[From Tufts August 2010 Issue]
My 6-year-old black Labrador has recently been diagnosed with sebaceous adenitis. There is little information about this genetic skin disease and treatment seems to be varied. He is on 20,000 IU of vitamin A, takes Benadryl daily for itching and has twice-weekly medicated baths. He is getting a little better, but is there something else I should be doing?
Sebaceous adenitis is a poorly characterized condition, with very different presentations depending on breed and other factors. It can wax and wane, and various stressors can often make the presentation worse, but is often slowly progressive throughout adulthood. The condition doesn’t often cause itching, so you may want to check with your veterinarian as to whether the diagnosis has been confirmed. A biopsy is required. Sebaceous adenitis is an inflammatory disorder that targets the oil-producing sebaceous glands, so it often results in patches of dry skin with associated loss of fur. Accordingly, the hallmark of treatment is often supplementation with dietary oils, such as omega-3-rich fish oils, and emollient topical therapy to replace the natural oils lost from the disease. The treatment often needs to be quite intensive, and sometimes anti-inflammatory agents need to be used, especially early in the course of the disease. While rarely the condition can go into complete remission, in most cases it requires ongoing treatment for the life of the pet.
Lowell Ackerman, DVM, ACVD