Cause of Canine Lupus
The exact causes of lupus are not known, but it is thought that the disease has a strong genetic component. Other suspected contributing factors include viral infection, adverse drug reactions, stress and chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation (sunlight). Sunlight exacerbates the effects of DLE, which occurs more commonly in summer months and sunny climates.
There is no known way to prevent lupus in dogs. Affected animals should not be bred, because of the role that genetics play in this disease. Owners of dogs at increased risk of developing DLE should consider applying a high SPF, waterproof sunblock to their dogs’ nasal planum (the fairly hairless area on the top of the nose/muzzle) and should keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a very serious, progressive disease. Discoid lupus erythematosus is considered to be a much more benign, cutaneous (skin) variant of the systemic condition.