Poodle skin disease

Written by tracy hodge
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Poodle skin disease
Poodles are genetically predisposed to sebaceous adenitis with hyperkeratosis (standard poodle with ball image by MichMac from Fotolia.com)

Poodles are genetically predisposed to a condition known as sebaceous adenitis with hyperkeratosis or SA. This disease was first diagnosed in the 1960s, and can affect all four colours of Standard poodles. Sebaceous adenitis is also found in the Miniature poodle and Toy poodle. In order for a dog to be born with SA, both parents must carry defective genes for the condition.


Sebaceous adenitis is a hereditary skin disease that can occur in poodles. This condition has also been diagnosed in 33 other dog breeds, as well as in some mixed breeds. SA is an autoimmune disease that cannot be cured, but can be bred away from if the disease is identified. Sebaceous adenitis is a relatively uncommon condition, which is not often seen in the normal veterinary practice. This is one reason owners of poodles with this condition incur hefty veterinarian bills.


The symptoms associated with sebaceous adenitis in dogs may include thickening of the skin, scales, hyperkeratosis (excessive production of dandruff), hair loss and odour. Some poodles that develop SA, may suffer from secondary skin infections due to scratching. According to Poodle Club of America, approximately 4 per cent of Standard poodles show symptoms of SA. In the early stages of SA, poodles may exhibit symptoms of sensitive feet, excessive dandruff and secondary skin infections. Groomers may notice these symptoms before the poodle experiences full-blown SA symptoms.

Risk Factors

Sebaceous adenitis occurs most often in poodles. Dogs with parents that carry the gene for SA, or that have symptoms of the disease, have a higher risk of developing the condition. SA typically occurs later in life, so many dogs that carry the disease may already have produced offspring by the time of diagnosis. It is important to attempt to breed away from the condition to avoid continuing the disease throughout the bloodline.


The diagnosis of sebaceous adenitis may be made by a veterinarian. Most poodles begin to show symptoms of SA between the ages of 18 months and 9 years of age. The diagnosis of SA is made by visual examination of the symptoms.


It is important to treat any secondary infections that may occur with SA in poodles. Antibiotics may be prescribed to accomplish this goal, as well as baby oil baths to remove the scales that may develop on the dog's skin. This may be followed by a baby oil soak to keep the dog's skin healthy, usually every 3 to 4 weeks. Poodles that suffer from SA require more grooming and maintenance than dogs that are not affected by the condition.

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