Sebaceous Adenitis Average Cost

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Average Cost


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What are Sebaceous Adenitis?

When affected by SA, changes in your dog’s appearance will typically begin at the head and neck, and continue down the back. SA may create what is best described as a “moth-eaten” appearance. Some dogs lose hair only in patches somewhere on the body, such as on back of tail, inner thighs, legs, sides, or on the back, while others experience a complete loss in areas such as the underbelly.  Visible symptoms include scaly and crusty skin, excessive dandruff and sometimes lesions. Hair will progressively thin as the glands continually malfunction. Your dog’s skin will become itchy and give off a musky odor. While the disease does not predominate in one sex over the other, it does favor by breed. SA appears most often in Standard Poodles, Akitas and Samoyeds, but has appeared in most varieties of dog. Ages of documented cases range from as young as 1 year to as old as 12. 

There are two primary types of SA, one occurring in long-coated animals, and the other in short-coated breeds. Symptoms vary by breed and type, making SA a diagnostic challenge. Many dogs are initially diagnosed with hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalance or with a food or environmental allergy. The only way to confirm an SA diagnosis is through a skin biopsy performed by a veterinarian.

Sebaceous adenitis (SA) is a hereditary skin disease leading to hair loss (alopecia) and changes in your dog’s coat texture and color. SA is most often found in the Standard Poodle, Akita and Samoyed breeds.

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Symptoms of Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs

Long haired breeds

  • Hair loss (alopecia)
  • Musty odor, especially along hairline
  • Clumps of waxy matted hair
  • Coat changes (more coarse, brittle and dull)
  • Intense itching and scratching (primarily with bacterial or yeast infection)
  • Silver-white scales on skin
  • Clusters of lesions that form on the head or body
  • Bacterial infection at the hair follicle
  • Scabs and sores
  • Hot spots

Short-haired breeds

  • Hair loss (often in circular patterns)
  • Mild scaling along the head, trunk and ears
  • Bacterial infection at the follicle (less common among short-hair breeds)

Secondary, non-dermatologic symptoms apply only if there is a bacterial or yeast infection. These symptoms may include fever, lethargy and extreme itching.

Causes of Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs

The sebaceous glands of the skin produce a fatty substance that maintains the moisture of the skin and also helps to control some immune functions. Sebaceous adenitis (SA) is a rare hereditary skin disease in which a dog’s sebaceous glands malfunction, often leading to substantial hair loss (alopecia) and changes in the coat’s texture and color.  While a relief that sebaceous adenitis is a rare condition, those affected suffer not only from the hair loss and skin changes, but often tolerate yeast infections and bacterial infections secondary to the condition. Since there is no cure for SA, ongoing care (such as regular bathing) will be needed. Without care, the skin may become infected, necessitating an antibiotic or steroid medication.

Diagnosis of Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs

If you notice that your companion’s hair coat is undergoing changes, such as patchy or complete hair loss, skin irritation in the form of scales, lesions, and dandruff a veterinary visit is essential. Your veterinarian will want to rule out possible underlying causes that may present the same way but could lead to further consequences if untreated (hormonal imbalances or mite infestation for example).

The veterinarian will base her diagnosis on skin biopsy samples obtained through scraping. A fungal and bacterial culture of the skin and hair may be needed as well.

Treatment of Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs

There is no cure for SA, so treatment is not straightforward. The disease varies in severity, and response to treatment varies among dogs. While some dogs are euthanized in extreme causes of SA (usually complicated by chronic infections and major hair loss unresponsive to treatment), with proper treatment and management most dogs can live normal lives. Because SA is chronic, pet owners will be instrumental in the treatment process. The dog’s health and quality of life will depend upon the quality and endurance of care. 

