Symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy is an immune-mediated skin disease of the claw of dogs characterized by separation and sloughing of several claws from claw beds and ultimately affecting all claws.
The pathogenesis of onychodystrophy is incompletely elucidated, but allergic, infectious and immune-mediated diseases have all been associated with symmetrical onychomadesis. The lupoid reaction observed histopathologically and the clinical signs of onychomadesis represent an immune-mediated disease of the claw, rather than an actual triggering event of the disease.
This condition presents primarily as a disease of the claws of affected dogs and most dogs present with pad tenderness and lameness. Initially, separation of claw from claw bed and subsequent sloughing is noted on one or more claws, but within two to three months all claws might be affected. Re-growth results in dystrophic claws, brittle, crumbling and misshapen claws.
Histological features of this condition include bandlike mononuclear infiltrates with interface dermatitis changes, including basal cell hydropic degeneration, degeneration or necrosis of individual keratinocytes in the basal cell layer, and pigmentary incontinence.
Treatment with immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisolone have been successful as well as fatty acid supplementation suggesting an autoimmune aetiology of the disease. In one study, cyclosporine and fish oil appeared to be equally effective in treating symmetrical onychomadesis. There are various sources of omega-3 and omega-6 available commercially such as Paw Dermega.
Some cases require life-long therapy and intermittent relapses are common.
- Grassmere Animal hospital
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