Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs

Sebaceous Adenitis in Dogs

Sebaceous adenitis is a skin condition in which dogs suffer from lesions, hair loss, and other painful symptoms. Learn how to recognize this under-diagnosed disease here.

Sebaceous adenitis is a painful skin condition in which the immune system attacks the dog's sebaceous glands, causing lesions, sores, hair loss, and often infections. The affected glands are necessary for oil production to keep a dog's skin healthy. Thought to be a hereditary disease, Sebaceous adenitis can onset at any point in the dog's life and can affect any dog, although it is more prevalent in certain breeds. Affected dogs, their parents, and their siblings should be removed from the breeding cycle. While there is currently no cure for the disease, less severe cases can have the symptoms treated with shampoos and ointments.  

Affected Breeds

Poodles are most commonly known for having Sebaceous adenitis, but other breeds including Samoyeds, Vislas, and Akitas are predisposed to the disease as well. Nonetheless all dogs, mixed breed and purebred, can get Sebaceous adenitis. 


When the immune system attacks the sebaceous glands, they become inflamed, causing stinking sores, scaling skin, and hair loss on the affected dog. The lesions and sores generally begin around the head, neck, and back, spreading to other parts of the body. And while itchiness is not a symptom of Sebaceous adenitis itself, yeast, bacteria, and other infections can spread easily into the lesions, creating symptoms of itchiness. Sometimes affected dogs will have purpleish looking skin as a result of the disease; however, the symptoms will vary from breed to breed, as the sores look different with different kinds of coats. If you suspect that your dog has Sebaceous adentis, take them to your vet. A diagnosis for this disease always requires a biopsy, and your veterinarian will be able to tell you if your dog is affected and the severity of their condition. 


There is still no cure for Sebaceous adenitis; however, many cases can be managed with frequent bathing, medicated shampoos, and topical ointments. If your dog's sores are infected, you will first have to treat their infections before you can start to see anti-seborrheal medication work. Additionally, fatty acid supplements can help replenish the oils that your dog's skin cannot make for itself. Your veterinarian, however, will be able to provide the best course of treatment for you and your dog. 

Many pet parents whose dogs are diagnosed with the disease find that, finally given a correct diagnosis for their dog's painful and often misunderstood skin condition, they are surprised how rapidly their dogs return to their normal, happy, furry selves. Although the disease is relatively rare, keeping it in the back of your mind to make sure your dog get's the correct diagnosis can make a big difference for your dog. Although you can't prevent Sebaceous adenitis, being able to recognize it could potentially save your dog a lot of pain in the future. 

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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