Maya is a sweet little Cockapoo. Her owner noticed her haircoat started to look coarse. She was developing bald patches and had crusting all over her body, especially on her ear flaps. She wasn’t itchy at all. The veterinarian who examined her recommended bloodwork and a skin biopsy.
The skin biopsies made the diagnosis! Maya had an uncommon skin condition: sebaceous adenitis.
This is an immune-mediated disease whereby the body’s own immune system begins attacking and killing off the sebaceous glands in the skin. These glands are responsible for keeping the skin from becoming dry and help regulate the normal turnover of old skin cells to new ones. The condition is most common in Poodles and Poodle mixes. There is no cure, only management with medication to suppress the immune system’s exaggerated response and shampoos to help reduce the crusting. Maya is a great example of how important it is to begin treatment early in the course of the disease. Maya still had a few functioning sebaceous glands left, so within 2 months on the medication, she started to regrow hair and the scabbing subsided.
Maya’s initial bloodwork revealed a poorly functioning thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Since this disease can be difficult to accurately diagnose in the face of another disease (sebaceous adenitis), we waited to treat her with thyroid medication until she was 3 months into her sebaceous adenitis treatment. This way we would know if she was responding to the sebaceous adenitis treatment alone. The signs of hypothyroidism can be a poor haircoat, failure to grow hair after normal shedding, and weight gain, so the signs of the two diseases did overlap a bit.
Here is Maya today, 6 months after treatment was started- a full fluffy coat and feeling great!