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Skin Disorders



Alopecia: This term means simply the absence of hair. Alopecia can be focal, patchy or generalized in distribution. Certain diseases cause characteristic alopecia patterns.
Biopsy: When a small section of a tumor or organ is removed for microscopic analysis.
Dermatitis: Inflammation or disease of the skin.
Folliculitis is an infection or pyoderma within the hair follicles.
Mange: Group of parasitic diseases caused by mites, which are microscopic skin parasites diagnosed by skin scrapings.
Skin scraping: This is a diagnostic test for mites performed with a scalpel blade scraping across the skin and then examined microscopically.
Nodules: raised solid lesions coming from the skin surface.
Pruritus: This term is commonly used by veterinarians to define itchiness, chewing, scratching, or biting by the animal at a particular site or sites.
Pustules: These are collections of pus within the skin and are typical with bacterial infections.
Scales: these are accumulations of loose fragments of skin on the surface of the skin. Typical scales are referred to as dandruff.

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Canine Seborrhea
Dr. Stephen M. Sheldon

There are two types of seborrhea: oily (oleosa) and dry (sicca). Most dogs suffer from a combination of the two forms. The skin is usually dry and scaly and the scales form clusters around the hair. The overactive sebaceous glands in the skin secrete a greasy, waxy substance that collects on the belly, under the armpits, and in the ears, elbows, and ankle area. However, any part of the coat can be involved. It's this fat-laden greasy accumulation that causes the distinctive "doggy odor." Secondary ear and skin infections are very common with seborrhea. Most dogs are also very itchy.
There are many causes of seborrhea including metabolic disorders (hypothyroidism, Cushings disease or hyperadrenocorticism, dietary deficiencies, malabsorption, maldigestion, pancreatic diseases), internal parasites, external parasites (fleas, ticks, lice), hypersensitivities (food allergy, inhaled allergies, flea allergies), ringworm infections, and some autoimmune diseases. Some dogs such as Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, West Highland Terriers, Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, Dachshunds, and Shar-Peis have seborrhea without an underlying cause. This is called idiopathic seborrhea and usually starts to rear its ugly head before 2 years of age; this form is not thought to be hereditary. Unfortunately, for Miniature Schnauzers, a specific form of idiopathic seborrhea called Scnauzer Comedo Syndrome is inherited.

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Etiology, Clinical Findings, and Diagnosis:
from the Merck Vet. Manuel

Primary seborrhea is an inherited skin disorder characterized by faulty keratinization or cornification of the epidermis, hair follicle epithelium, or claws. It is seen more frequently in American Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, Basset Hounds, West Highland White Terriers, Dachshunds, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherd dogs. There is usually a familial history of seborrhea, suggesting genetic factors are involved. The disease begins at a young age (usually <18-24 mo) and progresses throughout the dog?s life. A diagnosis of generalized primary idiopathic seborrhea should be reserved for dogs in which all possible underlying causes of seborrhea have been ruled out.
Most seborrheic dogs have secondary seborrhea, in which a primary underlying disease predisposes to excessive scale, crusting, or oiliness, often accompanied by superficial pyoderma, Malassezia infection, and alopecia. The most common underlying causes are endocrinopathies and allergies. The goal is to identify and treat any underlying cause of the seborrhea. Palliative therapies that do not compromise the diagnostic evaluation should be instituted concurrently to provide as much immediate relief as possible for the dog.

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