Living With Sebaceous Adenitis


Information presented in the “Living With…” sections of the SCARF website represent the personal viewpoint of the individual who made the journal entry and do not represent the opinions, positions, or viewpoints of SCARF or the veterinary community. [see complete disclaimer at bottom of page]

September 2003

The day my 6y/o boy came home…I was anxious and wanted to see him. However, when I saw him, I started crying. The dog I picked up wasn’t the same dog I said good bye to in February of 2002. I immediately made an appointment with my local vet for a check up and blood work for hypothyroidism. I was so sure he was hypothyroid.

Two days later, we found out he had staph and yeast infections on his skin. This explained the rotting flesh smell. He was given Cephlahexin BID (twice a day) for 2 weeks. A week later we found out he was indeed hypothyroid. He was put on Soloxine .6mg BID. We were given permission to bathe him because the stench permeating from his skin was so bad. I gave him an oatmeal based shampoo and noticed the rinse water was brownish-red. Almost like he was infested with fleas, but he wasn’t.

October 2003

A month later, I had to board him for 2 weeks. When I picked him up, he had 3 sores on his front legs that looked like he had been sucking and chewing on them for quite some time. Back on the Cephlahexin for 6 weeks, only this time he was getting them TID (three times a day). The sores did heal, but he had the rancid smell and the skin on his body was red. There was also this ‘dirt’ that was present on each hair shaft on his body.

November 2003

By November, I saw new hair growth but there was this brown ‘dirt’ around each hair follicle; I later found out this ‘dirt’ is called “follicular castings”. I tried to scrape the castings out and his hair fell out! It was obvious to me his low thyroid was just part of his problem or a symptom. I made an appointment with a canine dermatology specialist in town. In the meantime, I had to endure 3 more weeks of his rancid smell because I did not want to wash away anything that might help her diagnosis.

Closeup of Keratin on hair follicles

December 2003

The date of the appointment…. After an hour and 45 minutes of scraping, pulling, poking and prodding, we found no bacteria, fungus, or mites on his body. The vet had said the words that I was afraid to hear… ‘He looks like a typical Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) dog.’ I was later told she had suspected SA the moment she walked into the exam room. I have known about this disease in Akitas and Poodles, but didn’t know it was common in Samoyeds. We scheduled a biopsy 3 days later but in the meantime, I spent my time after work reading about and researching SA. It turns out SA is most prevalent in Poodles, Akitas, AND Samoyeds. I decided to have the results put into the OFA database for Sebaceous Adenitis…whatever the outcome. I do not have anything to hide and as a breeder, would hope more of you will come forward with dogs who have this disease. IT IS ONE WAY WE CAN CONTROL THE SPREAD OF ANY INHERITED DISORDER.

After the biopsy was performed, I just could not stand the smell any longer. Not waiting for the results, I decided to go ahead and treat him with the ‘Oil Baths' or Oil Soaks that have been described on many websites for SA. I used Mineral Oil for the first time, but later tried the mixture posted on a SA website. I personally feel the Mineral Oil was too greasy for a Samoyed’s coat. It took me 3 hours to do this oil bath. WOW, his black, red, and scaly skin was now pink and supple and he did not stink! I was just amazed. He did lose about 3/4 of his coat with this bath, which I was told is normal for the first bath. I believe the hair was dead to begin with so I was glad to get it out so new hair could begin to grow and be treated with the oil baths.

Pictures after the first oil bath

Four days after the biopsy was sent to an approved lab, it was confirmed that he had an advanced stage of Sebaceous Adenitis. I mentioned his oil bath to the vet and she agreed that would be the best protocol at this time. She did not recommend Cyclosporine.

In the beginning of this journey, we followed Michael Rampak’s oil treatment along with vitamins A (24,000 IU/ day), E (200 IU/day), and Ester-C (2000mg) . EFA’s (essential fatty acids), Flax Seed Oil, Salmon Oil, Fresh Factor Coat Supplement, and ProZyme were also used.

Three years of living with a dog that has Sebaceous Adenitis has taught me to try to do what is best for my dog. Standing in a tub for hours is not fun for a now 9 year old dog. So we have modified our course of treating him. Using human products for African Americans has proven to be beneficial to the treatments and it doesn’t take 3 hours to do. We look for products which contain Propylene Glycol for his treatments.

His diet is still supplemented with Vitamin A and Ester C, but not in the summer months. In September he is put back on his vitamins along with 3mg Melatonin BID. The melatonin was suggested by his veterinary dermatologist when he lost all his hair in the winter of 2004. He was put on 3 mg of Melatonin BID from August 2005 until April 2006. He did not lose all that much hair. He will be put back on Melatonin at the end of August.

What have I learned about Sebaceous Adenitis in the three years I have been dealing with this? It waxes and wanes. The one thing we have managed to eliminate with the oil soaks are the skin infections.



Information presented in the “Living With…” sections of the SCARF website represent the personal viewpoint of the individual who made the journal entry and do not represent the opinions, positions, or viewpoints of SCARF or the veterinary community. There may be discussions of drugs, devices, additives, foods, vitamins, herbs or biologicals that have not been approved by the FDA/CVM for the particular use being discussed. SCARF assumes no liability for the accuracy or outcomes of any suggestions, advice or other information provided by the “Living With…” postings on the SCARF website. All treatment decisions should only be made after discussion with your pet’s veterinary health professional, and no changes in your pet’s treatments or diet should be made based on any information found on the SCARF website.