What is Seborrhoea?

Seborrhoea is a chronic skin disease that is characterized by excessive scale production and greasiness.   

What causes Seborrhoea?

The cause is unknown, but affected dogs have accelerated basal cell turnover (keratinocytes). 

What breeds commonly suffer from Seborrhoea?

Idiopathic Seborrhoea occurs in two types 

  1. Primary Seborrhoea is an inherited disorder and is seen in several breeds of dogs including:
  • Basset Hounds
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Dachshunds
  • Doberman Pinschers 
  • German Shepherd Dogs
  • Irish Setters
  • Labrador Retrievers 
  • Poodles
  • Shar Peis
  • Springer Spaniels 
  • West Highland Terriers

     2.  Secondary Seborrhoea occurs secondary to almost any other skin disease and can occur in any dog.  

What signs should I look for? 

Most signs occur at 1-3 years of age and include: 

  • Increased scale production
  • Crusting
  • Dryness
  • Oiliness 
  • Alopecia
  • Inflammation
  • Ketainaceous plaque formation
  • Comedones
  • Smelly coat and skin associated with increased greasiness 
  • Pruritus 

Local dermatitis may occur particularly at the following sites as part of this disorder:

  • Labial folds
  • Nipples
  • External ear canal, otitis external is very common in affected dogs
  • Skin folds of the neck 
  • Interdigital skin
  • On the trunk 


Secondary infection with Malassezia pachydermatis (yeast) or other bacteria like staphylococcal spp is a common complication. 


If this disease is secondary to any primary skin problems should be treated like parasites, endocrine, liver disease, gastrointestinal disease or nutrition disorders.  

There is no specific treatment for primary seborrhoea, but the disease is controlled by topical therapy for the life of the animal, including:

  • Moisturizibg hypoallergenic shampoos
  • Chlorhexidine Shampoos
  • Jupicol and wood tar-based shampoos
  • Coal tar shampoos
  • Sulphur, salicylate acid and tar shampoos

*My favorite treatments are the Famous Yeast B Gone kit or Famous Yeast B Gone Shampoo.  I like to go the all natural route.

Initially, frequent bathing may be needed, as often as once every 48 hours in Very greasy cases, but overbathing can make matters worse.  

If chronic cases no significant improvement may be seen for several months after treatment is started. 


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