Dog hair is a typical companion in households with animals and depending on the season it is sometimes more and sometimes less. Scaly skin and severe hair loss, including the roots, are clear alarm signs that something is wrong with your darling. It can be the rare skin disease sebadenitis. You can find out what exactly is behind this and what the therapy options look like here.
Dog Sebadenitis: Inflammation of the Sebaceous Glands
Sebadenitis is an inflammatory skin condition that can occur in both dogs and cats. To be precise, it is an inflammation and destruction of the sebum glands of the skin. These are important because they produce sebum, which forms a protective and fatty layer over the skin and prevents the skin from drying out. In sebadenitis, the important sebum glands become inflamed and are irreversibly destroyed in the course of the disease. The skin dries out, is susceptible to external stress, and is calloused.
The fur falls out in clumps, including the roots, so that the skin is completely exposed. The course of this rare skin disease is intermittent and fluctuating. Sometimes it takes months for a sick dog to have a new flare-up. Until then, the skin “rests” before it gets worse again. The life expectancy of a dog with sebadenitis does not change with the disease. However, sebadenitis is not curable, so that the fur nose has to struggle with the consequences and effects for a lifetime. Treatment, therefore, does not treat the cause, but the symptoms. For this reason, the therapy is lifelong.
Sebadenitis: causes of the disease not known
A cause is not known. Therefore, sebadenitis in dogs is one of the so-called idiopathic diseases. It is known that the immune system of animals attacks the sebum glands. Until they are destroyed so that they are no longer able to produce new sebum. Because of this, experts believe that sebadenitis is an autoimmune disease. In the case of an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks the body’s own substances because it considers them to be foreign bodies.
Sebadenitis: symptoms in the dog
- You can see the first visual features in the head area of affected dogs. The adhesions and deposits in the auricle are often mistaken for mite infestation. The loss of fur on the back is also noticeable relatively quickly. As the disease progresses, symptoms appear all over the body.
- A very common symptom is the dark adhesions on the hair roots. They consist of flakes of skin and usually lie on the floor after failure. They clearly indicate the disease.
- The dog’s skin is very dry and flaky. This makes it vulnerable because it lacks the protective layer of fat. Because of this, the skin is more susceptible to bacteria and fungi. If an infection develops, as a result, it is often accompanied by itching and an unpleasant odor. In addition, other diseases can develop in this way, as unprotected skin is an optimal breeding ground.
- The fur also becomes completely dry, breaks off in some places, or falls out completely with roots.
- Blisters and pustules may appear on the skin as the disease progresses.
Contagion and incidence of the disease
According to some experts, this disease is said to be hereditary and therefore genetic. So far, this has only been proven in poodles, but suspicions in other breeds cannot be ruled out. The disease occurs in all dog breeds and mixed breeds. However, there are certain breeds that are more likely to get the disease than others. Sebadenitis often occurs in standard poodles, Akita Inu, Chow-Chow, Samoyed, English Springer Spaniel, and Vizsla. In general, four-legged friends are affected in their middle years of life.
Therapy and Homeopathy for Relief
Therapy for a dog with the incurable disease sebadenitis varies greatly. The destroyed sebum glands can neither be repaired nor restored by drug treatment or surgery. The only option left is the lifelong treatment for permanent symptom relief. The therapies aim to slow down inflammatory reactions. In addition, artificial ways are being sought to reconstruct the protective and fat layer on the skin to some extent. The following measures are available for this:
- Therapy with shampoo only helps with diseases that have not progressed that far. Keratin dissolving agents, which are promising in the early phase of the disease, is recommended. The shampoo loosens the skin flakes and crusts to promote the build-up of healthy skin flakes.
- Proper care is very important for sebadenitis. In addition to shampoos, moisturizing products like sprays are a great way to keep the skin from drying out.
- To build up the protective layer of fat again, it can be helpful to bathe your four-legged friend in oil. Baby, olive, or calendula oils can be used, mixed with water in a 50:50 ratio. The mixture is massaged all over the dog’s body. Two hours of exposure are sufficient so that it can be rinsed off afterward.
- Changing the diet is also a good measure. The dog thus consumes the essential fatty acids in the form of nutritional supplements. Nevertheless, foods that strengthen the immune system are fundamentally important.
- Veterinarians often treat the disease with drugs. In addition to an initial course of antibiotics, vitamins and fatty acids are often given.
It is also important that the four-legged friend is not exposed to any stress. This means that the flare-ups of the disease can intensify and progress more quickly.