What is seborrhea?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I have a 7-year-old schnauzer that is extremely overweight (okay – fat!) and my vet wrote on a exam from that she has "seborrhea". What is that? (I tried to call their office but they were closed so I thought I'd ask you).


Thanks – Barbara – Walla Walla – Washington


Hi Barbara– thanks for your email. Seborrhea is another word for scaling or flaking skin. It can be caused by a variety of underlying problems – from mineral deficiencies, inherited skin problems to low humidity in the winter (causing dry skin). It is often more prominent in dogs that are obese as they can't groom as well as some other breeds,

Miniature schnauzers do get a "Vitamin A responsive dermatosis". This is often treated with antibiotics if there is an underlying skin infection and Vitamin A – often 600 to 800 IU per kilogram of body weight (roughly 300 to 400 IU per pound of body weight) once a day. Some dogs take 10,000 IU total dose per day. There are also a variety of shampoos and conditioners that can be beneficial.

Call your vet when they are opened tomorrow and ask them about her condition if they thought it was severe or if they recommend any therapy.

An article that might be helpful to you is Seborrhea in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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