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April 06, 2021

Hyperkeratosis 101

Hyperkeratosis 101

Canine hyperkeratosis is a dog skin disease you should keep under close watch. This disease occurs when your dog produces excess keratin, typically in their paw pads and nose, and will cause their dog skin to harden and become thick. 

  • Keratin is a protein. It is the main component of horns, feathers, hair, beaks, and claws in most animals. 

Hyperkeratosis can progress to the point of cracking dog skin, which can lead to serious secondary infections. This disease typically begins slowly and can be a source of great discomfort to your dog. 

What Causes Hyperkeratosis in Dog Skin?

The cause of hyperkeratosis in dog skin can vary but typically is a genetic or hereditary factor in Labradors and Irish Terriers. These breeds often develop hyperkeratosis at about four to nine months of age. Other diseases can be a leading factor in the development of hyperkeratosis:

  • Infectious diseases such as canine distemper
  • Food if your dog suffers a zinc deficiency
  • Parasites if your dog developed leishmaniasis ( a disease caused by parasites through the bite of female sand flies)
  • Auto-immune such as pemphigus foliaceous (a variety of skin disorders resulting in the formation of blisters or warts)

Age can also be a contributing factor for the development of hyperkeratosis. As your pet ages, dog skin will thicken, and there will be a development of calluses at the pressure points. Older dogs often develop chronic liver disease or pancreatic tumors which can also lead to the onset of hyperkeratosis.

Symptoms of Hyperkeratosis in Dog Skin

The paw pads and nose are the general areas you will see affected by hyperkeratosis. It is rare for any other body parts to show signs, but you could see it on the ears or skin of the stomach. The dog skin on the nose will become thick, lose its pigmentation, and often develop crusts. You will notice the dog skin on your dog's nose becoming dry and rough in appearance. If left untreated, the dog skin will crack far enough to begin bleeding. 

The paws of your dog will become thicker with hyperkeratosis and rougher or even hard. This thickening will be quite dramatic for your dog. Inflammation can set in, and the dog skin will often crack, which is very painful and will cause your dog to limp. 

How to Treat Hyperkeratosis in Dog Skin

If you see hyperkeratosis lesions appear on your dog's skin, you will need to seek the advice of your veterinarian to rule out other possible causes of the condition. If hyperkeratosis is the diagnosis, treatment should begin right away. 

Hyperkeratosis is a manageable condition. Talk to your vet or check with VetriMax Veterinary Products about using Solva-Ker Gel. This gel consists of micro-encapsulated salicylic acid with urea. The gel is a grease-less topical that is typically applied to the hyperkeratosis lesions on:

  • Nasal planum
  • Thickened paw pads
  • Elbow calluses

The gel will moisturize your dog skin and help reduce the growth of keratin. 

Where You Can Find Hyperkeratosis Treatment for Dog Skin

VetriMax is dedicated to improving the quality of life of pets and their owners. We use proven skincare formulas to provide relief for your pet's suffering from hyperkeratotic, dermatitis, or other skin disorders. If you are treating a dog for skin issues, contact us to find the best solution possible to find relief for their discomfort or suffering. 


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