There are always some conditions that seem to affect some dogs more than others, and in many cases, it’s due to age, or sex, or overall health. But sometimes, it’s breed-specific. Even then, it affects several. But when it comes to Bronzing Skin ― also called Dal Crud ― it’s a condition that is seen exclusively in Dalmatians.
What is Bronzing Skin?
Bronzing Skin is a syndrome caused by bacterial folliculitis. Common symptoms include crusty patches on the skin, hair loss, and of course, visible bronzing of the skin. This condition is exclusive to the Dalmatian breed, but not all of them get it, by any means. Often, it’s triggered by things like stress, allergies, traveling, or diet changes, sometimes even genetics.
Some things to keep an eye out for include visible bumps near inflamed hair follicles, as well as crusts and scabs forming near the bumps, caused by rupturing. Itchy skin, scaly skin, loss of hair around the bumps, and a patchy coat pattern ― all symptoms of this Bronzing Skin syndrome. The most telltale sign may be the bronze-colored hue that develops on the skin.
As mentioned, there are several factors that could cause this condition; the true cause of Bronzing Skin is debated, but there are some accepted theories. A big one is stress, which is a broad term in this case, and can refer to anything from moving homes and participating in big shows, to maybe having a less than consistent routine. Regardless of the stressor itself, the stress increases glucocorticoids, which allows bacteria to flourish. This, in turn, causes folliculitis.
In terms of genetic inherited defects, this is related to uric acid metabolism. Allergies can be airborne or food-related, as well as chemical or parasitic. Seemingly little things like changes in temperature and humidity can trigger Bronzing Skin syndrome, as well as changes in diet. Usually, a diet high in purine content is believed to be a factor.
To determine if it is Bronzing Skin syndrome that your Dalmatian is afflicted with, bring them to a veterinarian. The vet will look at visible symptoms, the history of these symptoms, and the results of a skin biopsy. Bacterial folliculitis can be confirmed through microscopic exams and cytology tests of skin scrapings, by identifying inflammatory cells and intracellular cocci.
There are other tests that can help identify the cause of the folliculitis, and this will in turn directly affect treatment. One of the first theories tested is generally allergies. An intradermal skin test will allow the vet to check your dog for allergies, such as molds, flea saliva, pollen, chemical irritants, or any particular foods. Next, your dog may be scanned for any endocrine disorders, Staphylococcal hypersensitivity, immune mediated disease, or seborrhea. Blood tests or DNA tests can be used to check your dog’s uric acid levels, and other things up for examination can be crusts or biopsied lesions, as well as ruptured pustules.
So if your beloved companion has Bronzing Skin, what can be done? First off, identifying the underlying cause is key in treating it. Once it has been determined, topical antiseptics, antibiotics, and antibacterial creams and shampoos are all good options for treatment. All of them may result in temporary coat changes, but that seems like a minor issue, considering. Usually, dealing with Bronzing Skin takes a while, and treatment is given for over 3 weeks. It’s only if no improvement has been seen after the first 7-10 days that the medication may have to be changed. If more aggressive treatment is needed, benzoyl peroxide is often recommended.
If you want to keep your dog at a lower risk of Bronzing Skin, try to keep the stress to a minimum, and keep an eye on their diet and its levels of uric acid. But if your dog were to get stuck with this condition, there is definitely help to be found.