What is Zinc important for skin?
Zinc is a mineral that is very important to your dogs diet. It in involved with many biochemical pathways which plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin. Zinc is an important component of several metalloenzymes in the body.
Zinc deficiency leads these clinical signs:
- Thinning of hair coat or alopecia due to hair loss
- Slow hair growth
- Dullness of hair coat
- Increased scurf formation
- appearance of coat is rough, staring and unkempt
- Ulceration of the skin
- Thick crusty parakeratotic hyperkeratotic skin lesions
Non-specific signs may include:
- Poor growth rate
These lesions affect several sites:
- Ear Canal
- Distal extremities including foot pads also have paronechia, fissures and cracks
- Mucocutaneous junctions
- Over joints
Several recognized clinical syndromes have been shown to be responsive to Zinc therapy including:
- Juvenile hyperkeratosis (juvenile pyoderma) thought to have been due to Zinc deficiency in the diet
- Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute syndrome, lesions develop in early adulthood
- Bull Terrier acrodermatitis, due to abnormal zinc absorption and metabolism
- German Shepherd dogs have been reported to develop the disease in rapidly growing individuals fed zinc deficient diets.
The biochemical roles of zinc that explain these changes include:
- Zinc is an important component of metalloenzymes (carbonic anhydrase)
- Zinc is important for cell replication and differentiation
- Zinc has an important role in protein synthesis, nucleic acid synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism
- Zinc is important role to play in the production, storage and secretion of hormones including adrenal corticosteroids insulin, and testosterone
- Zinc is important for normal hormone receptor response
- Parakeratosis is due to delayed nuclear degeneration
- Zinc deficiency affects nucleric acid and collagen synthesis leading to fissures in pads and loss of hair
Copper deficiency in not common either. It occurs most often in young puppies due to one of the three scenarios:
- Poor nutrition with inadequate copper in the food, most likely to occur on a home-made or fad diet
- Poor bioavailability of copper in food
- Competition from other minerals in the diet like Zinc, which reduce the bioavailability of the copper.
Treatment is to feed a complete and balanced ration and avoid excess mineral supplementation.
Be Very Careful with supplementing with Zinc. If you think your dog has a Zinc deficiency be careful on how much you give and consult your veterinarian for your dogs suggested amount! Too much could be fatal!