Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
You've described a seborrheic condition and odor - often of smelly gym socks. Canine primary seborrhea is a hereditary disorder of keratinization - a problem with how the skin matures. Clinical signs may include a dull, dry, lusterless hair coat, excessive scaling (dandruff), follicular casts, scaly and crusty seborrheic patches and plaques, and greasy, malodorous skin. Most of the body is involved to some degree, with interdigital areas, perineum, face, axillae, ventral neck, abdomen, and skin folds usually most severely affected. Pruritis (itchiness) is mild to intense, and ceruminous otitis externa (waxy inflammation of the outer ear canal) is common. Secondary skin and ear infections with bacteria and Malassezia (yeast) are common.
Most cases aren't canine primary seborrhea, however. Secondary seborrheas are much more common and occur secondary to infections, allergies, endocrine (hormonal) disorders, parasitic infections, nutritional deficiencies, immune-mediated skin disease, metabolic disorders, and some skin cancers. Buddie's vet will need to clarify the etiology of a secondary seborrhea by performing a thorough physical exam, skin scrapings and a cytology of the skin (a microscopic exam of a sample of the skin surface).
For symptomatic control of seborrhea, antiseborrheic shampoos and emollients may be used every 2-7 days until the skin condition is improved (~2-3 weeks); then, bathing frequency should be decreased to every 1-2 weeks or as needed for maintenance. Look for shampoos containing various combinations of sulfur, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or phytosphingosine. These should be found over the counter in pet/feed stores or at your vet's hospital. Daily oral fatty acid supplementation may be helpful as an adjunct therapy (180mg EPA/5kg of body weight). The amount of EPA should be found on the label of the fatty acid supplement product.
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