Acanthosis Nigricans Treatment for Dogs

Darkening of the skin affects dachshunds and requires acanthosis nigricans treatment. Two forms of the disease exist. Primary acanthosis nigricans occurs in puppies and young dogs and is specific to Dachshunds. Secondary acanthosis nigricans is the more common form in dogs of all ages.

Primary and Secondary Acanthosis Nigricans

Primary acanthosis nigricans usually covers larger areas of a dachshund's body and can be controlled but is untreatable. Areas of the skin become thick and the skin pigment darkens. The disease often goes hand in hand with a secondary skin infection. It is a form of acanthosis nigricans that you don't often see.

Secondary acanthosis nigricans is more likely to be diagnosed in your pet. It's not specific to any breed. It's caused by one of three reasons:

  • Allergy or sensitivities including airborne allergens, contact dermatitis, food allergies and infections
  • Endocrine hormone imbalances
  • Friction of the skin

With secondary acanthosis nigricans, hair loss and itching are very likely to occur. With both forms of the disease, skin scrapings and biopsies are used to identify which form is present. Treatment is dictated by the form of the disease.

Acanthosis Nigricans Treatment for Primary Form

If your dachshund is diagnosed with the disease, you need to realize there is no cure for it. You'll need to manage the symptoms throughout your dog's life. The disease causes thickened patches of skin that almost look like bruises. The skin can itch and become scaly, and this often leads to bacterial and yeast infections that must be treated.

Treatment for primary acanthosis nigricans involves glucocorticoid ointments and periodic medicated baths. Some pet owners have had success giving their pet a daily dose of vitamin E or melatonin injections. An acanthosis nigricans treatment using a glucocorticoid ointment usually includes a cream such as Panolog. The cream is a corticosteroid, but also adds antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Side effects are rare, but the medication shouldn't be used on pregnant dogs.

Medicated shampoos are often used to alleviate the symptoms of acanthosis nigricans. Antiseborrheic shampoos help remove excess oils on the skin that cause bad odors and kill bacteria. Antipruritic shampoos alleviate itching and inflammation.

Acanthosis Nigricans Treatment for Secondary Form

Dogs afflicted with secondary acanthosis nigricans stand a better chance at being cured. The treatment involves treating the root of the disease. For bacterial or yeast infections, medications must be used to kill the bacteria or fungi. Allergies must be treated appropriately. If skin friction is occurring in obese dogs, weight loss is crucial.

Many secondary acanthosis nigricans treatment plans involve the use of cephalexin, itraconazole or ketoconazole. Anti-microbial and anti-seborreic treatments are also possible cures.

Cephalexin is an antibiotic commonly used in skin infections. The drug is safe and stomach irritation is usually the only side effect. Giving the medication with a meal will help eliminate stomach upset.

If acanthosis nigricans treatment requires an anti-fungal medication, itraconazole or ketoconazole is prescribed. These anti-fungal medications are effective on yeast infections of the skin. Typical side effects include lack of appetite, nausea and vomiting. To avoid the common side effects, follow the medication with a meal.