You Make The Diagnosis: Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Pictured below is a wonderful Rhodesian ridgeback named Callie.  Callie is a sweet girl who is shy about coming to the veterinarian.  She tried to crawl under the chair her owner was sitting on when I entered the room.  Smart girl!  

Some Rhodesian ridgebacks are born with a congenital abnormality associated with the ridge of hair on their backs.  Name the disease.


Diagnosis:  Dermoid Sinus

A dermoid sinus is an abnormal connection between the skin and central nervous system.  During development, the pup’s skin does not separate properly from the neural tube which eventually becomes the spinal cord and brain.  The hair and sebum cause inflammation which leads to abscesses and draining tracts.  Affected individuals are prone to bacterial meningitis. 

As you can see from the close up of Callie’s back, she is a healthy girl.  If she had a dermoid sinus, surgical repair would be indicated.  Although it is not an easy procedure, removal of the abnormal communication is the best way to prevent the infections associated with this disease. 

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.