Dermoid Sinus

by Elizabeth Akers

The Dermoid Sinus is a genetic condition found primarily in the Rhodesian Ridgeback. I have read that it is found also in the Thai Ridgeback and has been seen in some other breeds as well. The Dermoid Sinus is a neural tube defect — it is a hollow tube extending from muscle, the spinal cord or the vertebra up to the surface of the skin. Although the tube is often extremely narrow, it does contain hair, sebaceous glands and other attributes of the outer skin itself. As it is open to the surrounding environment at the surface of the skin, dirt and debris can accumulate inside the tube thus causing infection or an abscess. If the Dermoid Sinus is grounded in the spinal cord, it is my understanding that the dirt and debris travelling down the tube can enter the spinal fluid thereby causing such conditions as myelitis, encephalitis or meningitis. Some, but not all, Dermoid Sinuses can be surgically removed. Not all veterinarians are adept at this surgery so care should be taken to have the condition accurately diagnosed and treated. Dermoid Sinus are not always easy to find, they are rarely visible to the eye, and are sometimes confused with a vaccine reaction if there is a telltale lump on the dog's neck. Dermoid Sinus are found along the ridge line from head to tail although rarely has it been found in the actual ridge area on a ridged dog. 

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