This is a skin & connective tissue condition.


What is Ichthyosis?

Ichthyosis is derived from the Greek root “ichthy,” meaning fish, and was so named due to the visible scales on the skin. Affected dogs may develop generalized severe greyish scales, mild redness of the skin, less hair than normal, and specific areas of hair loss. Dogs may also have blackheads on their belly. Some dogs develop secondary bacterial skin infections that may make diagnosis difficult and contribute to itching.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

Affected dogs typically have large, greasy flakes of dandruff but aren't itchy. The scales of skin can get so thick that they can crack and cause fissures, leading to considerable discomfort.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

As puppies, affected dogs can show signs of scaling. This disease tends to worsen with age.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Examining the characteristic lesions is the first step in diagnosing Ichthyosis. Confirmatory genetic testing and/or skin biopsies can also be performed.

How is this condition treated?

There is no definitive treatment for Ichthyosis: typically, ichthyotic dogs are maintained on the continuous treatment of mild anti-dandruff shampoos and moisturizing rinses. This is a chronic and frustrating condition to manage.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

  • Following your veterinarian's advice on skin care and nutrition is the best way to manage Ichthyosis.
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