Seborrhea is a skin condition characterized by an accumulation of excessive oil (sebum) on the skin. It is believed that seborrhea represents a chain of events that involve excessive production of oil by the oil glands of the skin. “Dandruff” seen on the skin in cases of seborrhea is nothing more than dried skin oil. In most cases, seborrhea is HEREDITARY.
Excessive sebum (skin oil) provides an excellent breeding ground for bacteria. These bacteria break down the “sebum” into certain products that irritate the pet’s skin. This irritation causes the skin to become red and inflamed.
It is this inflammation that leads to improper functioning of the growth process of the skin, which in turns leads to scaling and itching. The bacterial breakdown of the skin oil is also the cause of the FOUL ODOR often associated with seborrhea. With greater oil production, the bacteria thrive, increasing the possibility of skin infections.
Certain breeds have a tendency to show the dry, scaly form of seborrhea, while others show a more “oily” form. Signs vary from a dry flaking skin to an oily, greasy, crusty skin with a foul odor and open “sores.”
Regardless of the initial signs, the underlying process causing seborrhea remains the same—excess “sebum,” bacterial involvement, and scaling of the outer layer of the skin. The variables are the amount of oil produced and the number of bacteria present. The predominant sign seen in each individual pet is determined by these factors.
There is NO CURE for seborrhea. However, proper treatment and care of your pet will allow you to CONTROL the problem. Seborrhea is a chronic skin disease which requires routine maintenance —much the same as brushing your teeth to prevent tooth decay. If routine maintenance is not followed, there will be a recurrence of the original signs.