along with difficulties with her legs and the skin sores, she was running a fever and had difficulty swallowing.

The question also remained whether there was a connection between all these problems. My thinking is that when various, seemingly unrelated problems crop up at the same time–look for a common thread.

What be causing all these problems and not showing on any tests?

An autoimmune disease was a high suspect. Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (SLE), for example, could account for all the things.

The symptoms of SLE include

  • lameness
  • lethargy
  • changes in appetite
  • skin ulceration
  • and fever

The test for that is Anti-nuclear Antibody (ANA)–antibodies that attack the components of the body’s own cell nuclei–the control center in each cell. And it was negative.

Things like pemphigus would only cause lameness if the lesions involved foot pads.

What could be the diagnosis that would explain Star’s constellation of symptoms?

The latest verdict of Star’s veterinarians was canine herpesvirus; two different strains. This infection is best known in puppies. Star is an adult dog. In adult dogs, there would either be no signs of the virus present, or the virus would likely affect the upper respiratory tract, eyes, or reproductive organs.

Is this virus behaving differently in Star? Or is the virus present but something else, not yet discovered, is causing Star’s issues?

Could it be that the virus is behaving similarly to chickenpox that can cause shingles later in life? There is plenty of pain to go with that–I had shingles a few years ago.

Could it be that Star’s case is so unique or are her veterinarians missing something?

Related articles:
Common Dog Misdiagnoses: Skin Issues

Further reading:
Autoimmune Skin Disease in Dogs

Categories: ConditionsLamenessReal-life StoriesSkin lesionsSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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