Lhasa Apso Skin Problems

Bred as household guard dogs in the Himalayan Mountains, the Lhasa Apso is named for the sacred city of Lhasa. This small dog is alert and longhair. Its coat is heavy and forms a protective shield for the little sentinel dog.


The Lhasa Apso coat is long, dense and requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Matting allows parasites and infection to develop on the skin. Many owners prefer a short puppy-like coat for health and grooming reasons.

Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)

Lhasa Apso dogs with this inherited skin disease have inflamed oil glands. Symptoms are dandruff and greasy, scaly, dark skin. SA requires regular baths and scale removal.


Hereditary SA weakens and inflames skin, making it vulnerable to staph infections. Antibiotics are used for staph control.


Due to its genetic skin problems, the Lhasa is known for severe allergies or dermatitis causing skin rash and itching. Typical solutions include antihistamines, essential fatty acids and aggressive flea control.

SA Test

When the Lhasa has recurring skin problems, a veterinarian performs a simple skin biopsy to confirm whether the dog has sebaceous adenitis. SA is not cured but is treatable.


Sebaceous Adenitis is such a severe skin and coat disease that many dogs, appearing permanently disfigured, bald and diseased, have been euthanized. Today owners and groomers manage the condition with oil baths and hypoallergenic shampoos.

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About the Author

Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.