14 January 2012 @ 06:12 pm
leaving this public - ZRD information/awareness  
Have a northern breed of dog that has red bumps around the muzzle, eyes, ears and/or paws? Have you taken him to the vet and spent lots of money trying to figure out what it is? Does your northern breed of dog seem in pain because of it? Is he scratching at them a lot? Are you at a loss, and considering putting him out of his misery? WAIT!!!

It is very likely that he has what is called Zinc Responsive Dermatitis ( ZRD). It is common in northern breeds, but shockingly not very many vets are aware of this. Please take a moment to read this article.

"Zinc Deficiency and Zinc Responsive Dermatosis (ZRD)

Zinc Deficiency is a common ailment amongst sled dogs today, generally more so amongst those fed on complete food than on a raw diet. It is not actually a lack of zinc in the diet itself, but an inability to process zinc in its regular from that leads to a deficiency in the dog's system. It is believed to commonly affect huskies and northern breeds of dog because they evolved to survive on diets containing lots of fish and sea-creatures. The flesh of these animals would have been particularly high in naturally digestible forms of zinc (and also vitamin A which is important for zinc absorption)). Often the diets we feed our huskies and sled dogs do not provide enough zinc, or provide it in forms that are difficult to digest.

Sled Dogs are most likely to be affected by zinc deficiencies during times of stress, hormonal changes such as puberty, or for females, seasons or pregnancy.

Zinc deficiency manifests as 'zinc responsive dermatosis' (ZRD) in many dogs. This is a skin condition that primarily affects areas of the face and head, particularly the muzzle, ears and around the eyes. Hair-loss occurs and red, scaly patches of skin develop.

ZRD can usually be cured very quickly and easily by including a zinc supplement in the dog's diet. Many owners in the UK use a veterinary medicine called ZICADERM. Others simply purchase zinc supplements intended for human consumption. Chelated zinc tablets are widely available from health food suppliers, usually in 15mg tablets, of which owners would generally give an adult dog one per day while symptoms persist. Zinc sulphate is also known to be effective, and would be given at 10mg per 1kg of dog (ie if the dog weighs 20kg, you would give it 200mg per day). As always, do check with your vet before giving your pet any medication.

In the long term, a great way to improve your dogs zinc levels is to regularly provide fresh fish or fish oil supplements as part of their diet. Another alternative is to include kelp in your dog's diet. This is a very effective way to provide additional zinc, as well as a host of other beneficial nutrients. Half to one teaspoon a couple of times a week should be enough for most adult Siberians, and is an effective preventative measure in most cases, acting to 'top-up' zinc levels in the dog's diet before problems occur, or to prevent relapse."

source: http://www.huskyresources.com/zrd.html

Do not simply pump your dog full of zinc, as you'll be risking zinc poisoning which leads to organ failure. It does take a lot of zinc to cause this, however.

Here is a very informative thread on a forum I regulate. As stated, ZRD isn't as widely known as it should be, so the cause of it ( whether genetics or otherwise) has yet to be known. That being said, some of the things said in this thread are observations or opinion. And with not many vets knowing about it, it is the best we can do.

Vets may often mistake it as red mange. While ZRD may result in temporary hair loss around the effected area, red mange is more widely spread around the skin and results in clumps of fur falling out. If your husky has red bumps around his muzzle, eyes, ears and/or paws and is losing a lot of fur, be aware that doesn't mean he definitely has red mange. Huskies do what is commonly called "blowing their coat".

Blowing their coat is nothing to be alarmed about. It is merely caused by change of season. They shed their under coat, getting ready for spring. And then shed their under coat getting a fuller, thicker one in time for winter. It simply results in needing a good brushing (a few grocery bags to put the fur in may be required), and/or grooming.

If you are concerned, always take your dog to the vet. But if your vet is stumped, consider it to be ZRD while your dog is blowing his coat.

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