Schnauzer Bumps is an ailment which is also referred to as Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome or Comedo Syndrome.
Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome is thought to be a genetic condition which normally only affects Miniatures. Giants and Standard Schnauzers do not appear to inherit the condition.
A comedone is a blackhead. The definition of a blackhead, or open comedo, is "a plug of keratin and sebum within a hair follicle that is blackened at the surface."
Blackheads form when the hair follicles become blocked with too much keratin (a skin protein) and sebum, an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands to make the skin and fur waterproof and to protect them from drying out.
Symptoms of Schnauzer Bumps are normally fairly easy to detect and are often first noticed when the Miniature has just returned from the grooming salon after a short trim.
The owner may first notice small black bumps, or crusts, usually on the Miniature Schnauzer's back. Often falsely blamed on bad grooming, it is the normal trimming of the dog's hair which makes the bumps more visible.
Schnauzer Bumps don’t usually affect a dog's health unless they become infected. However, once infected with dirt or pus, they can become itchy and may even develop into abscesses or bumps. Some Miniature Schnauzers have them all the time, while others have an occasional flare-up.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Schnauzer Bumps and if your dog is unlucky enough to have inherited them, they will probably stay for life. The good news, however, is that they can be treated.
Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome is not a serious or life-threatening condition. Mild symptoms do not need any treatment and even in more severe cases, the worst outcome is irritation and itching.
However, if you suspect that your Miniature Schnauzer is suffering from the condition and it causing him some distress, you should take him to the vet so that allergies and other skin conditions can be ruled out. Your vet will be able to make a proper assessment of the severity of the condition and prescribe the correct treatment. He may take a biopsy under local anesthetic.
If you notice that the blackheads are spreading and affecting the surrounding skin on his back, your vet can prescribe a course of antibiotics to deal with this. He or she is also able to drain pus or dirt-filled bumps with a syringe. This does not cause any distress to the dog, but the blackheads may reoccur.
The blackheads may seem to disappear, but once a dog has been diagnosed with Schnauzer Bumps, the condition is permanent - although the symptoms may remain dormant for long periods.
There are a number of actions and medications which can help alleviate Schnauzer Bumps.
Bathing - Regularly bathe your dog – anything from twice a week to once every two weeks - using shampoos that break down the oils which plug the hair follicles. These shampoos contain antiseborrheic ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur or tar.
Dabbing - Use an astringent such as witch hazel or alcohop, to dry up the bumps.
Grooming - Keep your Schnauzer’s coat short.
Some owners have found that Schnauzer Bumps are not as bad during summer. Try and get your dog regularly out into the sunshine.
Sometimes Minis with flea allergies also have Schnauzer bumps. So use a flea treatment every eight weeks.
Try changing food and avoid foods containing corn or grain. Try a holistic food containing only natural products, or feed your Schnauzer a home-made recipe.
Daily supplements -
Vitamin E, vitamin A, zinc and omega oils all help to make a dog’s skin healthy. Feed a daily supplement which contains some of these, such as fish oil, which provides omega.
According to the Encyclopedia of Veterinary Medical Information, some Miniature Schnauzers with Comedone Syndrome respond well to isotretinoin (Accutane Rx) but this is an expensive treatment and only works in a small percentage of dogs.
Remedies from Owners
Here are some tried and tested remedies from Miniature Schnauzer owners who have written in to our website. They say that these suggestions have either helped to reduce the symptoms of Schnauzer Bumps or get rid of them completely. We are not recommending them, merely passing on the information. Remember to check with your vet before trying any new treatment:
Use a medicated shampoo with natural tea tree oil or rub antiseptic mouthwash over the affected area
Here's what another Miniature Schnauzer owner wrote: “My poor schnauzer was biting and itching constantly. My vet said that he may be allergic to grasses and pollens because it seems to only happen in the warmer months.
“Anyway, she told me to wipe an astringent on his back because he had little bumps all over it. I bought the Stridex Naturals pads that teenagers use for acne. I started wiping his back every day for the last week and he's not scratching any more....amazing. Make sure you get the formula with no alcohol so it doesn't dry his skin.”
Some owners have reported that switching their dog to a fish-based diet has helped lessen scratching. Others have suggested that home cooked food is best, provided you have the time to prepare the food. Generally, a small supplement of fish oil in the meal once a day also helps skin to stay healthy.
Here is a comment from reader Ann G: “Try Natural Balance Sweet Potato and Fish formula. My Schnauzer Charlie has skin issues and this food has helped him tremendously! Plus he LOVES it!”
A couple of readers wrote this about contact skin dermatitis: “My 8-month-old Mini Schnauzer also had a contact dermatitis around his neck and chest. I was surprised how extensive it was when I clipped his hair. The vet recommended twice-a-week baths with an oatmeal shampoo. I also applied organic coconut oil daily for a few weeks.
“This completely cured the dermatitis. I also put a capsule of fish oil with his food once a day and continue to give him twice weekly baths. His skin is great now...good luck!”
And from another reader: “I have been putting a teaspoon of Canola Oil in my Schnauzer’s food every other day and it has helped with the itching. I have shampooed the "new" carpet in hopes of removing any of the chemicals that could be irritating her and I have changed laundry detergent. After several loads of laundry everything has been washed.”
A third reader suggests rubbing pure Emu Oil into the affected areas.
Disclaimer: We are not veterinary experts. You should consult your veterinarian before embarking on a treatment for Schnauzer Bumps or any other ailment.
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