Calcinosis cutis is a mostly non-cancerous calcification of the skin. There are two ways that this condition develops: Through dystrophic causes, where there is an injury to the area in question and through metastatic causes, meaning that calcium is spreading in the blood. The disease causes skin to store calcium, creating red or white lesions on the skin, usually accompanied by hair loss.
Localized Calcinosis Cutis
This condition is represented by calcium granules growing in only one area of the skin. This is often caused by an injury to the area, resulting in overproduction of calcium in the skin's cells. This form of the disease is typically treated through surgically cutting out the calcium granules from the skin. The success rate depends on the general health of the dog, the size of the diseased area and how much of it is removed through surgery.
Generalized Calcinosis Cutis
This form is caused by other diseases in the dog, some of which may have no treatment. Skeletal diseases, for example, as well as diseases of the blood or metabolism. The diseases that can be treated often require up to a year to cure, and generalized calcinosis cutis often clears itself up naturally in that same length of time. This form, depending on the seriousness of the underlying conditions, can be left untreated for this reason.
Metastatic Calcinosis Cutis
This form of the disease has no beneficial therapy except for surgical removal, as the extra calcium in the body has spread throughout the body via the bloodstream, according to the book "Small Animal Dermatology," by George H. Muller, Robert W. Kirk and Danny W. Scott. Becker Animal Hospital and Pet Resort explains that when calcium tumors appear on a dog's skin they are removed, wherever they grow. When one is removed, another pops up somewhere else, so just as with the generalized form of the disease, the underlying condition must be treated in order to get the calcium tumors to stop forming on the skin.
Common and Rare Causes of Metastatic Calcinosis Cutis in Dogs
Metastatic calcinosis cutis is most commonly caused by the over-production of adrenal hormones, or steroids. This can be caused by cancer of the adrenal glands or cancer of the pituitary gland, which controls how the adrenals function. More uncommon causes include malignant tumors, that can cause abnormal hormone levels. These levels increase the levels of calcium in the blood. Diabetes mellitus, lung disease and kidney disease are also rare but possible causes of calcinosis cutis, Becker Animal Hospital and Pet Resort asserts.
- Dogstuff.info: Calcinosis Cutis, Calcium Circumscripta, Canine Gout
- Becker Animal Hospital and Pet Resort: Calcium Deposits in the Skin (Calcinosis)
- The University of Sydney – Centre for Veterinary Education: Calcinosis Cutis
- Small Animal Dermatology; George H. Muller; Robert W. Kirk; Danny W. Scott; January 1989
- Dean Golja/Photodisc/Getty Images