Canine Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis

  • Sarah Colombini
    Gulf Coast Veterinary, Dermatology and Allergy, 1111 West Loop South, Suite 120, Houston, TX 77027
    From the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Clinics, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Search for articles by this author
      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.
      Zinc is important in a multitude of biologic functions, including regulation of the immune response, modulation of keratogenesis and wound healing, maintenance of normal reproductive function, and acuity of taste and smell. Zinc-responsive dermatosis is an uncommon disease of dogs which results from either an absolute or relative deficiency in zinc. Dermatologic lesions are characterized by erythema, alopecia, scales and crusts, primarily affecting the head. Two forms of the disease exist, a familial form affecting Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, and a form that affects growing puppies fed zinc-deficient or oversupplemented diets. History, clinical signs, and skin biopsy are typically diagnostic. Life-long zinc supplementation is usually necessary in the familial form, while dietary correction alone may be curative in the second form. Lethal acrodermatitiis is a rare, inherited disorder of Bull Terriers that does not respond to zinc supplementation and is invariably fatal.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribers receive full online access to your subscription and archive of back issues up to and including 2002.

      Content published before 2002 is available via pay-per-view purchase only.


      Subscribe to Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Aggett P.J.
        • Harries J.T.
        Current status of zinc in health and disease states.
        Arch Dis Child. 1979; 54: 909
        • Becker W.M.
        • Hoekstra W.G.
        The intestinal absorption of zinc.
        in: Skoryna S.C. WaldronEdward D. Intestinal Absorption of Metal Ions, Trace Elements, and Radionuclides. Pergamon Press, Oxford1971: 229-256
        • Brown R.G.
        • Hoag G.N.
        • Smart M.E.
        • et al.
        Alaskan Malamute chondrodysplasia v. decreased gut zinc absorption.
        Growth. 1978; 42: 1
        • Chvapil M.
        Effect of zinc on cells and biomembranes.
        Med Clin North Am. 1976; 60: 799
        • Codner E.C.
        • Thatcher C.D.
        Nutritional management of skin disease.
        Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet. 1993; 15: 411
        • Colombini S.
        • Dunstan R.W.
        Zinc-responsive dermatosis in northern-breed dogs: 17 cases (1990-1996).
        JAVMA. 1997; 211: 451
        • Cunnane S.C.
        Differential regulation of essential fatty acid metabolism to the prostaglandins: Possible basis for the interaction of zinc and copper in biological systems.
        Prog Lipid Res. 1982; 21: 73
        • Degryse A.D.
        • Fransen J.
        • Van Cutsem J.
        • et al.
        Recurrent zinc-responsive dermatosis in a Siberian Husky.
        J Small Anim Pract. 1987; 28: 721
        • Evans G.W.
        • Johnson P.E.
        • Prostaglandin E.
        The zinc-binding ligand in human breast milk.
        Clin Res. 1977; 25: 536
        • Fadok V.A.
        Zinc responsive dermatosis in a Great Dane: A case report.
        J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 1982; 18: 409
        • Fisher G.L.
        Effect of disease on serum copper and zinc values in the Beagle.
        Am J Vet Res. 1977; 38: 935
        • Hostynek J.J.
        • Hinz R.S.
        • Lorence C.P.
        • et al.
        Metals and the skin.
        Crit Rev Toxicol. 1993; 23: 171
        • Hunt J.R.
        • Johnson P.E.
        • Swan P.B.
        Dietary conditions influencing relative zinc availability from foods to the rat and correlations with in vitro measurements.
        J Nutr. 1987; 117: 1913
        • Hurley L.S.
        • Swenerton H.
        Lack of mobilization of bone and liver zinc under teratogenic conditions of zinc deficiency in rats.
        J Nutr. 1971; 101: 597
        • Jezyk P.F.
        • Haskins M.E.
        • MacKay-Smith W.E.
        • et al.
        Lethal acrodermatitis in Bull Terriers.
        JAVMA. 1986; 188: 833
        • Kane E.
        • Morris J.G.
        • Rogers Q.R.
        • et al.
        Zinc deficiency in the cat.
        J Nutr. 1981; 111: 488
        • Keen C.L.
        • Lonnerdal B.
        • Fisher G.L.
        Seasonal variations and the effects of age on serum copper and zinc values in the dog.
        Am J Vet Res. 1981; 42: 347
        • Kirk R.W.
        Nutrition and the integument.
        J Small Anim Pract. 1991; 32: 283
        • Kunkle G.A.
        Zinc-responsive dermatoses in dogs.
        in: Kirk R.W. Current Veterinary Therapy VII. WB Saunders, Philadelphia1980: 472-476
        • Kwochka K.W.
        Primary keratinization disorders of dogs.
        in: Griffin C.E. Kwochka K.W. MacDonald J.M. Current Veterinary Dermatology, The Science and Art of Therapy. Mosby Year Book, St. Louis1993: 176-190
