From Cow

Bovine ichthyosis fetalis is a rare autosomal recessive genetic skin disease of beef and dairy cattle worldwide[1].

In cattle, two inherited forms of ichthyosis have been reported, both caused by single autosomal recessive genes. The most severe and lethal form (fetal ichthyosis) was described in Norwegian Red, Friesian, and Brown Swiss calves. Congenital ichthyosis is less severe, and lesions are more localized[2].

Histopathological feature include excess compact orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis involving surface of the epidermis and follicular epithelia. Harlequin ichthyosis is a more severe form, where newborn calves have ichthyosis as well as small malformed ears, ectropion, eclabium and nasal deformities[3].

Ichthyosis needs to be differentiated from other skin diseases such as hypotrichosis, alopecia areata, demodectic mange and brand keratoma.

A separate syndrome has been identified in Charolais, where ichthyosis also appears with neurological disorders and skin sloughing from the joints, nose and palate[4].


  1. Molteni L et al (2006) Ichthyosis in Chianina cattle. Vet Rec 158(12):412-414
  2. Raoofi A et al (2001) Ichthyosis congenita in a calf in Iran. Vet Rec 149(18):563
  3. Cho JK et al (2007) Harlequin ichthyosis in a HanWoo calf. J Vet Med Sci 69(5):553-555
  4. Hill FI et al (2003) A triad of bovine inherited diseases. N Z Vet J 51(1):46