Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)

Liaison: Tina Oswald


Sebaceous Adenitis or SA, is a skin disease in which the sebaceous glands become inflamed and destroyed, leading to progressive hair loss. The disease is primarily seen in Standard Poodles, Akitas, and Samoyeds, although there have been reported cases in a number of other breeds and mixed breeds. It is a hereditary disease in Poodles, and is probably a hereditary disease in Samoyeds. Severity of this disease varies from dog to dog and breed to breed.

Signs and Symptoms

SA is often mistaken for hypothyroidism because the signs are similar. Both diseases exhibit a musky odor, itching, scaling, hair loss, and secondary skin infections such as yeast infections. There are some dogs who are affected by the disease over their entire bodies. Some dogs with SA will show few signs of this disease or absolutely no signs of this disease, which is called a ‘subclinical’ form of the disease


There are no definitive known causes for Sebaceous Adenitis

Risk Factors

Family history.

Diagnostic Tests

Currently the ‘gold standard’ of diagnosis is by punch biopsy. Two 6mm punch biopsies are taken along the back of the neck between the neck and withers, and in any affected areas.

Treatment Guidelines

Note: Treatment of animals should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian. Veterinarians should consult the current literature and current pharmacological formularies before initiating any treatment protocol.

There are currently no ‘gold standard’ antibiotics or supplements that will cure Sebaceous Adenitis. About 95% of owners with SA affected dogs have had successful results with weekly to monthly oil soaks. There are a few people who have chosen to try the immune suppressing drug Cyclosporine with minimal success.

Many owners supplement their dogs diets with Vitamin A and Ester C. Some owners are trying Melatonin as a supplement.


Get your dog on an oil soaking regime. This will help the dog’s skin get the oils he is no longer producing.

Look for reddish looking ‘dirt’ at the base of the hair shaft close to the skin. This is keratin which needs to be removed to keep the hair follicles open and reduce the risk of infection. Keratin is not water soluble but is oil soluble.


Merck Veterinary Manual online on Hyperplastic and Seborrheic Syndromes four bonesrating

Merck Veterinary Manual online on Sebaceous Adenitis four bonesrating

Sebaceous Adenitis on the OFA website three bonesrating

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Support Groups

Yahoo Group on SA – This support group is for those people who have dogs with Sebaceous Adenitis (SA) and/or Addison’s Disease. Learn how to care for your dog and help others with their questions.

Facebook Group on SA – Another support group if you use Facebook (closed group)

Sebaceous adenitis on the OFA website three bonesrating

Photos of an Akita’s journey with Sebaceous Adenitis one bonerating

Report about the successful treatment of Sebaceous Adenitis through self-invented therapy By Michael Rampak two bonesrating

Test breedings reveal inheritance mode of SA, DMS By: Alice Jeromin, DVM, Dipl. ACVD two bonesrating

Sebaceous Adenitis on the Canine Inherited Disorders Database three bonesrating

Canine Sebaceous Adenitis on the MSPCA Angell website two bonesrating

Forsythe P, Paterson S. Ciclosporin 10 years on: Indications and efficacy. Veterinary Record Journal of the British Veterinary Association, March 2014 three bonesrating

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