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What is Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome?

Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome, also known as Schnauzer Bumps, is a skin disorder which only affects Schnauzers. These bumps are wart-like in appearance or may look like pimples or blackheads. They typically flare up on the back of the dog, mainly down the spine. They are not contagious and are not harmful to the Schnauzer.

These bumps may vary in appearance from dog to dog; some may be pus-filled, some may have slight oozing fluid, and some may not have either.  Black-centered bumps may be apparent in certain cases, and in other cases they may crust over. The Schnauzer’s skin may also be scaly in addition to having the bumps.

The frequency and the severity of the bumps depend on each dog. For certain Schnauzers, the bumps may only appear sporadically or frequently and consistently. They do not harm the dog’s overall health, but can be slightly uncomfortable in some cases. Luckily, there are specific types of shampoos and topical solutions that can help minimize any discomfort. There is no cure for this condition, but it can be controlled with the help of a veterinarian.

Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome in dogs is a genetic condition in which miniature Schnauzers develop bumps on the skin, typically along the back. This condition is not a harmful condition and only affects the appearance of the skin.

Symptoms of Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome in Dogs

Symptoms of Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome will vary from dog to dog, in both appearance and discomfort. Symptoms may include:

  • Black, crusty bumps on the back
  • Raised pimple-like or wart-like spots on the back
  • Hair loss
  • Skin thickening
  • Itchiness
  • Red and irritated patches of skin
  • Possible strong odor

Types

There are several different skin conditions which can occur that may be confused with Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome or have similar characteristics. Differential diagnoses include:

  • Skin allergies
  • Food reactions
  • Flea dermatitis
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Ectoparasites
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Causes of Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome in Dogs

Causes of these bumps are breed-specific. Causes may include:

  • Predisposition
  • Genetics
  • Blocked sebaceous glands
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Diagnosis of Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome in Dogs

If your Schnauzer is showing signs of bumps along his back, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Once you arrive, the veterinarian will take a close look at your dog’s skin. He may then perform preliminary testing, such as blood work, urinalysis and biochemistry profile to check your dog’s overall health. Before he moves on, he may want to rule out any other health conditions.

He will ask questions pertaining to when you first noticed the bumps and the frequency of the flare ups. He may also want to know information about your dog’s environment, sleeping conditions (such as bedding type), and diet. He will also want to be sure your dog gets plenty of water throughout the day due to proper electrolyte content within your dog’s system. Dogs who do not have plenty of water can become dehydrated and can be at risk for scaly skin.

Typically, your veterinarian will be able to come to a diagnosis by visual observation and the knowledge of this condition. The veterinarian may clip a small area of his hair so he can take a closer look at the papules on his back. He may also scrape the skin to retrieve a sample in order for it to be tested. The biopsy will confirm this diagnosis if there is a plug blocking the follicle of the hair and the sebaceous gland. This plug may be filled with sebum and keratin and have a secretion. It will look like a very small cyst.

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Treatment of Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome in Dogs

Once your miniature schnauzer is diagnosed with this condition, your veterinarian will outline several treatment options for your companion. Treatment methods may include:

Antibiotics

If there is a secondary infection due to infected pustules on your dog’s skin, your veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic for 2 to 3 weeks. Your veterinarian will recommend the appropriate antibiotic for your companion.

Topical Medications or Agents

Consistent cleaning using alcohol, antiseptic, or even cleaning pads for people can help dissolve and loosen the comedones. Other topical ointments such as benzoyl peroxide and anti-seborrheic shampoos may also be used. It is important to use only the mildest of shampoos or topical ointments due to the fact that the follicles which are plugged may become inflamed by harsher substances. Your veterinarian may also suggest that you combine several of these topical substances.

Consistent Monitoring

Since there is no cure for this condition, consistent upkeep can help keep the bumps to a minimum. Consistent care and monitoring of your dog’s affected areas may help keep any flare ups from occurring. Your veterinarian may suggest keeping the hair very short in the affected areas and bathing your dog frequently.

Vitamin Supplements

Vitamin A supplements may help control your Schnauzer’s condition. You may want to ask your veterinarian if supplements of 600-800 IU/kg once a day can help. You should not give your dog vitamin supplements without your veterinarian’s consent.

