How do you treat skin fold dermatitis in dogs? Here’s the Answer

Symptoms of Skin Fold Dermatitis

There are five main signs of inflammation: redness, swelling, heat, pain, and loss of function. If you are concerned your dog may have skin fold dermatitis, you must examine the affected area for any of these signs. As mentioned, you may also notice a musty smell coming from between the skin folds.

However, due to a large number of possible sites, there are some specific symptoms to look out for, dependent on the area affected:

If an infection has developed, there may also be yellow or white discharge, from the pus that will accumulate . In addition, chronic skin fold dermatitis may have thickening of the skin as well as a darkening of the skin.

All brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds that are predisposed to facial folds are similarly predisposed to skin fold dermatitis of this area (Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih-tzus, etc). “Wrinkly” dogs like Shar-peis and Bloodhounds are also affected. Likewise, dogs with corkscrew tails (English Bulldogs, for example) and any breed that propagates a deeply recessed vulvar conformation.

This condition occurs when skin folds are deep, causing abnormal rubbing and retaining moisture in an area thats both warm and not well-aerated. These conditions are ideal for the overgrowth of normal skin inhabitants like yeast and bacteria. The resulting skin inflammation, called dermatitis, typically leads to a skin infection, called pyoderma. Chronic pyoderma is typical in cases of skin fold pyoderma.

The cost of chronic drug and topical treatment runs an average of $30 to $50 every month for those who must continuously clean and medicate the affected areas. Surgical intervention, because it often requires the expertise of a board-certified veterinary surgeon for best results, is an undeniably expensive proposition. Nonetheless, this approach is strongly recommended for pets who would otherwise suffer a lifetime with a surgically curable disease.

Skin fold dermatitis is a dermatologic condition specific to dogs and cats whose conformation allows for infection-prone folds in the skin (“wrinkles”). These abnormal conformations are most common in breeds with pronounced facial, tail and vulvar folds, in particular, though any deep skin fold anywhere in the body can yield skin fold dermatitis.

What is Skin Fold Dermatitis?

Skinfold dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin (derma- meaning skin, and -itis referring to inflammation). It is most commonly found in the facial folds, lips, vulva and tail folds, but can occur anywhere. If acute, it should only last a short period; however, if left untreated, it can become chronic.

Facial Fold Dermatitis in Dogs

Lip fold dermatitis in dogs stinks. As a diligent dog mom who brushes her dog’s teeth daily, I could not manage to control the terrible smell coming from my dog’s mouth. Little did I realize lip fold dermatitis would not disappear despite daily teeth brushing. When I visited the veterinarian with my Cocker Spaniel, he knew what my dog had lip fold dermatitis while we sat in the waiting room before the examination. The smell was that bad.

You can control lip fold dermatitis in dogs by cleaning the lip folds, keeping hair at the fold shaved down, treating it with non-prescription methods such as coconut oil, applying medications prescribed by the dog’s veterinarian, and sometimes even surgery to correct chronic, ongoing cases that don’t respond well to treatment. Treatment of canine lip fold dermatitis varies according to the reason, severity, and frequency of the condition as well as pet parent compliance.

I get at least one email a week, if not more, asking for help to alleviate a dog’s smelly mouth. If you are diligently providing at-home dental care for your dog on a regular basis, seeing the veterinarian for regular oral checkups and examinations, and the smell still exists, it may not be a dental issue at all. Lip fold dermatitis can rear its ugly head—and smell—and it must be brought under control. Here’s how to prevent, control, treatment, and care for a dog with lip fold dermatitis: