Skin Fold Problems

Skin Fold Problems and Successful Long Term Management through Cleaning: A New Approach. Skin fold problems are very common and are often seen by the veterinarian. Certain breeds are more predisposed to skin fold issues than others. Wrinkly breeds such as the shar-pei, bulldog, pug and bloodhound by the very nature of their design are particularly prone to this type of condition and dogs where obesity has become an issue are also at risk due to folds created by excess fat.


Areas on the dog where skin folds are more prominent include closed environments like the face, lips, vulva, groin and armpit. In these areas the skin folds rub together and combined with humidity and poor ventilation, trap moisture creating the perfect environment for problems to occur. 

Clinical diagnosis is relatively simple and can be achieved usually by physical examination alone. Folds should be opened up and inspected at close quarters. Skin folds may appear red and moist and may be accompanied by a strong offensive odour. The condition can cause mild to significant discomfort and dogs suffering from skin fold problems may also lick or scratch the affected area.

There are various methods available for helping to manage skin fold problems. The only permanent cure involves surgical ablation of the skin fold but this may be considered a last resort and topical management is usually a more appropriate choice. Due to the fact that skin fold problems are usually confined to the surface of the skin, topical management such as using chlorhexidine based shampoos or washes will usually suffice and mild cases respond well to these.

However one of the main issues with topical management is owner compliance. Successful management relies heavily on successful compliance and labour intensive shampoo washes may prove difficult or burdensome for certain clients, especially if the dog is not overly tolerant of water baths.

For this reason a better alternative may be the use of a Chlorhexidine, based Wipe.  These Wipes also contain other ingredients, which assist in the management of the problem.

Chlorhexidine is a powerful antibacterial and can also help in the management of yeast overgrowth. When Chlorhexidine is used in low concentrations as found in Wipes, it is well tolerated with little reaction. This is an important consideration as some dogs may be intolerant to any drying or irritant qualities, which may be found in higher strength chlorhexidine preparations.

Furthermore, Chlorhexidine has a synergistic effect when combined with  TrisEDTA, which helps to maximise the action of these ingredients.

Climbazole, also contained in these Wipes, has an antibacterial and antifungal action and helps to regulate the turnover of skin cells .

Zinc gluconate has high lenitive properties and helps to keep skin folds free from  excessive moisture whilst encouraging the natural regeneration process of skin cells.

Glycerine has useful moisture regulating effects and helps to protect the skin.

When used in combination, these actives offer highly effective management of skin fold problems and when used in a Wipe, are really easy for clients to use, significantly improving client compliance. 

Without surgical intervention, skin fold problems have a high tendency to recur. Due to this, long-term at home maintenance by the client is imperative in helping prevent future issues. . Skin folds should be inspected and cleaned regularly and Wipes are a preferred choice for continued management of the folds.  Compared to shampoo therapy, the relative ease of applying a Wipe to cleanse and then leaving the area to dry in the air, may suit certain clients better and in doing so encourages improved long term compliance, which helps improve skin fold management in these breeds.

The use of Wipes is indicated for the daily cleansing of skin folds, interdigital spaces and inner pinnae problems, which helps to manage any overgrowth of bacteria and yeasts in areas of skin prone to problems.  The combination of the  active ingredients, together with ease of use for the client makes Wipes a very suitable alternative to shampooing when managing skin fold areas.