What is Ventral Comedo Syndrome in Dogs?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
A disease that only affects Schnauzers, ventral comedo syndrome or Schnauzer comedo syndrome, can be a real irritation for dogs.

More commonly known as Schnauzer Comedo syndrome or Schnauzer bumps, ventral comedo syndrome is a condition that only affects the Schnauzer breed. This disease manifests with wart-like bumps along the dog’s spine or ventral region. While the condition is not contagious or inherently harmful, it can be itchy or irritating. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are the Causes and Symptoms?

Though the symptoms may vary from one dog to another, Schnauzer Comedo Syndrome typically manifests with black, crusty bumps that form on the skin. The bumps often appear first as raised pimple- or wart-like lesions that might develop a black center or crust over. In some cases, the bumps will become filled with pus or they may ooze liquid. Other symptoms may include hair loss, thickening of the skin, itching, red or irritated patches of skin, and a strong odor. The causes of this condition may include a genetic predisposition (it only affects the Schnauzer breed) or blocked sebaceous glands.

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In most cases, Schnauzer bumps appear on the dogs back along the spine and they often appear overnight. In some dogs, the bumps may appear and disappear frequently, or it can be a one-time thing. These bumps don’t pose any serious risk to your dog’s health, but they can be uncomfortable when they cause itching or irritation. Medicated shampoos and other topical solutions are available to relieve this discomfort, though there is no cure for the condition.

How is the Disease Treated?

Diagnosis of this condition is usually fairly straightforward since it only affects the Schnauzer breed. If you take your dog to the vet with bumps along his back, he will likely do some preliminary lab tests such as blood work, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis to rule out other conditions. He will then ask questions about when you first noticed the bumps and how often they have flared up. You may also be asked about the dog’s diet, environment, and sleeping conditions to potentially identify a trigger for the condition. The combination of these things and physical exam is usually enough to make a diagnosis.

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Once your veterinarian has diagnosed your dog with ventral comedo syndrome, he may recommend one of several treatment options. If your vet suspects that there is a secondary infection (usually indicated by pus-filled lesions on the dog’s back), he may prescribe oral antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks. If the condition is fairly mild, topical medications or medicated shampoos may be enough to keep the area clean so the condition can resolve itself. Because the condition can only be managed and not cured, close monitoring of your dog is recommended. Taking a vitamin A supplement may help as well.

Though Schnauzer comedo syndrome has no cure, it is not a dangerous disease and it can be managed. Most dogs make a full recovery, though some do experience flare-ups from time to time. The best thing you can do is feed your dog a healthy diet, keep his environment clean, and check in with your vet every six months or so.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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