A New Year and a New Puppy or Kitten?
Cutaneous Vasculitis is a term used to describe the inflammation of the walls of blood vessels as a result of an immune system abnormality. In this factsheet, we go over everything you need to know about Cutaneous Vasculitis, including what causes it, symptoms of the condition, how we diagnose it, and how it is treated.
Which Pets are at Risk of Cutaneous Vasculitis?
For most of the known causes of Cutaneous Vasculitis, development can be random, related to medical conditions, or can be genetic. In these cases, the following dog breeds are at particular risk of developing Cutaneous Vasculitis:
Causes of Cutaneous Vasculitis
It is often unknown what specifically triggers Cutaneous Vasculitis in pets, however it is thought to be the result of an abnormal immune system response where there is a rapid increase in white blood cells which results in inflammation to the walls of the small blood vessels of the skin which in turn blocks the blood flow to tissue.
- Adverse reactions to drugs, vaccines, and other medications
- Abnormal tissue growth
- Allergies (often food allergies)
- Parasites and tick borne diseases
Cutaneous Vasculitis Diagnosis
Vets will often be able to suspect Cutaneous Vasculitis based on an animal’s medical history and a thorough examination, however a formal diagnosis can only be obtained with a skin biopsy taken from carefully selected areas of the skin. Pathologies can sometimes have difficulty in reaching a diagnosis with Cutaneous Vasculitis as the characteristic signs of the condition can be very subtle, therefore it is imperative that vets select these biopsy site(s) carefully.
Cutaneous Vasculitis Treatment Options
Once diagnosed, it’s helpful for treatment and management purposes if the underlying cause is identified and corrected. However, this is sometimes not enough to correct the abnormal immune system response and medication may be required to reduce this response.
In cases where a cause cannot be identified, life-long medication will be required to control the condition. However, the severity of the condition and its symptoms will determine which drugs are prescribed; in milder cases anti-inflammatories may be recommended, but in more severe cases , stronger immunosuppressant drugs may be required to get a handle on the condition.
That being said, the prognosis for Cutaneous Vasculitis is typically very good once causes have been corrected, or once medication has started to control the condition.