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Recovery of Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome in Dogs

Fortunately, this condition is not harmful to your Schnauzer; it does cause his skin to lack a healthy appearance, but it can be controlled.

If your veterinarian has given you suggestions for maintaining the bumps and preventing flare ups, follow his advice. It is important to not give your dog any medications or holistic treatments without consulting with your veterinarian first. If you do choose to see if any holistic supplements will work for your dog, your veterinarian may be able to recommend some for you.

Your Schnauzer will live a long and happy life with this condition. If it is managed well by you, it will be devoid of any secondary infection or inflammation. It will be important to monitor the bumps and be sure they are cared for with the advice of your veterinarian.

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Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Miniature Schnauzer

dog-age-icon

Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy/Flaky Skin, Scabs, White Spots

I have taken my schnauzer to the vet three times about his skin and they haven’t really looked into what could possibly be causing his skin problems. I finally came across Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome and I want to find out if that could be the issue. He’s been having skin issues since about January and a little hair loss.

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, SO sorry to hear that your dog is having skin issues. Many skin issues can be very frustrating to figure out and treat. Comadones are very similar to blackheads in people. Some dogs are allergic to things that are outside in their environment. Your vet can allergy test your dog to figure out what they are allergic to. Sometimes this is things in their food too. Trying medicated shampoos, Omega fatty acids or conditioners can help her skin. Good Luck.

Aug. 1, 2020

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dog-breed-icon

Schnauzer

dog-age-icon

Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

My dog max has a bump on his chest area. We touch is the bump but it doesn’t seem to hurt him. Should we be worried?

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- There are many different possibilities for a skin growth. Approximately 80% of them are benign and approximately 20% of cutaneous growths are malignant. The percentages are a bit different if the mass is under the skin. It would be best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian, and they can aspirate the mass and let you know if it needs to be surgically removed.

July 25, 2020

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Monty

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Miniature Schnauzer

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Licking Paws
Sudden Urge To Bite Bottom.
Scabs Mainly On Back.

What can I do to stop Monty licking his paws! He licks himself, mainly his paws, but sometimes the insides of his legs, his back and the area where the tail meets the body. After licking, the paws feel hot and look pink and raw. He has numerous scabs on his back, but checking today we have also found some on his face, chest and insides of his legs. Our vet suggests we do “food allergy trials”, but we don’t think that is the cause of the issue, PLUS they will do anything to grab our money. He has had antibiotics a couple months ago which cleared him for about 3 weeks, after which the scabs started appearing again. We have resorted to using a “lampshade” guard on his head to refrain him from licking his paws, but we understand that this is not treating the issue, but only treating the symptoms. Hopefully you have some advice for us.

Aug. 14, 2018

Monty's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Paw licking is commonly associated with food allergies, you should listen to your Veterinarian to explore options to try to see if some of the symptoms may be controlled with diet; a restricted ingredient diet for a few weeks may show an improvement in the desire to lick the paws and the inside of the legs, if there is an improvement you reintroduce ingredients one by one until you see the licking starting up again. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 14, 2018

Monty, I would try an anti-fungal shampoo as well. My schnauzer is currently dealing with a skin yeast overgrowth, which commonly affects the feet, groin area, and where limbs meet the body. It also causes dark splotches on their underbelly.

Sept. 22, 2018

Harley B.


Thank you very much. What about the scabs? I assume he’ll just need antibiotics. Also worth a mention his food he is currently on he has had for at least 4 years. The scabs and licking of paws have only just begun within the last year or so.

