Seborrhea in Labrador Retrievers
Dogs, especially the fluffy and furry ones, tend to shed a lot and that’s normal. But when it comes to shedding skin? You may have a medical condition in your hands called, seborrhea. What happens is there is an overstimulation of the hair follicles and overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands which causes excessive flaking of dead skin cells in the outer layer of the skin. Skin renewal often happens in a span of several weeks, but when a Labrador has seborrhea it could happen in just several days. The keratin layer, which is made up of our dead cells, accumulate rapidly on top of each other because of the rapid pace of skin regeneration. This results in skin flaking or shedding.
Types of seborrhea
Seborrhea can manifest in different ways and it is in fact classified into several kinds. Firstly, if the condition occurs by itself or through heredity, it is classified into Primary Seborrhea and it is further categorized depending on its manifestation. If the skin that is shed is dry and flaky, he or she has seborrhea secca. Dry seborrhea is easier to remove from the skin, but there will be an appearance of scaling on your dog’s skin.
The second kind of seborrhea is the oily kind or seborrhea oleosa. This is more problematic in terms of removal because the greasiness – a result from excess oil on the epidermis – makes the damaged skin stick to the hair or fur and then it could tear the hair follicles leading to further infections and other skin problems, such as folliculitis. Also, the oils release an unpleasant smell on the dog’s skin.
The third and most problematic kind of seborrhea is seborrheic dermatitis which is a combination of the first two conditions, where there’s scaling, flaking, greasiness, and inflammations on the skin.
Meanwhile, if the seborrhea is caused by another underlying disease like allergies, scabies, parasitic infections, endocrine and autoimmune disorders, and dietary problems, then it belongs to Secondary Seborrhea. If this is the case, you need to treat the underlying cause to also get rid of the seborrhea.
Symptoms to watch out for
While it is normal for skin flaking to occur among younger dogs, you should watch when it occurs excessively and your dog starts to smell even with regular baths and proper food. You should also watch out for any inflammations, redness, and lesions that could appear due to this condition. If your Labrador has any of these symptoms, proceed to the veterinarian for proper treatment immediately.
Remedies and treatment
There is no specific cure for primary seborrhea, but it can be treated and managed through different levels of hair and skin therapy. The therapies should be able to contain the condition into a small area of the skin, help rehydrate the skin, and remove the flakes.
There are antiseborrheic shampoos available that you could use upon the recommendation of your veterinarian. You should also start using hypoallergenic shampoos that have natural ingredients with lesser chemicals, like dyes and fragrances, to avoid irritating the skin and keep it moisturized and healthy.
For severe dry flaking, shampoos containing salicylic acid and sulfur are recommended to remove them. While for oily skin, you will need shampoos with coal tar to prevent the growth of the seborrhea. Benzoyl peroxide also helps for easier and painless removal of greasy skin flakes. Apply the shampoos as directed or leave on for 10 to 15 minutes then rinse with warm water for higher effectivity.
There are also oral medication that you can used to prevent other symptoms like itching, infections, and inflammations. Systemic antibiotics, oral corticosteroids, and Omega-3 supplements would improve the condition and make your dog more comfortable.
With the correct information and early treatment, this condition is nothing to worry about. You only have to be more attentive to your pet’s cleanliness and shampo