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Nasal Solar Dermatitis in Dogs

nasal solar dermatitis in dogs


Nasal Solar Dermatitis is a congenital photosensitivity disorder that mostly affects breeds such as German Shepherds, Shetland Sheep Dogs, Border Collies, and their mixes. The condition is characterized by an abnormal reaction of the skin to sunlight. The exact cause of the condition has not been established but has been proven to worsen with sunlight exposure.

Two types of nasal solar dermatitis have been established: chronic polymorphic light (through sun exposure) dermatitis of eczema, and dermatitis-inherited abnormalities that disrupt the metabolism of porphyrin (a type of pigment) and endocrine.

Nasal Solar Dermatitis is also known as Collie Nose. Vets may misdiagnose nasal solar dermatitis for nasal dermatitis resulting from conditions such as Pycodermia and Cutaneous Lymphoma.


Affected dogs may exhibit ulcerations, bleeding, tumors, and skin irritations due to inflammation. Nasal solar dermatitis mostly affects the skin, nose, eyelids and adjacent areas, although it is known to spread to the trunk and limbs. Serious cases of ulceration are known to damage the epidermis, dermis, and cartilage.

Nasal solar dermatitis that affects the eyes may spread to periorbital tissues and lead to eyelid infections and conjunctivitis. Affected areas may exhibit signs of peeling, scaling, and bleeding.


Vets will usually request your pet’s medical history, which includes the owner’s observations of the initial symptoms. This will provide vets with a better assessment of the situation to eliminate the possibilities of nasal dermatosis issues. Vets will then proceed with a physical examination, which may include bacterial/fungal cultures, skin scrapings, and other biopsies to confirm the diagnosis.


Topical corticosteroids and lotions are usually prescribed to reduce inflammation. Vets may also provide a course of antibiotics in the case of an infection. Long-term treatments include the supplementation of beta-carotene through synthetic vitamin A analogues. This will help reduce sun damage to the skin. Vets may recommend tattooing non pigmented areas of the skin with black ink to provide improved protection against exposure to the sun.

Estimated Fees

The complete treatment for nasal solar dermatitis costs between $300 to $1,000.Affected dogs are likely to require lifelong treatment to ensure that symptoms are kept under control.

Home Care and Management for Dogs with Nasal Solar Dermatitis

Owners should minimize their pet’s exposure to sunlight, especially during summer when sunlight is most intense. As such, pets should be kept indoors as much as possible. Owners may apply sunscreen once or twice a day as an added protection if they are taking their pets outdoors. However, it is important for owners to ensure that the sunscreen is suitable for non-human use.


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