Ichthyosis In UK Dogs


Ichthyosis is one of many rare skin conditions that affect UK dogs of various breeds and sizes.

Unlike some skin conditions that cause wounds, Ichthyosis causes a “scaling” effect on the infected dog. This “scaling” is categorised as an abnormal growth of, normally thick, skin layered on top of the affected area of the dog.

This “scaling” has caused many to refer to Ichthyosis as “fish scale” disease due to the layer being reminiscent of fish scales.

Lesions are also normally present under, around and on the scaling effect that can be observed but this is not always the case.

Depending on the strain of Ichthyosis that a dog is suffering from, symptoms may vary as will the level of scaling and it’s location. Even though there are a number of different strains of Ichthyosis most will resemble one another in appearance.


The most common symptoms of Ichthyosis come from what is outlined above: the “scaling” or abnormal layer of skin on the affected area.

The thick rough skin can be found anywhere on the dog’s body with some cases of Ichthyosis even causing swelling and irritation to the feet pads of affected dogs.

UK dog’s affected by Ichthyosis are born with the condition and symptoms can be seen within a matter of weeks of the puppy being born. Large areas of thick tough sore skin can be seen in as little as 2-4 weeks of birth in some breeds.

Any dog who has the gene for this condition will see the condition worsen the older the dog becomes. Areas of infection and scaling spread, become larger and more irritated throughout the dogs life.

Affected Breeds

Ichthyosis in UK dog breeds is unfortunately prevalent across a multitude of different dogs regardless of breed, sex or size.

With that being said, as of 2020 it is believed that some breeds appear to be more susceptible of carrying the gene required to pass the condition on to their offspring.

Highest Risk Of Ichthyosis

Also At Risk Of Ichthyosis


Treatment for Ichthyosis in UK dogs is normally undertaken by a veterinarian on a symptomatically conscious basis. That is to say that treatment is dependant on the severity of the symptoms, age of the dog and the affected area in question.

Treatment options often include food supplements usually high in fatty acids, prescription shampoo and medicated sprays.

All of these routes carry pros and cons as do treatments for other conditions. This is a conversation and decision that needs to be made by the dog’s owners and their veterinarian.

In any eventuality it is important to remember that Ichthyosis is deemed as incredibly untreatable and incurable. All treatment routes are solely to reduce symptoms and they will never cure the dog of the condition.

Further Reading

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