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ABSTRACT: Three young Shar-Pei dogs were presented for signs of an acute widespread dermatopathy associated with fever and malaise. Cutaneous lesions initially consisted of multifocal areas of skin discolouration (haemorrhagic papules, macules or plaques) or oedema, preferentially affecting the head and limbs. In some locations, pus-filled bullae were evident also. Cutaneous lesions exuded seropurulent liquid and, in time, usually progressed to full thickness necrosis and ulceration. Lesions were so widespread and severe that one of the dogs was euthanased because its owners could not afford the reconstructive surgery required to close the skin deficits left at the completion of otherwise successful therapy. Histological examination of representative biopsies showed neutrophilic dermatitis and vasculitis, which ultimately resulted in ischaemic necrosis of skin. Therapy with immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids, and in one case cyclophosphamide, resulted in prompt amelioration of the underlying inflammatory process, although regions of skin deprived of their blood supply eventually became necrotic and sloughed. Healing occurred through granulation, contraction and epithelialisation. The physical findings in these three dogs were so similar that it is likely all suffered from the same breed-related syndrome, an immune-mediated vasculitis precipitated by some event, such as vaccination or an undetected infection. Whatever the inciting cause, it was most likely a one-off event, as the two surviving dogs were readily weaned off immunosuppressive medication without relapse.
Australian Veterinary Journal 05/2002; 80(4):200-6. · 0.92 Impact Factor