Sometimes, the cure for collie nose is easy. You just have to consider all the circumstances.
Although it is commonly referred to as collie nose, collies aren’t the only dog breed with this problem. Collie nose is the common name for what was previously called nasal solar dermatitis, but is now usually referred to as discoid lupus erythematosus. (Scottish) collies, Border collies, Australian Sheepdogs, Shetland Sheepdogs, German Shepherd dogs and Siberian Huskies are known to have a tendency for this condition. In the case of GSD, white ones have a higher rate of the disease. Of course, not all dogs of these breeds have problems with discoid lupus.
As the old term nasal solar dermatitis hints at, collie nose results in a severe form of sunburn. In humans, there’s a form of the disease is caused by an autoimmune reaction to chronic exposure to the ultraviolet radiation. In Southern California and other areas where the sun is particularly strong, lesions will form on the dog’s nose.
So a collie who might have been fine in often overcast city such as Portland, Oregon or London, England might suddenly have problems in Los Angeles. The simple solution would then be keeping the dog indoors, especially during the summer.
Recently, one of our dogs seemed to contract collie nose. Yet as he was over a year old, that didn’t seem right. He had already been through a year of Los Angeles sun, including a summer without this problem.
At the beginning, areas around the nose were pink. The younger collie began to scratch and lose fur around these areas. As things progressed, the dog broke the skin with his scratching. The areas become crusty or scabbed over.
We tried the common solution:
- Using a sports sunblock on his nose
- Treating the lesion with an aloe vera gel.
- Using a “flea comb” to separate the scab from the fur.
- Apply Neosporin
- Watch the dog to prevent scratching of the scabs
Because of the scratching and lesion forming, collie nose can be a serious problem. Sometimes the eyelids are also affected. The areas ulcerate and become crusty and scab-like. The lesions can crack and bleed. The lesions can become infected or cause breathing problems. In addition, the lesions can develop into cancer.
Mild cases can often be resolved by simply keeping the dog out of the sun–even on cloudy days. If the sensitivity was caused by a drug, then dog should recover when the drug is withdrawn. If the condition is severe, then medication will be necessary.
We had just changed foods recently and were in the second month of this new food program. We decided to change back to the original diet and this relieved the itching and redness. But we still had to wait until the actual allergic reaction died down.
The sunblock was still necessary because of the skin inflamation. In applying the sunblock, you need to dab, allow it time to absorb and keep your other dogs away. Otherwise, the other dog might lock the sunblock off.
Returning from your walk, applying an aloe vera gel helps sooth the itchiness. But again, you need to apply the ointment, wait and make sure the dog isn’t rubbing it off and make sure the gel has time to absorb and take effect before you allow another dog around. Watch and discourage the other dog from licking your canine patient’s nose. Licking will prevent the healing of the wound.
Using the flea comb, gently attempt to remove parts of the scab that are dry and shedding. The Neosporin helps the new skin to heal.
While an e-collar might help prevent the dog from scratching itself, it won’t prevent the dog from rubbing its nose against something. Because we caught the problem early, we were able to keep our younger dog from scratching his nose. A night, I would allow him to sleep near me and tell him to stop when he began scratching.
If that had not worked. another possibility is a cage or basket muzzle. I prefer a metal basket muzzle because if well-fitted and if they have a pad to protect the point of contact on the nose, they are easier to clean and sturdier. If your dog should, in attempting to scratch the muzzle off, create an open wound on his chin or under his lower jaw, you can simply wrap that part with duct tape.
You might want to limit where you allow your dog to run around with a cage muzzle because they will try to rub it off. That could be damaging to your walls and doors. With a cage muzzle a dog can drink and pant.
As a result of this treatment plan, the younger collie’s nose is now covered with fur without any scarring. One important thing to remember in Southern California is because of the possibility of discoid lupus, caution should be taken if you’re considering giving your collie a summer cut. To a certain extent, their fur protects them from discoid lupus and your common sunburn.