Dog skin disorder seborrheic dermatitis , what you should know

Seborrheic Dermatitis is a dog skin disorder in which the outer layer of the skin and hair follicles are over productive. The disorder starts on the areas of the dog where the oil glands are the largest – including the scalp, face, and behind the ears. Caused by yeast called pityrosporum ovale, the signs are an inflamed scalp, greasy or waxy skin, and red skin rashes. At first, the symptoms can be similar to that of dandruff, but they will progress gradually to include additional symptoms.

How does a dog get Seborrheic Dermatitis?

Seborrheic Dermatitis comes in two forms – primary and secondary. Primary Seborrheic Dermatitis is inherited through a recessive trait. A dog with this condition may begin to show signs as young as 10 weeks of age, however they will be very subtle. It is usually between the ages of 12 to 18 months that dogs with primary Seborrheic Dermatitis begin to show clear symptoms.

Secondary Seborrheic Dermatitis is typically seen in older dogs. Secondary infections are either the result of bacteria or yeast. These infections look the same as primary infections but are a reaction to an outside source rather than an inherited trait.

How is it diagnosed?

Many of the symptoms of both primary and secondary Seborrheic Dermatitis are similar to many other common dog skin conditions. If your dog displays any of these signs, it is very important to visit a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will take a small skin biopsy to be sure that your dog has Seborrheic Dermatitis and not a more serious skin condition.

How do I treat it?

Primary Seborrheic Dermatitis requires treatment for the dog’s entire life. There is no cause for the condition, but it can be controlled through the use of shampoos and moisturizers. Malaseb shampoo has proven to be an effective shampoo for the treatment and control of this skin condition. It can be used on dogs as well as on cats and horses. The shampoo should initially be used two or three times a week. As the severity of the condition lessens, then the frequency of use can be lessened. In order for the shampoo to be effective, it is also necessary to make sure that it stays on the skin for 10 to 15 minutes before being rinsed off.

After using the shampoo, use a moisturizer or an after-bath rinse to help retain the moisture and natural oils in your dog’s skin. Even during treatment, be sure to carefully watch your dog’s skin. It is possible for the condition to worsen during treatment. If this occurs, be sure to see your veterinarian right away to determine a better healing method for your dog.