        • Lansdown A.B.G.
        • Sampson B.
        Trace metals in keratinising epithelia in beagle dogs.
        Vet Ree. 1997; 141: 571
        • Lewis P.K.
        • Hoekstra W.G.
        • Grummer R.H.
        Restricted calcium feeding versus zinc supplementation for the control of parakeratosis in swine.
        J Anim Sei. 1957; 16: 578
        • Lewis P.K.
        • Hoekstra W.G.
        • Grummer R.H.
        • et al.
        Effect of certain nutritional factors including calcium, phosphorus, and zinc on parakeratosis in swine.
        J Anim Sei. 1956; 15: 741
        • Logas D.
        • Kunkle G.A.
        • McDowell L.
        Comparison of serum zinc levels in healthy, systemically ill and dermatologically diseased dogs.
        Vet Dermatol. 1993; 4: 61
        • Miller J.K.
        • Miller W.J.
        Experimental zinc deficiency and recovery of calves.
        J Nutr. 1962; 76: 467
        • Molokhia M.
        • Portnoy B.
        Neutron activation analysis of trace elements in skin.
        Br J Dermatol. 1969; 81: 110
        • Moriello K.A.
        Dermatology update: Applying recent advances to practice.
        Vet Med. 1989; 84: 1148
        • National Research Council
        Nutrient Requirements of Dogs. National Academy Press, Washington, DC1985
        • Neidner K.H.
        The zinc compound test.
        Arch Dermatol. 1980; 116: 39
        • Nelson D.R.
        • Wolff W.A.
        • Blodgett D.J.
        • et al.
        Zinc deficiency in sheep and goats: Three field cases.
        JAVMA. 1984; 184: 1480
        • Norris D.
        Zinc and cutaneous inflammation.
        Arch Dermatol. 1985; 121: 985
        • Ohlen B.
        • Scott D.W.
        Zinc-responsive dermatitis in puppies.
        Canine Pract. 1986; 13: 6
        • Pal A.
        • Basak D.N.
        • Chakrabarti A.
        Biochemical studies of serum and hair in experimental canine pyoderma.
        Indian Veterinary Journal. 1995; 72: 481
        • Pekarek R.S.
        • Sandstead H.H.
        • Jacob R.A.
        • et al.
        Abnormal cellular immune responses during acquired zinc deficiency.
        Am J Clin Nutr. 1979; 32: 1466
        • Riordan J.F.
        Biochemistry of zinc.
        Med Clin North Am. 1976; 60: 661
        • Robertson B.T.
        • Burns M.J.
        Zinc metabolism and the zinc-deficiency syndrome in the dog.
        Am J Vet Res. 1963; 24: 997
        • Sanecki R.K.
        • Corbin J.E.
        • Forbes R.M.
        Extra cutaneous histologic changes accompanying zinc deficiency in pups.
        Am J Vet Res. 1985; 46: 2120
        • Schroeder H.A.
        • Nason A.P.
        • Tipton I.H.
        • et al.
        Essential trace metals in man: Zinc. Relation to environmental cadmium.
        Journal of Chronic Disease. 1967; 20: 179
        • Scott D.W.
        • Miller W.H.
        • Griffin C.E.
        Nutritional skin diseases.
        in: Muller and Kirk’s Small Animal Dermatology. 5. WB Saunders, Philadelphia1995: 897
        • Smits B.
        • Croft D.L.
        • Abrams-Ogg A.C.G.
        Lethal acrodermatitis in bull terriers: A problem of defective zinc metabolism.
        Vet Dermatol. 1991; 2: 91
        • Sousa C.A.
        • Stannard A.A.
        • Ihrke P.J.
        • et al.
        Dermatosis associated with feeding generic dog food: 13 cases (1981–1982).
        JAVMA. 1988; 192: 676
        • Stewart L.J.
        Newly reported skin disease syndromes in the dog.
        Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract. 1990; 20: 1603
        • Thoday K.L.
        Diet-related zinc-responsive skin disease in dogs: A dying dermatosis?.
        J Small Anim Pract. 1989; 30: 213
        • Uchida Y.
        • Moon-Fanelli A.A.
        • Dodman N.H.
        • et al.
        Serum concentrations of zinc and copper in Bull Terriers with lethal acrodermatitis and tail-chasing behavior.
        Am J Vet Res. 1997; 58: 808
        • Underwood E.J.
        Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition. 4. Academic Press, New York1977
        • van den Broek A.H.M.
        Diagnostic value of zinc concentrations in serum, leucocytes and hair of dogs with zinc-responsive dermatosis.
        Res Vet Sci. 1988; 44: 41
        • van den Broek A.H.M.
        • Simpson J.W.
        Fat absorption in dogs with demodicosis or zinc-responsive dermatosis.
        Res Vet Sci. 1992; 52: 117
        • van den Broek A.H.M.
        • Thoday K.L.
        Skin disease in dogs associated with zinc deficiency: A report of five cases.
        J Small Anim Pract. 1986; 27: 313
        • Wells B.T.
        • Winkelmann R.K.
        Acrodermatitis enteropathica. Report of 6 cases.
        Arch Dermatol. 1961; 84: 40
        • Willemse T.
        Zinc-related cutaneous disorders of dogs.
        in: Kirk R.W. Bonagura J.D. Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy XI. WB Saunders, Philadelphia1992: 532-534
        • Wolf A.M.
        Zinc-responsive dermatosis in a Rhodesian Ridgeback.
        Vet Med. 1987; 82: 908
        • Wright R.P.
        Identification of zinc-responsive dermatoses.
        Vet Med. 1985; 80: 37