Although this disorder can become irritating for your dog, it is not painful. While the cause is unknown, genetics are suspected, and while it is not related to a dietary deficiency, it is known to be a lack of the vitamin in the skin itself. The condition responds well to treatment with large doses of Vitamin A. Your veterinarian is the best to advise you on treatment which is often required for the full extent of your dog’s life, and it is a fine line between the right amount and an overdose which could lead to more severe problems.
Vitamin A-Responsive Dermatosis is a rare condition that usually affects the skin predominately on your dog’s chest and abdomen, resulting in dermatitis-like scaly crusty skin.
Breeds of dogs usually affected by this condition are the Cocker Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer and the Shar-pei.
The visual signs of the dull sometimes matted hair, and the dry crusty lesions on your dog’s body are the first signs of this condition. Because so many skin conditions have similar symptoms, your veterinarian will work at eliminating all the causes which will narrow the remaining complaints. For the most accurate diagnosis, he will do a skin biopsy to determine the cause of your dog’s disorder. To do a biopsy is a simple procedure, which the vet will do under a local anesthetic. This process entails the removal of a small sample of your dog’s skin for examination by a veterinarian pathologist. The biopsy will show the typical characteristics of the Vitamin A-Responsive Dermatosis that is infecting your dog.
Your specialist will also check your dog during his examination for secondary infections. The open scaling or lesions make ideal sites for bacterial or yeast infections, which can cause your dog a lot of irritation and will require additional medication to correct. While the Vitamin A-Responsive Dermatosis doesn’t hurt your dog, any secondary infection will become a problem and affect his health if not seen to immediately.
This disorder of the skin is not a systemic Vitamin A deficiency but a skin deficiency or a disorder of the skin to utilise the vitamin A. While treatment with high doses of vitamin A does work to correct the disorder, providing the skin a chance to recover, careful dosage needs to be administered. An over supplementation can result in a toxic result causing further difficulty and harm to your pet’s health. This is where your veterinarian’s advice is crucial to monitor and correct the dosage to get it right.
Combining the Vitamin A supplements with a medicated shampoo that contains benzoyl peroxide will clear the follicular area and remove crusting. Using this shampoo two to three times per week will remove the debris from around the follicle and hasten healing. Your dog’s ears may need attention, with extra wax and debris building up, needing a topical medication to clean them out. Any secondary infection such as bacterial or yeast infections will need medication to clear them up and enable your pet to return to good health.
Regular ongoing treatment with the vitamin A supplements will be required to keep this condition under control. Regular washing with a medicated shampoo will ensure your dog’s coat remains clean and free from scabs, and enables the balding patches to regrow and replenish. As this is thought to be a genetic condition, it is considered wise to remove your dog from the breeding pool.
Regular check-ups with your veterinarian to ensure that the dosage of vitamin A is correct is essential, and the supplementation will be a lifetime commitment to your dog. The condition will reoccur if the treatment is stopped. It will take between four and eight weeks for your dog to improve once he is being treated, and remission will last as long as treatment continues.
2 found helpful
My vet told me my dog has allergies but this sound like his issue along with seborrhea. I don’t know what I can or should do to help him. My dogs symptoms just keep getting worse. He looks like it really bothers him
July 12, 2018
Without examining Bodhi I cannot say give my own diagnosis on whether I feel it is allergies or seborrhoea. If you’re not confident in your Veterinarian’s diagnosis you may visit another Veterinarian for a second opinion, but first try any treatment or management opinions which your Veterinarian instructed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
July 13, 2018
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We rescued a lab/shar pei mix at age 6. She had many patches of dry skin, and hot spots. Our vet performed many tests and placed her on an antibiotic,antifungal, shampoo/baths and a diet that is free of chicken. After more than a month, her coat is beginning to look better, however, she remains with a red, oozing patch of bare skin on her chest. This article was very helpful with trying to further figure out what is going on with out Izzy! Thank you
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