Can Dogs Recover From Sebaceous Adenitis?

Regular brushing and bathing help to reduce symptoms of sebaceous adenitis.
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Sebaceous adenitis is a rare inflammatory disease affecting the sebaceous or oil glands of the skin. Sebaceous adenitis divides into two different types, based on coat, and each has slightly different symptoms. Subaceous adenitis is believed to have a genetic component, but the direct cause of the condition is unknown. This cosmetic disease is not life-threatening. There is no cure; treatment is typically lifelong, though spontaneous improvement or remission is possible.


Symptoms of sebaceous adenitis are dependent on cost type. Dos with long hair suffer different symptoms than those with shorter coats. Long-haired dogs experience alopecia or hair loss, a strong odor along the hairline, clumps of matted hair, dull and brittle hair, intense itching, bacterial infections, silver-white scales on the skin and clusters of lesions around the head. Short-coated breeds experience hair loss, often in a circular pattern and mild scaling along the head, trunk and ears. Secondary bacterial infections are less common in short-coated dogs.


Sebaceous adenitis is believed to be a genetic disorder; certain breeds are at greater risk. Predisposed breeds for include the standard poodle, Akita, vizsla, Samoyed and Belgian sheepdog, though cases have been seen in Lhasa apsos, golden retrievers, border collies, Welsh Pembroke corgis, Great Pyrenees, American Eskimo and German shepherd. Most dogs respond well to treatment, though Akitas are typically less responsive.


Treatments vary based on breed, coat type and disease stage but is typically lifelong. Spontaneous remission can occur, and symptoms may worsen or come and go. Treatment options include anti seborrheic or anti-bacterial shampoos, fatty-acid dietary supplements, and propylene glycol and water sprays. In cases of secondary bacterial infections, antibiotics may be necessary.

Home Management

Treatment for sebaceous adenitis can be time-consuming for many canine owners; it requires regular care and maintenance. Regular bathing helps to restore oil to the skin, and regular brushing helps to remove dead and flaking skin. While there is no cure for sebaceous adenitis and your dog will experience symptoms throughout his life, the condition is cosmetic and does not affect the quality of life. Because a hereditary connection is believed with sebaceous adenitis, affected dogs should not be bred.