Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum

My 2 year old F1 Goldendoodle was diagnosed with Sebaceous Adenitis 2 weeks ago. He has significant hairloss, rancid odor and is covered with scabs and scales. We went through a cycle of antibiotics to control the secondary skin infection. We started him on a daily dose of Atopica.  The breeder will take him back and care for him on her ranch but I am torn. He is a great dog, it's just that this is a lifelong disease that is incurable and hard to manage.

Has anyone had experience with this?

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It's a very common genetic disease in Standard Poodles, which means that your breeder has it in her lines. She must absolutely stop breeding the parent poodle and/or any doodles who came from those lines.

My Jack has two immune-mediated diseases which can only be managed, not cured, one of them a genetic skin disease, and both of which Atopica is one drug that is used. So far we have avoided having to use it. There is a generic available, cyclosporine, which is less expensive, but I know it's still very costly. I'm assuming you don't have insurance for him?

We have a support group here for people with Atopic Dermatitis, which is a different inherited disorder, but the same issue of lifelong management with meds and no cures. Please feel free to join.

For me, there is no possibility of giving Jack up, regardless of how difficult or costly it is to manage his diseases, and I do not have insurance for him. But that's a personal decision that only you can make. I do give your breeder credit for being willing to take him back.

I hope you will be able to find peace with whatever decision you make, and I'm sorry you and your doodle are dealing with this.

Allyson, I would suggest you consider seeing a veterinary dermatology specialist. This has been a lifesaver for those of us whose dogs have skin diseases. The initial consultation may be a bit costly, but you may find that you have much less expensive options and a more effective treatment plan. The dermatology specialist will have seen dozens if not hundreds of cases and will have much more experience in knowing what may help your dog. Possibly, the Atopica may not even be necessary, at least not long term. I do know that Atopica can take 4-6 weeks to start showing an effect.

I think it would be worth it to get another opinion before you make this decision.

Here is a link to help you find a specialist:

There are a lot of genetic diseases that cannot be tested for, including the diseases that my dog has. The only way to be sure of the health of any puppy is to get one from a breeder who does not breed dogs under the age of 3 and who knows their lines several generations back, and even then, you can't know everything. When there is more than one breed involved, it gets even more difficult.

I can tell you that in my experience, the general practice vets are very quick to prescribe Atopica. I can't help believe that this is partly because they are the ones selling it to you and making a huge profit. There is no question that there's a conflict of interest there, no matter how well-intentioned a vet may be. My general practice vet immediately wanted to start Jack on Atopica (cyclosporine) for both his Atopic Dermatitis and now his IBD. However, the specialists felt differently. Both felt it should only be used as a last resort if we could not control the diseases with more conservative treatments. I also can't help thinking this may partly be because the specialists do not sell you the drugs like the regular vets do, and therefore have no incentive to recommend them if there are other options.

At the very least, even if he does need to be on it, you can almost certainly save some money on the costs. As I mentioned, the generic is significantly less expensive than the name-brand. Another possibility may be that the specialist will call in an Rx to a human pharmacy for you. This has saved me quite a bit of money with JD's IBD drugs. (For example, I paid $1 per pill for metronidazole at CVS versus $2 per pill from the vet, for the same drug.)  Alternatively, the specialist may be willing to fax an Rx to Foster & Smith or some other on-line source.

So it's definitely worth exploring.

Some resources:

About Sebaceous Adenitis

Poodle Club of America S.A. Info

Support Group for owners of dogs with S.A.

I'm sorry you are going through this. It's wonderful that the breeder will take him back and it's up to you but I don't think I could do that after 2 years. Are you positive he will get the right treatment if you give him back? Best of luck to you.

A neighbor of mine in my previous home has a Siberian Husky with this condition.  They tried many different things first to just figure out what it was, then to try to get her some relief.  Along with the medicine prescribed by the vet, they took baby oil that has vitamin E in it and massaged it all over her skin and left it on for 2 hours (they did this outside). Then they bathed her in Palmolive liquid to get the remaining baby oil off her skin since it can be poisonous if they ingest it. 

They said this has worked wonders for their dog Sasha. I saw her a few days after they started this and saw how much of her fur started growing back. They also said that all of her sores have since come off with the baby oil. She is still taking the medicine but they believe this baby oil massage has done more for her than the medicine.  When I left Texas a few months ago (this was about 5 months after starting these treatments) her coat was pretty much grown back in and she was almost back to normal.  

Yes, the links above all mention the oil baths as being extremely beneficial for S.A.

Oh my goodness Allyson you must just be heartbroken. I like many others could never give him up after two years but that is certainly something you and your family have to decide.

It certainly seems daunting...perhaps the baby oil treatment would be helpful for him?

I wish you the best and I hope your decision leaves you with peace whatever you do.

I just read through the two posts that Karen provided....assuming you have not tried all of these treatment options, perhaps you will be fortunate and one or two combined will work for you.

Good Luck.

Go to a vet who specializes in dermotology.  You will be glad you did.  Sometimes you need a referral from your vet to get an appointment with one.


If you live near a university with a veterinary school, call them and see if they have dermatolgy specialist.  You will get astonishing care for free or greatly reduced price.

I have a 19 month old Labradoodle that could very well have the same thing. I have researched and we are almost ready to do the biopsy. My breeder said she has no known cases...although I doubt her intelligence and honesty. I am wondering if you can tell me how your sweet pup has faired over the years and if you have found effective treatment?

 My 12 year old goldendoodle, Otis was diagnosed with sebaceous adenitis at about 4 years old. It is totally awful, the hair loss and the rancid smell that you write about are so accurate. We put him on Atopica for several years and it was so expensive, but very effective. It is a lifelong disease that is incurable. We did however after a few years of treatment begin to wean him off of all his meds; the antibiotics for secondary infections and the Atopica. He had about 5 years of being symptom free, but alas in the 12 year of my big guy's life the symptoms are back, He looks terrible and we are about a month back into treatment with Atopica and it seems to be working. We also spray him with propylene glycol, which can be purchased inexpensively on Amazon. This helps relieve some of the flaking and itching immediately. Hang in there with your dog, and perhaps experiment down the road to see if removing the dog from therapy for a bit is okay. Good luck, I will be looking for your posts to see how you are making out in fighting this miserable condition. Dean Myerow, Fort Laduerdale 



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