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Scaly Skin in Dogs

4 min read



Proper diagnosis of this disorder and other concurrent diseases, if present, is important for successful treatment. Frequent and appropriate topical therapy (by which medicines are applied to the surface of skin) is important.


Bathing will remove the scales from the surface of the skin and hair, but this can also dry the skin, making the problem worse. Your veterinarian will prescribe topical medications to be used that will treat the problem, and a moisturizing ointment to replenish the skin's moisture content. There are some excellent topical formulas available to treat this condition, but it is up to you for treatment to be successful. Salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide shampoos may be prescribed, as they are both excellent for cell turnover. Which type of shampoo will depend on your dog's exact type of scaling and reaction: whether you need to minimize microbes or bacteria in the skin, and whether the bacterial infections or severe or moderate. Following the directions given by your veterinarian and the drug manufacturer is essential for bringing the skin into balance again.


If there is a concurrent disease/condition that is responsible for this skin disorder, treatment will be prescribed appropriately. Antibiotics may be used in cases with secondary bacterial skin infections, antifungal drugs will be prescribed for cases with fungal infection, antiparasitic drugs can be used to remove the parasites. For deficiency of vitamin A or zinc, your dog will be given supplements to bring this into balance, and for hypothyroidism, thyroxine can be prescribed.


Living and Management


The most important factor in managing a dog with exfoliative dermatosis is the frequent and appropriate topical therapy. Frequent bathing is important in the overall treatment of this disease. You will need to follow the treatment guidelines strictly for successful treatment and to prevent a relapse of symptoms.


This is often a lifelong problem that will need to managed. Follow-ups with a veterinarian are standard for evaluating progress and fine tuning the treatment plan.


Some skin diseases have zoonotic potential, meaning that they can be passed on to other animals, including humans. Taking precautions, such as wearing gloves while treating your dog, minimizing direct skin contact during initial treatment, and cleaning and maintaining a sterile home environment during treatment will minimize the chances of being infected.



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