PetMD Seal

Systemic Autoimmune Disease in Dogs

4 min read



Hospitalization may be necessary for the initial management of SLE, especially if your dog is in a state of hemolytic (red blood cell destruction) crisis. However, outpatient management is often possible if the condition is not severe. The kind of care and the level of care will vary by which systems are being affected.


For at home treatment, you will need to enforce rest, especially during episodes of severe pain in the joints. You might consider cage rest for a short time, until your dog can safely move about again without overexertion. You may also need to avoid bright sunlight, which may require scheduling your dog's meal routine so that trips outdoors can be taken in the late afternoon/early evening. If the kidneys are being affected, your veterinarian will recommend a kidney specific protein-restricted diet.


There are a number of medications that can be used for treating SLE, such as immunosuppressive drugs for decreasing the immune system response, and corticosteroids for reducing inflammation in the lymph nodes. Your veterinarian will prescribe the medications required to treat the specific form the disease is taking in your dog.




Do not breed affected animals, as SLE is known to be hereditary in some breeds.


Living and Management


This is a progressive and unpredictable disease. Long-term, immunosuppressive therapy will be required. The treatments frequently have side effects that you will need to deal with as your dog's caretaker. Also, your veterinarian will want to see your dog weekly, at least initially, to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment and to watch for severe side effects.



Related Articles

Protein Deposits in the Body in Dogs

Amyloidosis is a condition in which a waxy translucent substance – consisting primarily of protein – deposits in a dog's organs and tissues,...

Liver Failure (Acute) in Dogs

Acute hepatic failure, or acute liver failure in dogs, is a condition characterized by the sudden loss of 70 percent or more of the liver's function...

Antibiotic-resistant Bacterial Infections in Dogs

L-form bacteria are formed as a spontaneous variant of bacteria with defective or absent cell walls, or when cell wall synthesis is inhibited...

Protein Deposits in Liver (Amyloidosis) in Dogs

Hepatic amyloidosis is the deposition of amyloid in the liver. The accumulation of amyloid often occurs secondary to an underlying inflammatory...