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Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome is a skin disorder frequently inherited by the miniature Schnauzer. It causes the formation of several "comedones" along the back of the dog, at any position up and down the spinal ridge. These comedones are simply just hair follicles that are blocked by an excess of skin oils and keratin, not much different from the blackheads that a human might suffer from. Not much is known about what factors contribute to the inheritance of this disease, but it is known to be hereditary, and it only seems to affect the miniature Schnauzer.
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Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome can be spotted rather easily, and is usually noticed first after the dog's hair is clipped short as a matter of routine grooming. This can lead many to think initially that the small bumps, blackheads, and scabs they find on their animal is the result of improper grooming or an allergic reaction to something used in the grooming process. Instead, it is usually simply that the shorter hair makes the disease more apparent. Nevertheless, steps should be taken to rule out allergic reactions before Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome is officially diagnosed. If the disease is suspected and all the signs of manifestation are present, your veterinarian will typically just take a very small skin biopsy from your dog under local anesthetic and have this analyzed.
Generally speaking, Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome is not a very serious disease. At most it causes an unsightly appearance that will likely make an animal unsuited for the show ring, or it might cause the Schnauzer to become somewhat more sensitive to having his or her back touched. Other than that, the blackheads will form small boil-like blisters which swell and drain and reform on a regular basis without much difficulty or significant interference with the dog's regular lifestyle. On occasion, however, it has been observed that comedones can become the target of bacterial infection which begins to affect the surrounding skin at a rapid rate. Care should always be taken to ensure that this is not happening with your Schnauzer. If you observe symptoms such as fever, or uncommonly itchy skin on the back that seems more red and swollen than usual, it should be treated as soon as possible with antibiotics from your veterinarian.
There is no real cure for Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome, but as we said above, it can be managed to the extent that it has no significant effect upon your dog's quality of life. The mildest cases will require no treatment at all and simply manage themselves, but if bacterial infections seem to occur over and over again, it's likely that your veterinarian will prescribe a regular cleaning regimen with anti-acne products and shampoos designed to reduce the amount of oil on your Schnauzer's coat, thus hopefully curbing the severity of the outbreaks to some extent.
Because of its adverse affects on showing a dog, Schnauzers with Schnauzer Comedone Syndrome generally aren't bred, in hopes that the disorder will eventually become less common or disappear from the breed altogether.
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