Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome

Schnauzer comedo syndrome is a skin disease seen predominantly in the Miniature Schnauzer breed. It bears similarity to developmental hair follicle dysplasia (nevus comedonicus) seen in humans. Comedones develop in a band along the spine. The severity and clinical signs vary among individual dogs. Most typical cases are carachterized by small crusted papules, nodules or comedones. Comedones may be small and require hand lens to be identified. Larger comedones are characterized by inflamed dilated hair follicles which contain dark keratinous debris. Mild scaling and swelling may be seen in more severe cases, which can be accompanied by a bacterial infection and scarring. A similarly identical disorder is occasionally seen in the Cairn Terrier breed and other rough-coated terriers. Age or sex predilection have not been reported.

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Long-term treatment is necessary. Topical treatments include antiseborrheic shampoos, especially those containing sulfur, salicylic acid, tar, and benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyle peroxide is included with antiseborrheic agents and has excellent antimicrobial activity. It is often formulated at 2.5% to 3% in veterinary products owing to its irritating effects at higher concentrations. Also, the excellent drying activity of benzoyle peroxide shampoos often necessitates the use of emollient or alternating treatments with a milder product. It should be purchased by prescription only from a reputable supplier as the bottle design is important for keeping the ingredients intact.4 In case of secondary infections, antibiotics may be prescribed as well as retinoids.

  • Papule - a small inflamed elevation of skin.
  • Nodule - a solid, raised bump in or under the skin that is wider than 10 millimeters.
  • Comedone - a small, flesh-colored, white, or dark bump that give skin a rough texture.
  • Emollient - a substance that helps retain water in the skin.
  • Retinoids - a family of drugs that are related to vitamin A.
  • Topical - pertaining to the surface of a body part and affecting only the area to which it is applied.
  • Dysplasia - an abnormality of development.


  1. Thelma Lee Gross. Skin Diseases of the Dog and Cat: Clinical and Histopathologic Diagnosis.
  2. Mordecai Siegal. UC Davis Book of Dogs.
  3. Sue Paterson, MA, VetMB, DVD. Skin Diseases of the Dog.
  4. Karen Helton Rhodes. The 5-minute veterinary consult clinical companion: small animal dermatology.

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