Bred as household guard dogs in the Himalayan Mountains, the Lhasa Apso is named for the sacred city of Lhasa. This small dog is alert and long-haired. Its coat is heavy and forms a protective shield for the little sentinel dog.
The Lhasa Apso coat is long, dense and requires regular grooming to prevent matting. Matting allows parasites and infection to develop on the skin. Many owners prefer a short puppy-like coat for health and grooming reasons.
Sebaceous Adenitis (SA)
Lhasa Apso dogs with this inherited skin disease have inflamed oil glands. Symptoms are dandruff and greasy, scaly, dark skin. SA requires regular baths and scale removal.
Hereditary SA weakens and inflames skin, making it vulnerable to staph infections. Antibiotics are used for staph control.
Due to its genetic skin problems, the Lhasa is known for severe allergies or dermatitis causing skin rash and itching. Typical solutions include antihistamines, essential fatty acids and aggressive flea control.
When the Lhasa has recurring skin problems, a veterinarian performs a simple skin biopsy to confirm whether the dog has sebaceous adenitis. SA is not cured but is treatable.
Sebaceous Adenitis is such a severe skin and coat disease that many dogs, appearing permanently disfigured, bald and diseased, have been euthanized. Today owners and groomers manage the condition with oil baths and hypoallergenic shampoos.