Ichthyosis (gen SLC27A4, Great Dane)

Ichthyosis is a disease that damages the stratum corneum of the epidermis causing the skin to thicken and flake and, consequently, increasing the risk of skin infections in affected dogs.


Puppies affected by ichthyosis have abnormal skin at birth. The skin is rough and covered with thick, greasy scales, some of which adhere tightly to the skin and coat, and some of which flake off in scales. The paw pads may thicken and cause pain. The disease usually worsens with age and becomes chronic and severe for life. No other symptoms affecting other tissues are observed.

Disease Management

Currently, there is no cure for ichthyosis in dogs. Management of the disease focuses on alleviating the symptoms and improving the quality of life of the animal and requires ongoing care and veterinary follow-up. If you suspect that your dog may be affected by this disease, it is important to take him to a veterinarian for advice on the most appropriate treatments. Possible treatments include mild anti-seborrheic shampoos, moisturizers and synthetic retinoids.

Genetic basis

This disease follows an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Autosomal recessive inheritance means that the dog, regardless of sex, must receive two copies of the mutation or pathogenic variant to be at risk of developing the disease. Both parents of an affected dog must carry at least one copy of the mutation. Animals with only one copy of the mutation are not at increased risk of developing the disease, but may pass the mutation on to future generations. Breeding between dogs carrying genetic variants that can cause disease, even if they do not show symptoms, is not recommended.

Technical report

In dogs, several mutations associated with ichthyosis have been detected that are breed-specific and follow an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. In Great Dane dogs it has been shown that the c.1250G>A mutation in the SLC27A4 gene, analyzed here, could be the cause of ichthyosis in this breed. The SLC27A4 gene produces a protein involved in the translocation of long-chain fatty acids across the plasma membrane and is believed to be critical in skin development.

Most affected breeds

  • Great Dane


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