Do you know of any home therapies for Sebaceous Adenitis in dogs?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I have a poodle with a skin disease called sebaceous adenitis. Do you know of any home therapies I can try?


Kathy S. – Boulder, CO


Hi – thanks for your email. There are several therapies used to treat sebaceous adenitis (SA). For readers that don't know about SA – it is a inflammatory skin disease that leads to the destruction of sebaceous glands. It is thought to be genetic in some breeds, especially poodles, Akita and Samoyeds. The exact cause is not known, but it may be caused by an attack of the immune system against the sebaceous glands responsible for the production of sebum (oil) on the skin.

As a result, the skin becomes dry and scaly, loses its hair. Secondary bacterial skin infections may occur.

There are several treatments – including topical and systemic. Generally the treatment is life long to control the disease.

Some dogs benefit form shampoos – especially keratolytic or antibacterial shampoos are helpful in mild cases. 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.

In addition, some systemic therapies include supplementation with fatty acids, evening primrose oil, Eicosapentaenoic acid, and Vitamin A.

Drugs such as retinoids and cyclosporine are used in refractory cases.

An article that might be helpful to you is Sebaceous Adenitis.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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