What is Seborrhea?
Seborrhea, dandruff, or scaly skin is a skin condition caused by excessive oil production of the skin cells and glands. This condition may either be dry scaliness (seborrhea sicca), oily (seborrhea oleosa) causing greasy and oily skin and hair, or greasy and flaky (seborrheic dermatitis). It manifests itself on the ears, stomach, elbows, armpits and ankles. Seborrhea is better known as dandruff.
The common symptoms and signs of seborrhea include:
- Excessive scaliness
- Greasy, oily hair
- Redness or inflammation of the skin
- Licking of the skin
What Causes Seborrhea?
Seborrhea is more common in dogs than cats. It may be hereditary based with breeds such as Cocker spaniels, Labradors, Dobermans, German Shepherds and Irish setters being more predisposed to it. Seborrhea may also be caused by allergies, parasites, bacterial and fungal infections, thyroid hormone deficiency, pancreatic disease or nutritional disorders. If left untreated, seborrhea can lead to severe skin infections.
The diagnosis of seborrhea is based on the symptoms, thorough physical examination and review of your pet’s medical history. Certain diagnostic tests such as taking a skin swab and skin biopsy will be performed to rule out if a primary disease is the cause of cat or dog dandruff.
Help for Seborrhea
Depending on the type and cause of serborrhea, various anti-seborrheic shampoos and conditioners may be used. These shampoos should be left to lather on your pet’s skin for at least ten minutes before rinsing thoroughly. It is very important that you rinse properly and that no shampoo residue remains as this will only irritate the skin further.
Antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs will be prescribed for recurring yeast and bacterial skin infections which often accompanies seborrhea. Your vet may also recommend certain dietary changes together with omega-3 fatty supplementation as well as regular bathing of your pet.
More and more pet owners are choosing to use natural remedies for their pets. Homeopathic remedies have a long history of treating various skin conditions including feline and canine dandruff safely and effectively. Carefully selected ingredients such as Arum triph, Viola tri, Comocladia, Chamomilla and Cina soothe and calm symptoms and promote a healthy skin and coat.
More Information on Seborrhea
Tips to manage seborrhea
There are a number of things that you can do to manage and prevent seborrhea in pets and these include:
- Feed your pet high commercial food or an all natural diet without preservatives, additives or colorants
- Make sure that pets with long haired coats are clipped or shaved to make bathing easier
- Bathe your pet as directed by your vet with a medicated shampoo specifically prescribed for his skin type
- Include omega 3 fatty acid supplements to your pet’s diet to help condition the skin
- Never use human or over-the-counter pet shampoos as these products may be too harsh for your pet’s skin
- Avoid the eye area and use a sponge when washing the face
- Allow the soap lather to stand for at least 3-5 minutes