34 Vasculitis


Vasculitis is not a specific diagnosis, but is usually a manifestation of some underlying disease process. There are many potential causes and this may be reflected in the history. As has been stated before in this book, a detailed history is essential to improve the chances of identifying and correcting the underlying cause.

The history in this case was as follows:


Vasculitis can be associated with a wide variety of clinical signs. Damage to dermal and mucosal vessels results in leakage of contents and infarction. The signs of cutaneous vasculitis reflect this, and include petechiation, ecchymoses, purpura, subcutaneous oedema, scaling, alopecia, erosions, ulceration, necrosis and scarring. There may be substantial areas of necrotic tissue depending on the size of vessel involved. In addition, there are vasculitis syndromes in man and domestic animals involving vasculature of internal organs, and therefore many different systemic clinical signs can arise depending on the organ(s) involved. Clinical signs may also reflect an underlying disease process such as a connective tissue disease, infection or neoplasia. Systemic signs can include fever, anorexia, glomerulonephritis, polyarthropathies, myopathies, retinitis, uveitis, neuropathies, gastrointestinal signs, pancreatitis, epistaxis, and pleural and peritoneal effusions.

The clinical signs in this case were as follows:

There were extensive, full-thickness, punched-out ulcerations with a symmetrical distribution over the caudal dorsum, with malodorous, necrotic debris within the ulcerated areas (Figs 34.1 and 34.2). In addition, there were coalescing, erythematous and scaling macules, patches and plaques over much of the ventrum, extending from the neck to the groin region (Fig. 34.3).


The skin lesions were severe to the point of being life threatening and an aggressive diagnostic approach was indicated. In addition to ruling out demodicosis and performing routine cytology, it was necessary to try and identify a possible underlying cause, including identification of any potential systemic involvement.

The following diagnostic tests were performed:

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Sep 3, 2016 | Posted by in SMALL ANIMAL | Comments Off on Vasculitis

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