Pet Spotlight/Case Study: “Cocoa” Losing Hair and Crusty

CoCoa B. is a 5½-year-old FS Beagle with a 4-month history of progressive hair loss and severe itch that started in the Spring of 2021. The hair loss continued to progress and was now affecting her entire body. Her skin was completely normal before this time. Steroids and antihistamines were prescribed to decrease the itch; however, the hair loss and crusts continued to progress. The diet was changed to a prescription diet.

Several tests were conducted including blood work which was within normal limits. A thyroid panel was collected and normal. A bacterial and fungal culture were collected and showed negative for infections. A biopsy was collected and submitted. The results of the biopsy were consistent with Sebaceous Adenitis. In the submitted samples, many sebaceous glands were absent.

Sebaceous Adenitis is an uncommon skin disease found in some breeds of dog, rarely in cats, rabbits, and horses. This is an inflammatory immune response to the sebaceous glands found in the hair follicles of the dermis layer of the skin. If the inflammation continues long term, it can destroy the sebaceous glands.

Two main forms have been described: long coat and short coat presentations. Long or double-coated breeds included Poodles, Akitas, German Shepherd, and Samoyeds. The first sign is a change in the coat color and in poodles the curly hairs become straight. The affected dogs will develop a silver dandruff which adheres to the hairs, hair loss, a dull and brittle coat. Short-coated breeds such as Vizslas, Miniature Pinschers, Beagles, and Dachshunds develop circular areas of scaling and alopecia and develop moth-eaten areas of alopecia. The scales do not adhere to the hairs as much as the long-haired form. The affected patients can occasionally develop a swelling or even nodular lesions.

Once a diagnosis was made for CoCoa, appropriate therapy was initiated. Cocoa has now received therapy for about 2 months. Her condition continues to improve. Her skin is softer and her hairs continue to grow. This condition cannot be cured, but managed.

If you have a pet at home that may be suffering from allergy or skin issues, please visit to schedule an appointment.

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