Skin Disease in Jack Russell Terriers

We received the following mail message from a vet regarding a skin disease found in some Jack Russell Terriers. If any of you have seen this disease, you might want to send mail to Dr. Dunstan.

I am a veterinarian on the faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. I specialize in diseases of skin (primarily small animals). Over the past several years I have come across an unusual heritable skin disease in JRT's that I am calling lamellar ichthyosis. It is present at birth and is recognized by the scales that surround the eyes and mouth and the large flakes of dandruff over its entire body. The amount of hair loss is varible and the belly of these dogs often is shiney. If you have seen it, you will know what I am talking about.

This is the 5th such JRT that I have found with this condition. At first appraisal it appears to be an autosomal recessive disease. I fear is that there are probably many carriers out there. Although this is bad news, it does appear a genetic test could potentially be devised that could recognize the carriers (who appear totally normal).

What I need is more information on this condtion from breeders. How common is it? I cannot believe that I am the only one to recognize this disease.

I now have an affected dog that I am keeping as a pet to see if an effective (although probably life-long) therapy can be devised. I hope it is effective because this is a horrible disease. Please help. All information given will be kept totally confidential.
I have seen how genetic skin disease can almost destroy certain breeds (dermatomyositis of Collies and Shelties, sebaceous adenitis of Standard Poodles) and do not want this to happen to another breed.


Bob Dunstan, D.V.M., M.S., D.A.C.V.P.
Professor of Pathology

Information Courtesy of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America