Aug. 14, 2018

Monty's Owner

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Kiko

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schnauzer

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11 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Hi everyone, My precious little Kiko has shown some signs of arthritis such as shaky back legs and stiffeness over the past year, we weren't too concerned since it comes with age. She had a fatty tumour removed from her front left shoulder area and the operation was a success. The first few weeks after her recovery, she had her bounciness back, both front legs were perfectly fine and the same stiffness on the back legs. She gradually started to develop a wee limp in her back left leg, so we took her to try acpuncture hoping it might help since many of her friends have gone through the treatment and have helped them greatly. Unfortunately, things went down hill from there. The vet who does acpuncture told us Kiko has arthritis in her back as well but can be managed with a couple of meds options which she would discuss with my vet but didn't.. Kiko had needles on her lower back and a couple in her front left.. After the session, Kiko seemded worse; her back legs were weak amd wobbly, she refused to walk. We thought it might be a reaction to the first session and she would be fine after some rest.. Unfortunately, after afew days of rests, her condition didn't improve and now her front left leg started to limp quite badly. Our vet was suprised to see how lame she was, they examined her left leg/pad, spine and back legs thoroughly but couldn't find anything. We were advised to rest her as much as possible and was given a course of antibiotics and painkiller. It was over a month ago and we went to the vet as her condition didn't improve much, a second vet thoroughly checked her again but equally mystified and they also checked her blood pressure which was fine. We were sent away with a stronger painkiller and told to return within a week if no improvement. Kiko s limp did get a bit better for a few days, then it went back to where we started. I started to video her movements to show the vets , they gave us a new type of painkiller and another 2 weeks of observation. If she does not improve much, then the only thing they can do is an MIR. We are now in week 2 (vet told us to increase dosage if no improvement) and again she has been up and down, no significant change. We have been carrying her up and down the stairs, cold and hot compress, gentle massage, a wrist/leg support thing and small toilet walks only , but her condition still is up and down. We do not want to put her through general anithetic again for the scan, but frustrated with the unknown. I am utterly terrified when one of the vets suggested it might be nuelogical, such as a damaged nerve due to the operation she had. Has anyone out there expienced anything like this?! Please, please help, we are desperate. Thank you ever so much! Yuan

May 31, 2018

Kiko's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Dogs can unfortunately experience joint, muscle and nerve degeneration as they age, and it can be difficult to tell where the problem is coming from. It seems that your veterinarian has tried multiple medications to help Kiko, with minimal response, and it makes sense that an MRI may be the next logical step to find out what is going on with her and if there is any treatment that will help. I hope that she is okay.

May 31, 2018

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Boomer

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Miniature Schnauzer

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4 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Solid Mass Changing Shape

My Four year old miniature schnauzer has a solid mass about the size of a dime that is beginning to change shape slightly. The mass is thick in depth it feels like it only moves if I move his skin. What could this be. Do I need to have a biopsy.

April 29, 2018

Boomer's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Many masses are benign, but some are not. The best way to find out what that mass is would be to either have it removed, or have a biopsy. Your veterinarian can look at the mass, determine what might be going on, and give you recommendations for treatment. I hope that all goes well for Boomer.

April 30, 2018

My 4 year old schnauzer had a small lump about the size of a dime on his back as well. The vet lanced it and stuff came out similar to a human pimple. We’ve had to squeeze the rest of it out over the course of a few days. It was a clogged hair follicle that turned into a boil just like humans can get. This is common for this breed.

May 13, 2018

Juliaa W.

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Desdemona

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Miniature Schnauzer

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Comedo

My S&P female mini had a bald spot develop on her back. (My male sits and licks her often there.) Now the hair has grown back jet black. Is this common? She also has comedo which does not seem to cause her any grief.

dog-name-icon

Desdemona

dog-breed-icon

Miniature Schnauzer

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Comedo

My S&P female mini had a bald spot develop on her back. (My male sits and licks her often there.) Now the hair has grown back jet black. Is this common? She also has comedo which does not seem to cause her any grief.

dog-name-icon

louie

dog-breed-icon

schnauzer

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

He Has Been Bitting By His Tale

he has been bitting alot by his tale we noticed he has redness by his tale and has pulled his hair out cause he has been bitting to much we are trying to figure out what it could be

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Lulu

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mini schnauzer

dog-age-icon

6 Years

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy

My 6 year old mini schnauzer has a lot of bumps, which seem to be infected as some of them have puss. She’s been given antibiotics preciously, and I’m going to have to take her back to the vet for a new cycle of antibiotics. Should i try to change her food? Is there a certain type of protein that she could be allergic to? I’m cutrently giving her Acana “fish” food and bathe her once a week to get some of the scabs off. She’s sensitive to the touch and scratches only occasionally.