The primary treatment for a dog with SA includes topical therapy, including keratolytic shampoos and emollient rinses or humectants every 3-5 days. Oil baths or oil sprays are popular with pet owners and may provide your dog with the best chance of improvement in coat, skin and comfort. Most of the oils used are some type of mineral oil based product such as baby oil, Alpha-Keri oil or Avon Skin-So-Soft. The oil may be left on your dog as a treatment for 1-2 hours, depending on the dog’s compliance. Monitoring of your pet throughout the treatment is critical as it may be harmful for him to ingest the oil while attempting to groom.

Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Oral omega-3 and/or omega-6 supplements may be given daily or as needed, per your veterinarian. 

Some dogs with SA will develop a bacterial or yeast infection, particularly if lesions become itchy and are scratched by the dog. In this case, symptoms will be treated with medication such as tetracycline, antibiotics and corticosteroids. With proper management of your dog’s skin and coat, infections may occur infrequently, if at all.

Recovery of Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs

Proper management is key to the successful outcome of a dog with sebaceous adenitis. Some dogs will experience full-regrowth of hair, while others appear to lose and grow hair cyclically. 

Long-term, daily therapy through bathing, oil treatments, and supplements such as vitamins and fatty acids, are the primary approach to the disease’s management. Food does not appear to influence the outcome of a dog with SA.

Sebaceous Adenitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Standard Poodle
2 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Hairloss, dry skin, itchiness

My standard poodle, 2 yrs of age, was just diagnosed with SA by skin biopsy. After reading that cyclosporine is a systemic immunosuppressant that may increase the susceptibility to infection and the development of neoplasia, I would like not to give this to her. I have started coconut oil on her skin (is that as good as baby oil?) and first bath with Hylyt yesterday. She is also getting 7000 IU vitamin A in a multi, omega 3,6,9, and kefir to aid with cephalexin for 2 skin infections. Are there other things I could be doing in place of the medication?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1093 Recommendations
Sebaceous adenitis often requires fairly aggressive medical treatment. Home remedies may not be enough to keep this condition under control. Without seeing Zula, I cannot comment on the severity of her disease, but it would be best to consult with your veteirnarian and keep them aprised of decisions that you are making regarding her care.

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8 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss

Medication Used


My dog has a pretty severe case of this disease. He started Cyclosporine about 4 weeks ages. I am also bathing with proseb shampoo and doing oil baths weekly. I Am noticing no improvements at this time. And am asking how long into cyclosporine treatment can I expect to see results?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2507 Recommendations
Generally in these types of cases it may take a month or two to see improvement in symptoms; cyclosporine is generally prescribed at 2.5mg/lb (5mg/kg) once per day. Was Joe’s diagnosis confirmed with a skin biopsy? Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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9 years old
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

We are waiting for my Havanese's biopsy results to confirm that he has SA. The once soft curly hair on his back has turned course and straight. He has developed large dark patches on the skin of his back. The patches are now forming on his head also. He was very itchy until I began giving him 50mg of Ketoconazole daily. Once his treatment starts, will his skin ever return to it's former color? How long should it take for improvement in his condition once we start treatment?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2507 Recommendations
Sebaceous adenitis is a condition which most likely will need to be medically managed along with regular bathing; each case is different but you should see a general improvement in the coat and hair. Once the biopsy results have confirmed this to be the cause (Havanese are a known breed with this issue), your Veterinarian will direct treatment accordingly. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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llhaso apso
9 Years
Serious condition
2 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Sivery dandruff, musty, Cheese popcorn smell, lot

My dog has sebaceous adenitis and I was wondering if I can give him anything over the counter to help his skin and to help with the smell. He also has long hair so its very hard to give oil treatments. What can I do to help? Does anything over the counter help with this and how do I soften the smell?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2507 Recommendations

Unfortunately there is no cure for sebaceous adenitis; the condition requires lifelong medical management and supportive therapy. Treatment with cyclosporine in conjunction with topical treatment is the usual course of treatment; treatment with topical shampoos, vitamin A, omega fatty acids and retinoids have show positive results. Unfortunately there is no over the counter short cut or magic tablet that would address the smell, only regular bathing. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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