What You Need to Know About Comedones in Dogs
We love our dogs and want them to feel their best. And while comedones may sound like a scary condition, it doesn’t have to be. Here is everything to know about comedones in dogs. What it is, what kind of dog breed gets it, preventative measures (if any), and how it is treated at home and at the vet.
What is Comedones in Dogs?
Otherwise known as Schnauzer comedone syndrome, this is a condition where a dog develops blackheads on its neck and back. The words comedone itself simply means blackheads and while it is something that needs addressing, it is less of a scary sounding condition.
According to Veterinary Partner:
These small skin bumps develop when a pore, the skin’s opening for each hair, becomes clogged with skin oils and debris.
This is quite similar to what humans get with clogged pores or acne. Yet these can become infected so it is imperative to know what to do to help prevent it and what to do if the dog gets them.
What Breeds Get This Condition?
While the name Schnauzer comedone syndrome might sound like it is breed-specific, comedones can happen to any of the rough-coated terriers such as the Cairn terrier. In fact, any breed can get this condition. It is simply more prevalent in schnauzers and the aforementioned rough-coated terriers. For Schnauzers though, this is typically a lifetime condition that is inherited from the breed’s parents.
Are There Preventative Measures?
While some dogs are more susceptible to comedones, there are a few things to do in order to help prevent this from happening, or at least minimize the effects if your dog has this condition.
One thing is to treat the dog for any itching or allergies. This is important because when a dog is constantly scratching itself, this spreads the bacteria from its initial site to other parts of the body. An antibiotic treatment and anti-itch treatment helps prevent the initial itching and can prevent some of the spreading of the bacteria. And always keep your dog clean by bathing and grooming him on a regular basis, which also helps prevent scratching and being uncomfortable in-general.
Other causes for itching include fleas and allergies. Both should be treated in order to decrease the scratching. Simply put, if the dog has fleas then make sure that a proper flea treatment regime is conducted. And there is no better way to prevent fleas in the first place than with a flea prevention program.
If the dog is itching due to allergies, talk to your vet about what might be triggering these attacks. Some common causes include food allergies which may require a change in your dog’s diet. Whether it is food or environmental conditions, there are measures that can be taken to lessen the symptoms and get to the root of the problem.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are warning signs to look for in targeting these blackheads.
- Blackheads along your dog’s spine or on the back
- Pimple or wart-like bumps on your dog’s skin
- Localized hair loss near pimples or bumps
- Itching, if a bacterial infection develops from comedone syndrome
In Schnauzer dogs, this is common throughout their lives so be aware of what to look for before it gets out of hand and harder to treat.
And make sure that you do not pop the blackheads. While this may seem like the natural thing to do, this helps spread the bacteria since the outer area protecting to bacteria is now exposed once it is popped. This also allows infection to happen and can make the issue more severe than it has to be.
How Are Comedones Treated?
Comedones can be treated at home or at the vet, depending on the severity. If your dog has a mild case of these blackheads then using benzoyl peroxide, shampoo, witch hazel, and hydrogen peroxide (optional) is needed. use the benzoyl peroxide to flush out the hair follicles and pores. This takes care of any debris that is in there. Then wash the dog with shampoo and apply the witch hazel directly to the blackheads. You can also use the hydrogen peroxide to treat but keep in mind that it can cause dryness so using it sparingly is recommended. Always keep your dog clean and well-groomed and this will also help ensure that your dog’s skin is less likely to get these blackheads. You may not can prevent it entirely but you can help keep the breakouts to a minimum.
When using pet shampoos for this problem, look for medicated shampoos that are FFA. This means they have follicle flushing action and typically the main ingredient is the aforementioned benzoyl peroxide. This is not to be confused with hydrogen peroxide because they are two very different ingredients. Keep in mind that these medicated shampoos that your vet can recommend are most likely paired with antibiotics.
If your dog develops a secondary infection from the comedones, it is time to visit your vet. There, your dog can be prescribed antibiotics and get recommendations of shampoo and medication treatments. Some dogs are recommended to use anti-seborrhea shampoos and products to help get rid of the blackheads and keep the dog’s skin clog-free.
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They are truly just blackheads and are not normally serious threats to the health, much less the life, of a dog.