The skin abnormalities in familial vasculopathy are due to an inherited disorder of the blood vessels. The condition has been reported in 3 breeds of dogs.
Greyhound - mode of inheritance unknown. German shepherd - mode of inheritance believed to be autosomal recessive. Scottish terrier - mode of inheritance probably autosomal dominant.
Greyhound: Skin lesions appear in dogs aged from 6 months to 5 years. Initially there is swelling and tenderness over the knee, ankle, and inner thigh. This progresses to deep ulcers. Occasionally the front legs are also affected and some dogs develop kidney problems as well. The lesions result from blockage of small blood vessels.
German shepherd: The condition is first seen in young puppies of about 6 to 8 weeks of age, often within a week or so after their first vaccination. Pups are feverish and lethargic with swollen lymph nodes, joints, and feet. The nose becomes swollen and crusted and there are ulcerated areas on the ears and tip of tail.
Dogs usually recover by 6 months of age although the footpads remain soft. Fever and lethargy can reoccur with each subsequent vaccination. (This is presumed to be a disorder of immune responsiveness.)
Scottish terrier: In the few litters in which this condition has been seen, there was extensive ulceration of the nose associated with inflammation of blood vessels. The parents were withdrawn from the breeding programme and no further cases were reported.
The diagnosis is made through a skin biopsy. This is a simple procedure done with local anesthetic, in which your veterinarian removes a small sample of your dog's skin for examination by a veterinary pathologist. The biopsy will show abnormalities in the blood vessels consistent with this condition.
There is no specific treatment. The lesions usually heal with routine wound care, leaving some scarring.
Affected dogs, their parents and siblings should bot be used for breeding, even if the lesions heal completely.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS DISORDER, PLEASE SEE YOUR VETERINARIAN.
Scott, D.W., Miller, W.H., Griffin, C.E. 1995. Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology. p. 793 W.B. Saunders Co., Toronto.