Border Collie with Cracked and Bleeding Nose
Answered by: Kerry Hackett
Question from: Kellie Grey
Posted on: February 26, 2007

I have a border collie mix, approx 4 years of age. (Not sure of age, as he is adopted.) I’ve had him for about three years. Has never had what I considered to be a "healthy-looking" nose. Topical ointments, of course. don’t help much. Nose gets very scaly, there’s loss of pigment, and the nose cracks and bleeds. Dog shows no other noticeable symptoms. Vet has him currently on 5mg of prednisolone daily. Nose is somewhat better in that it has stopped bleeding. On this medication and dosage for two weeks now. Vet has suggested lupus or canine nose dermatitis as possible cause, and has ndicated dog may need to be on low level of drug indefinitely. He is basically an indoor dog, though loves to run up and down the fenced yard perimeter to check on the neighborhood action, often until he is exhausted. The border collie, I know, is typically an extremely active dog. The type of weather does not appear to make much difference, though we are in Michigan and it is now cold here. He is fed a commercial pet food -- dry chunks mixed with a bit of canned -- once daily, and appetite is excellent. Should I be adding something supplemental to his diet that could help him in that manner?

As an extremely active, intellegent dog, your Border Collie is using up all of his available nutrition and more. You might want to consider switching him over to a good, homemade diet in order to meet his dietary needs which should, in turn improve the integrity of his skin (and nose) as the external appearance of any creature is dictated by their internal health. Resources to help with this change would be: Richard Pitcairn’s, "Natural Health for Dogs and Cats", "The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat" by Juliette de Bairacli Levy and "The Barf Diet" by Ian Billinghurst. You also may want to pick up some Calendula flowers from your local health food shop and make a strong tea of them: one handful flowers to two cups of boiling water. Let steep until lukewarm (covered) and then strain. Dip a clean cotton cloth into the tea and apply it to your dog’s nose for as long as he will let you several times a day. Should you wish to investigate the possibility of Lupus or Canine Nose Dermatitis further, I would suggest you seek a consultation with a qualified practitioner found through the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association (

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