Ichthyosis in dogs - Symptoms and treatment

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Ichthyosis is a skin disease that consists of a seborrheic process characterized by the appearance of grayish scales on the skin of dogs. Occasionally, secondary infections, blisters, onychogryphosis and hyperkeratosis may appear.

It is a rare disease that affects puppies. Terriers have a greater predisposition to the disease and especially golden retrievers, many of which are carriers of the disease. Keep reading this AnimalWised article to learn more about the Ichthyosis in Dogs, Symptoms and Treatment.

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  1. What is ichthyosis in dogs?
  2. Symptoms of canine ichthyosis
  3. Causes of ichthyosis in dogs
  4. Diagnosis of ichthyosis in dogs
  5. Treatment of ichthyosis in dogs

What is ichthyosis in dogs?

Ichthyosis is a dermatological problem It can affect dogs and much less frequently cats. It is a primary seborrheic disorder that is characterized, mainly, by presenting a large peeling skin and on the pads, especially the soles.

It should be mentioned that it is a rare disease and that it is usually evident from birth, affecting young dogs in their first months of life.

Types of ichthyosis in dogs

Ichthyosis can be of two types:

  • Epidermolytic ichthyosis: appears in the youngest puppies, from birth. Blisters form on the skin.
  • Vulgar ichthyosis: thick and dry scales appear more frequently on the skin. Sometimes it can manifest as very dry skin. It can occur after birth or in the first few months of life.
Image: Veterinariargentina

Symptoms of canine ichthyosis

During the first months of life From the puppy, grayish dandruff begins to shed all over the skin, focused on the abdomen. The skin is also dry and in certain areas darkened, such as the thighs or the belly. Other signs of ichthyosis in dogs are:

  • Thickened skin (specifically, the epidermal granular layer).
  • Skin hyperpigmentation.
  • Pad hyperkeratosis.
  • Hyperkeratosis of the nasal plane.
  • Gray scales on the skin that may accumulate on the skin surface as smaller scales or flake off in large sheets.
  • Foul-smelling seborrhea.
  • Onychogryphosis (great increase in the thickness of the nail plate of the nail, which takes the shape of a hook at different angles and directions).
  • Secondary infections due to the fungus Malassezia.

Causes of ichthyosis in dogs

Ichthyosis in dogs usually has a genetic cause, and it is more frequent in:

  • West highland white terrier.
  • Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
  • Golden retriever.
  • Pinscher.
  • Jack russell terrier.
  • Yorkshire terrier.

The golden retriever are the most predisposed and those that most frequently carry the disease, around a 50% of dogs of this breed in Europe are carriers of this genetic mutation.

A DNA test from a buccal smear identifies those that possess it, to avoid crossing and preventing its transmission to puppies, limiting the spread of the disease in said breed, drunk to a carrier dog, even if it does not show the disease, will pass it half of his offspring.

Diagnosis of ichthyosis in dogs

The diagnosis of canine ichthyosis is based on a dermatological diagnosis and a histological diagnosis by biopsy. In this way, the tests that will be carried out are the following:

  • Cytology: Lesions will be observed and a cytology will be performed for visualization under the microscope. Ichthyosis should be suspected when a young puppy has severe scaling, scabs, seborrhea, and hyperkeratosis; especially the gray scabs. It must be differentiated from other more frequent dermatological diseases of the dog.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy of the lesion must be taken, taking a sample of the affected skin tissue to be sent to the laboratory. Histology will show that we are definitely facing this problem.
  • DNA test: Diagnosis can also be achieved with oral swab DNA tests. As it is a congenital disease, the best way to prevent the disease in the offspring is to avoid the reproduction of carrier dogs, which can easily be achieved through sterilization. In addition, sterilizing your pet will help prevent diseases of the reproductive system, such as tumors, and improve behavior problems or aggressiveness..

Treatment of ichthyosis in dogs

Ichthyosis it has no cure but control so that the dog grows up with a good quality of life. Keep in mind that the treatment is permanent, if left, the lesions reappear. Treatment will consist of the following:

  • Hydration: Due to the great dryness and crusty appearance of the skin, hydration is extremely important, both internally with water and externally with moisturizing topical products to give our dog's skin and hair more shine and softness. The toxic principles with moisturizing properties are glycerin, propylene glycol or urea, for example.
  • Diet rich in fatty acids: omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are key to healthy skin and coat, so they should be consumed in good quantities in dogs with ichthyosis. The diet must be rich in these fatty acids.
  • Special shampoo: they should be bathed with special shampoos for this type of skin and more frequently than in a dog without ichthyosis, at least once a week. Once the bath is finished, moisturizing ointments or creams should be applied.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures: sunburn or extreme cold should be avoided, as these dogs have more sensitive skin and it would worsen the condition.
  • Antibiotics or antifungals: if you have secondary bacterial infections, antibiotics will be used, while if they are due to Malassezia, antifungals such as itraconazole or ketoconazole.
  • Keratolytic agents: if you have developed hyperkeratosis, this overproduction of the stratum corneum should be reduced with keratolytic agents that will take care of ending the excessive production of keratin in this stratum, as well as emollients and moisturizers to soften and soften the skin.

This article is merely informative, at AnimalWised.com we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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