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Integument

This is a Skin & Connective Tissues condition.

Ichthyosis, Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis

What is Ichthyosis, Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis?

This skin disorder gets its name from the thick, darkly pigmented scales of skin ("ichthys" is Greek for "fish") that affected dogs display on their noses, paw pads, and muzzles. Over time these scales can get so thick that they can crack and cause fissures, leading to considerable discomfort. Ichthyotic dogs also typically have large, greasy flakes of dandruff, but unlike dogs with dry skin, they aren’t itchy. There is no definitive treatment for ichthyosis: typically, ichthyotic dogs are maintained on a continuous treatment of mild anti-dandruff shampoos and moisturizing rinses.

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

Ichthyotic 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 a 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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