Zinc Responsive Dermatitis

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"The Fonz"
Barked: Mon May 9, '11 10:14am PST 
Has anyone ever had to deal with ZRD with their Siberian? My 1 year old boy has been showing signs, but the local vet has never seen this condition before. We are 95% sure this is what Shadow has, but just wondering if anyone can possibly confirm?... I have some pics posted on Shadow's dogster link.
Thank you!!
Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
Barked: Tue May 10, '11 1:44pm PST 
Yep. Vance started showing signs last July. Itching, sensitive skin, dull, brownish coat, shedding constantly, losing weight, breaking nails that would not heal. He was 8 years old at the time, which is late for ZRD to appear from what I've heard and seen. He's always had a cruddy digestive system, though, and I think it's probably related in his case.

I hear there are blood tests to confirm zinc deficiency in humans, but with dogs it seems to be a matter of putting them on zinc and seeing what happens. Definitely don't wait for your vet to decide this is ZRD - most of them have NOT heard of it, and there is no reason for an otherwise healthy dog on a balanced diet to suddenly become zinc deficient. Of the three vets I see regularly, the only one who knew about the condition has Huskies herself.

There was another Husky whose owners I advised to start supplementing zinc after months of hot spots, extreme itching, dull coat and hair loss. They had been to the vet repeatedly and all tests (bloodwork, skin scrapings, etc) had been normal. When they went back to the vet to ask about supplementing zinc, the vet actually argued with them. The vet said that since their Husky didn't have any broken nails or sores on it's pads, it could not possibly be zinc-related. Thankfully they worked something out and the dog is now on zinc. I've met another Husky whose back pads rotted away before anyone figured out what was wrong - he has to wear boots all the time now.

In all cases I've known of, it takes a few weeks for the zinc to get back into their system. Once it does, the change is almost instant and it's like there was never a problem at all.

ETA: As to your photos, there are general sets of symptoms, but they won't all necessarily be present in every dog. Plus, all symptoms can be signs of something else - part of what makes dealing with vets who are not familiar with ZRD difficult.

He could absolutely have ZRD - especially having sores as well, but for what it's worth I have seen abrasions around the nose like that caused by plastic dishes, or rubbing against chew toys.

Edited by author Tue May 10, '11 1:49pm PST


"The Fonz"
Barked: Tue May 10, '11 2:21pm PST 
Thank you for the very helpful info!
I really hope Shadow's condition doesn't get as bad as some you've seen. Shadow has had scabs forming on his head, face, legs and now on his back and a couple on his scrotum for about a month now. We have been to the vet twice and were prescribed steroids and antibiotics, which neither helped. And neither vet we saw had any idea what may have been wrong. I searched the web and found that the most possible diagnosis is Zinc responsive dermatitis. Went to the vet AGAIN and they had never seen this before but also believe it may be ZRD after I did all the leg work to find information on the condition. We changed dog foods yesterday and have been giving him zinc supplements for about a week. As for the bowls, he eats and drinks out of stainless steel bowls, but alot of his toys are kongs (since he just destroys anything and everything else) so that may be a possibility...

Helinkaja's - Troy Tayroh,- CGC,

When in doubt,- talk. And eat.
Barked: Fri Jan 13, '12 8:56pm PST 
How is your boy Shadow doing? My male has had lesions around his mouth and pads were almost raw. I supplemented his zinc again and put him on a multi-vitamin food balancer and he's better. But, he still has lesions on his scrotum and they're getting worse. In all other ways, he's looking better. By the way, recommended administration of zinc is just one dose a day. Mine is now on 100 mg of zinc citrate in the morning. My boy's mother, Jeksu had it bad after her first litter with her 1st owner. She is completely cleared up, but it took me 3 years.