If you see these or any type of skin lesion on your dog, contact your veterinarian right away. Often, it is easy to identify hyperkeratosis in dogs. However, because there can be other disorders present, your vet may talk to you about additional testing before treatment.
Skin impression testing involves pressing a slide onto your dog’s skin, and this slide is then stained and evaluated under a microscope. It can help determine if a bacterial infection is present, in which case antibiotics are usually recommended.
For other skin disorders, a skin punch biopsy will be necessary for definitive diagnosis, and baseline lab work such as blood and urine testing can be important in ruling out other causes. In cases of autoimmune disorders, your dog may need steroids and immunosuppressive drugs for treatment along with topical products.
One of the great things about skin is that it is an organ where veterinarians can directly apply medications for various conditions. Many of the topical therapies prescribed for hyperkeratosis are moisturizers oremollients. These are used to soften the skin and will therefore aid in the absorption of other topical products. Keratolytic agents such as salicylic acid, sulfur, and benzoyl peroxide are found in ointments and medicated shampoos that will help to dissolve keratin.
Routine foot soaks are great for paw pad hyperkeratosis, and there are many different topical balms and oils available to help soothe dry skin and noses. If your dog has nasal hyperkeratosis, consider a lower, flatter food bowl to avoid frequent rubbing along the bowl edges.