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ICD-10 Q80.
ICD-9 757.1
DiseasesDB 6646
MeSH D007057

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Raviteja Guddeti, M.B.B.S. [2]

Synonyms and keywords: Scaling skin, Fish scale disease


Ichthyosis is a family of genetic dermatological conditions seen in humans and domestic animals. People or animals with ichthyosis have scaly skin which can vaguely resemble the scales of a fish.

Historical Perspective

The word comes from Greek ιχθύωσις lit. "forming fish", as people or animals with ichthyosis have scaly skin which can vaguely resemble the scales of a fish.

The term ichthyosis is sometimes used to refer to the specific condition ichthyosis vulgaris. Ichthyosis was formerly referred to as "pseudo-leprosy," as it can produce an appearance superficially similar to that of leprosy.


While ichthyosis acquisita is acquired (as its name indicates), most forms of ichthyosis are considered congenital. These types include:

Some types of ichthyosis include:

Epidemiology and Demographics

Ethnicity is not associated with ichthyosis.

Ichthyosis in domestic dogs

Ichthyosis of varying severity is well-documented in some popular breeds of domestic dogs. The most common breeds in which this condition manifests itself are Golden retrievers, American bulldogs, Jack Russell terriers, and Cairn terriers.



  • Dry skin
  • Scaly skin
  • Thick skin

Physical Examination

  • Dry, scaly skin

Lab tests

  • Skin biopsy


Treatments for ichthyosis often take the form of topical application of creams and emollient oils, in an attempt to hydrate the skin. Retinoids are also used for some conditions. Exposure to sunlight may improve or worsen the condition.

There can be ocular manifestations of ichthyosis, such as corneal and ocular surface diseases. Vascularizing keratitis, which is more commonly found in congenital keratitis-ichythosis-deafness (KID), may worsen with isotretinoin therapy. Ectropion, if it occurs, can be treated surgically after skin hydration.

As of now, there is no way to prevent ichthyosis.


See also

External links


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