Hyperkeratosis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Is your beloved fluffy friend in pain? Does he have sensitive thickened paw pads and you’re afraid he has Hyperkeratosis? Do you know what Hyperkeratosis in dogs is? Or do you just want to know about Hyperkeratosis?

Then you are in the right place. In this article, I’m going to tell you all you need to know about Hyperkeratosis in dogs, its causes, symptoms, and how to treat and prevent it.


What is Hyperkeratosis?

Generally, Hyperkeratosis is a skin condition, that occurs when a person’s skin becomes thick than usual in certain places. It results from chronic inflammation or genetic disorder.

Hyperkeratosis In Dogs

Hyperkeratosis in Dog’s Nose and Paw

Hyperkeratosis occurs when your dog produces excessive keratin. Keratin is a healthy protein that makes up the hair, nails, and skin of your dog’s body but if keratin becomes excessive in a dog’s body, it leads to Hyperkeratosis.

Hyperkeratosis could affect your dog’s nose or paw, it looks like a dry cracked crust on the affected area of your dog’s skin. Hyperkeratosis might be harmless but if not treated, bacteria parasites could enter your dog’s body from the Hyperkeratosis affected area, causing your dog to be sick.

Keratin protects the body from external harm but Hyperkeratosis cracks the skin allowing deadly bacteria which can seriously maim your dog into the dog’s body.


Read also: Why Is My Dog Not Barking At Strangers?


Causes of Hyperkeratosis in Dogs

Your dog’s Hyperkeratosis can be caused by a lot of reasons. Below are some of the possible causes of Hyperkeratosis in dogs.

  1. Age: This skin condition is most common in middle and adult age dogs. So if your dog is old or in middle age, he is prone to hyperkeratosis disease, which is inevitable in most dogs at an older age. A young dog could get hyperkeratosis but it is not common.
  2. Breed: some breeds of dogs are susceptible to having hyperkeratosis, if your dog is a cocker spaniel, Dogues de Bordeaux, Irish terries, or labradors, there is a good chance of him having hyperkeratosis because it is genetic to them and they could develop it anytime. Avoid this breed of dog if you do not want to deal with the possibility of your dog having hyperkeratosis.
  3. Zinc Deficiency: If your dog does not get enough zinc, it could cause hyperkeratosis, Zinc is important in your dog’s body because it ensures that protein works as it should in your dog’s system. Without zinc to regulate the proteins in your dog’s body, the protein could become excessive thereby resulting in hyperkeratosis which is caused by the excessive protein in the body.
  4. Diseases: Infectious diseases like the canine distemper virus and papillomavirus when they affect your dog’s body can trigger hyperkeratosis disease. Autoimmune diseases like pemphigus foliaceus can also cause hyperkeratosis in your dog. Pemphigus foliaceus is a skin disease in which your dog’s immune system attacks the connections between its own skin cells resulting in the skin being cracked and dry.


Read also: Dog Disease: 11 Dog Diseases That Kills a Dog in a Week


Symptoms of Hyperkeratosis in Dogs

Early detection of hyperkeratosis in your dog will prevent dire consequences. Here are some symptoms of hyperkeratosis to watch out for in your dog.

  1. Limping: If your dog starts walking with difficulty, it is a sign of hyperkeratosis and you should take him to a vet immediately.
  2. Loss of skin color in affected areas: hyperkeratosis changes the color of the skin where it affects, so if you notice any loss of skin color in your dog, you should seek medical attention because it could be hyperkeratosis.
  3. If your dog’s skin becomes dry with a crusty layer of the skin, your dog is exhibiting symptoms of hyperkeratosis.
  4. Reduced physical activity: if your dog is no longer active, jumping, running, and playing, it could be a symptom of hyperkeratosis because jumping and running could become painful and their paws because sensitive when they have hyperkeratosis.


Read also: Why is My Dog Always Angry? | Dog Behavior Explained


Other symptoms include;

  1. Licking of the affected paw
  2. Cracks, fissures, and bleeding
  3. Lameness
  4. Secondary infection


How to Treat Hyperkeratosis in Dogs

There is no cure yet for Hyperkeratosis in dogs but it could be managed in the following ways:

  1. Antibiotics: There are some antibiotics available that will help manage your dog’s hyperkeratosis. Ask your vet to recommend a good one for you.
  2. Ointments: There are ointments that you could apply to the affected area of your dog’s skin. These ointments help etiolate the growth of keratin and reduce your dog’s pain. However, every dog is different, make sure to check with your vet for a prescription before using any ointment on your dog’s skin.
  3. Feet soaking: You can soak your dog’s paw in warm water, add some and leave it for about 20 minutes. This exercise will help reduce the pains in the affected paw. Ensure you dry the paw thoroughly to prevent infection from entering the body through wet skin.
  4. You can take your dog to a vet periodically to get the excessive hyperkeratosis shell removed.


How to Prevent Hyperkeratosis in Dogs

In some breeds of dogs, hyperkeratosis can not be prevented because it is genetic so this breed of dogs is susceptible to having hyperkeratosis. Other breeds of dogs could develop this disease too. You can prevent it by;

  1. Keep your environment clean and free of bacteria that could harm your dog.
  2. Make sure that the nutrition plan of your dog does not contain too much protein to avoid it becoming excessive in the system and resulting in hyperkeratosis.
  3. Visiting a vet for an annual check-up on your dog.
  4. Vaccinating your dog against the canine distemper virus.
  5. Make sure your dog has enough zinc supplements that will help regulate protein in the body.
  6. You might want to consider wearing your dog socks if you live in extreme weather conditions, where it is either too cold or too hot. It will help reduce skin irritation on your dog’s skin which could result in hyperkeratosis.

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