Canine seborrhea: Understanding the causes, symptoms and treatment

Shih-Tzu dogs are among those predisposed to developing canine seborrhea (Photo: Pixabay/Sypacc/CreativeCommons)

Dog sebum production affects 10% of routine veterinary dermatological procedures, according to the vet. Patricia Perdomo Vitali, a specialist in dermatology, who works in a large veterinary hospital in Campinas (SP). The disease, in general, is a clinical condition characterized by a change in the production of sebum in the sebaceous glands of the animal’s skin.

There are three classifications of diarrhea that can be observed in dogs: dry, seborrheic and seborrheic dermatitis, or dyskeratosis, explained the vet. Vanessa Gigana specialist in dermatology, which serves a large network of veterinary hospitals.

Dry seborrhea is characterized by dry skin and coat, and dandruff can form on the entire body or in some specific areas of the animal. In the greasy state, on the other hand, we note the increased oiliness of the skin and coat and a large formation of scales that stick to the wires. An unpleasant odor is a characteristic feature of this disease as well. Seborrheic dermatitis is characterized by the formation of a crust and grime accompanied by inflammatory signs on the skin, such as redness and itching,” explains Vanessa.

Main reasons

Inflammatory skin diseases, parasitic infections, cancer, and endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism and diabetes are among the main factors that can cause seborrhea in dogs. But they are not the only factors, nutritional deficiency or excess and environmental factors – such as lack or excess of bathroom and low air unit – also contribute to the problem, as well as a disturbance in the speed of cell renewal.

In general, the normal cycle of skin cell renewal takes about 30 days. When a dog has oily seborrhea, for example, this renewal takes three to five days. It’s like a ‘traffic jam’ happening on the skin. The cells begin to accumulate, forming thick layers, clogging the pores, and there is also a great stimulus for the sebaceous glands to produce more fat,” explains Vanessa.

Diagnosis and treatment

The diagnosis of seborrhea in dogs is based on clinical examinations in which the vet identifies changes in the skin. However, some cases may require other procedures.

Patrícia stated the main tests: “A skin biopsy may be necessary to diagnose the cause of autoimmune diseases, eg, skin cytology to identify infectious agents and doses of hormones to diagnose hypothyroidism.”

According to professionals, some dog breeds are usually affected more than fat dogs, namely: spaniel, springer spaniel, basset hound, sharpie, doberman, irish setter, gordon terrier, schnauzer, german shepherd, west highland white terrier, akita, tekel, labrador , Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Dachshund and English Bulldog. But teachers need not despair, because despite the challenge, the cure is there.

“Generally, it involves using a degreasing shampoo, with it being used weekly or twice a week. These products usually consist of sulfur, tar, selenium sulfide, salicylic acid, etc.,” says Patricia.

Vanessa completed explaining that treatments, at first, usually last four to eight weeks. However, there are cases when the animal must be treated for the rest of its life.

Treating seborrhea in dogs includes bathing with a specific shampoo (Photo: Pixabay/Kengkreingkrai/CreativeCommons)

Treatment for canine seborrhea includes bathing with a specific shampoo (Photo: Pixabay/Kengkreingkrai/CreativeCommons)

Is it possible to prevent?

In general, there is no prevention of canine seborrhea. However, cases related to other health problems can be avoided by maintaining good pet health, taking care of good feeding, frequent bathing and brushing, and regular visits to the vet.

Another essential measure is to monitor the animal carefully and seek veterinary help at the slightest sign of a problem, as untreated canine seborrhea can severely affect a dog’s quality of life.

Canine seborrhea is a disease that develops gradually without treatment. A dog can develop widespread hair loss, changes in the thickness and color of the skin, an extremely foul odor, secondary infections and ear infections. At this point, it is common to scratch a lot, even withdrawing from family life, even because of the smell,” warns Vanessa.

She also adds, referring to early signs of sebum secretion: “Bad smell (the bathroom doesn’t last long), thickening of the skin, excessive oiliness, loss of coat luster, flaking. Specialized care as quickly as possible. Treating a disease of this early size is much simpler than treating chronic diseases “.

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