Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs - Page 4

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Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs

By: Dr. Rosanna Marsalla

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Treatment In-depth

Treatments include anti-seborrheic shampoos, emollients, essential fatty acids, antibiotics for the secondary bacterial folliculitis, and retinoids.

Topical therapy:

  • Keratolytic shampoos are helpful in mild cases. The most commonly used include a combination of sulfur and salycilic acid. Alternately, antibacterial products like benzoyl peroxide in combination with sulfur (OxyDex) may be beneficial.

  • Topical propylene glycol (50 to 75 percent) diluted with water is also effective to decrease the scaling. It is used as a spray once or twice daily.

  • Soaks with baby oil have also been reported to help in severely affected dogs. Dogs need to be shampooed several times to remove the oil from the skin.

    Systemic Therapy:

  • Essential fatty acids at high doses.

  • Evening primrose oil at 500 mg twice daily orally.

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid at 180 mg per 10 pounds of body weight daily orally.

  • Vitamin A administration at 10,000 IU orally once daily has also been helpful to some dogs.

  • Retinoids (isotretinoin [Accutane®] or acitretin [Soriatane®]) is often used in refractory cases, due to their ability of modulating epidermal growth and differentiation. Retinoids should be given for a minimum of two months. Outcome cannot be predicted on the basis of clinical signs or histologic findings and a prognosis cannot be determined on the basis of whether sebaceous glands are evident histologically.

    Toxicity in animals seems to be less severe than in humans. Adverse effects include: vomiting, diarrhea, erythema, keratoconjunctivitis and stiffness.

  • Isotretinoin (Accutane®) has been reported to be very successful in Vizlas with sebaceous adenitis. Isotretinoin has marked sebostatic activity. It decreases the proliferation of basal sebocytes and it suppresses sebum (oil) production. Other retinoids have been reported to be only moderately successful.

  • Cyclosporines (Sandimmune/Atopica) have been used in a few cases with good success. In some dogs, good clinical response is observed in spite of absence of sebaceous glands histologically. Although cyclosporine has immunosuppressive properties (strong inhibitory effect on lymphocyte proliferation), this drug also has inhibitory effects of keratinocyte proliferation, which may be beneficial in some cases. Adverse effects include: vomiting, diarrhea, gingival hyperplasia, kidney toxicity, liver toxicity and increased incidence of bacterial infections.

  • Systemic antibiotics may be necessary for four to six weeks.


    This condition is genetic and can be prevented by identifying affected animals and carriers and eliminating these animals from the breeding program.

    This is a lifelong condition, thus chronic maintenance therapy (both topical and systemic) is necessary.

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