Does your adult dog suffer from itchy skin that is characterized by red sores or patches? The cause may be canine Erythema Multiforme or (EM). Canine Erythema Multiform has been associated with a variety of factors and may affect dogs, cats, and even humans!
Unfortunately, the definitive cause of canine EM is not clearly understood. It is believed that EM represents a specific “cytotoxic” immunologic attack by the host (dog, cat or human) on skin cells called keratinocytes that express “non-self antigens” or substances recognized as foreign to the host’s body. The antigens involved are usually bacteria or drugs. Underlying causes of EM may stem from adverse reactions to medications or nutriceuticals such as Glycoflex, tick-borne diseases, skin infections, or even cancer.
Signs of canine EM include: red spots on the animals legs, armpits, mouth, and legs. These red spots may resemble pimples or blisters on the dog’s skin in the affected area. With repeated scratching and / or biting of the area, secondary skin infections are common. When a secondary infection occurs, you may notice crusting or oozing of the open sores.
If you believe your pet suffers from canine Erythema Multiforme see your vet. He or she will thoroughly examine your pet, ask you questions about your pet’s health history, and possibly conduct a biopsy to confirm EM. Treating the condition successfully depends on the ability to treat the root cause of the condition. In some cases, steroids may be given in an effort to treat the skin inflammation; however, some for pets, steroids may exacerbate their condition as these medications sometimes block the body’s natural defense system from working properly.