AskDefine | Define ichthyosis

Dictionary Definition

ichthyosis n : any of several congenital diseases in which the skin is fishlike (dry and scaly)

User Contributed Dictionary



Modern , from ichthyo- + -osis.


  • /ɪkθɪ'əʊsɪs/


  1. A disease which gives the sufferer a dry, scaly skin.
    • 1926: A well-marked case of pseudo-leprosy or ichthyosis, a scale-like affection of the skin, unsightly, obstinate, but possibly curable, and certainly non-infective. — Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier’ (Norton 2005, p. 1506)

Extensive Definition

Ichthyosis is a family of rare, generalized, genetic skin disorders. The word comes from Greek ιχθύωση and Ancient Greek ιχθύς, „fish“. The most common type of ichthyosis is ichthyosis vulgaris.


There are several forms of ichthyosis. Most forms of ichthyosis are genetic conditions, which can be divided into two main groups:
  1. noncongenital (vulgar) ichthyosis, which is not present at birth but develop within the first few months after birth.
  2. congenital ichthyosis, which is present at birth
Ichthyosis acquisita is acquired and not inherited. It is a manifestation of other diseases.

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.


A physician often can diagnose ichthyosis by looking at the skin. A family history is also very useful. In some cases, a skin biopsy will be done to help to confirm the diagnosis. In a biopsy, a small piece of skin is removed and examined under a microscope. In some instances, genetic testing may be helpful in making a diagnosis. Ichthyosis is not more or less common in any ethnic group. As of now, there is no way to prevent ichthyosis.


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.
ichthyosis in German: Ichthyose
ichthyosis in Spanish: Ictiosis
ichthyosis in French: Ichtyose
ichthyosis in Italian: Ittiosi
ichthyosis in Georgian: იქთიოზი
ichthyosis in Japanese: 魚鱗癬
ichthyosis in Norwegian: Iktyose
ichthyosis in Polish: Rybia łuska
ichthyosis in Turkish: İktiyozis
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