Dermatomyositis (DMS) is an autoimmune disease of the skin and muscle. Symptoms include skin lesions, hair loss and crusts on the face, ear tips, legs and feet, and the tip of the tail. In some breeds, additional symptoms include muscle wasting, difficulty swallowing, and an unusual gait. Age of onset varies, from as early as 12 weeks to mature dogs.The causes of the disease are multifactorial - a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Tests for this disease determine a number of risk alleles. The combination of the presence of the risk alleles indicate risk only.