Cutaneous mucinosis

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A 7-year-old Shar Pei with cutaneous mucinosis and mastocytosis[1]

Cutaneous mucinosis (cutaneous hyaluronosis) is a skin disease of dogs characterized by the accumulation of excessive amounts of dermal collagen, elastic fibres, vessels and mucopolysaccharide hyaluronan (ground substance).

This is a relatively nonpathogenic breed-related skin disorder with a predisposition in the Shar Pei[2] and Doberman.

The condition has also been reported in dogs with hypothyroidism[3].

In the Shar Pei, a preponderance of epithelial mast cells[4] and circulating levels of hyaluronic acid[5] are involved in this hereditary condition, which may predispose to future development of mast cell tumors in this breed.

In most dogs, cutaneous mucinosis presents as a distinctive area of alopecia and wrinkled and thickened skin.

A diagnosis is usually based on visual examination of skin and biopsies for histological examination.

A differential diagnosis would include alopecia, dermatomyositis, sebaceous adenitis, Malassezia dermatitis, pyoderma and atopy[6].


  1. López A et al (1999) Cutaneous mucinosis and mastocytosis in a shar-pei. Can Vet J 40(12):881-883
  2. Docampo MJ et al (2011) Increased HAS2-driven hyaluronic acid synthesis in shar-pei dogs with hereditary cutaneous hyaluronosis (mucinosis). Vet Dermatol 22(6):535-545
  3. Doliger S et al (1995) Histochemical study of cutaneous mucins in hypothyroid dogs. Vet Pathol 32(6):628-634
  4. Welle M et al (1999) Mast cell density and subtypes in the skin of Shar Pei dogs with cutaneous mucinosis. Zentralbl Veterinarmed A 46(5):309-316
  5. Zanna G et al (2008) Cutaneous mucinosis in shar-pei dogs is due to hyaluronic acid deposition and is associated with high levels of hyaluronic acid in serum. Vet Dermatol 19(5):314-318
  6. Teifke JP et al (1998) Significance and possibilities of histopathologic diagnosis in breed-specific skin diseases. Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere 26(4):247-258