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Dermatomyositis in Dogs

Dermatomyositis in Dogs

Cost of Treatment: $100 to $225 per month for medication

What is Dermatomyositis

Also called Sheltie skin syndrome, dermatomyositis is a hereditary condition that affects the skin, blood vessels, and muscles. It typically results in skin lesions in puppies before they are 6 months old.

Severe cases can lead to impaired muscle function. The disorder is most common in collies, Shetland sheepdogs, and their crossbreeds.

Symptoms of Dermatomyositis

  • Skin lesions, or patches of skin that don’t match the surrounding areas
  • Inflamed muscles
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Enlarged esophagus
  • Lesions that increase and decrease over time
  • Lesions with crusted areas and loss of the top skin surface
  • Reddening of skin
  • Scaling of skin
  • Accumulation of skin cells, similar to dandruff
  • Hair loss, bald spots

Treatment of Dermatomyositis

While dermatomyositis has no cure, the symptoms can be treated and managed with steroids. Milder cases sometimes clear up without treatment.

Steroids and other prescription medications are covered by many pet insurance plans, and enrolling your dog when he’s still a puppy can help ensure dermatomyositis and other conditions are not considered pre-existing and exempt from coverage.

Return to the Dog Health Problems glossary.


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