September 2016



Signalment (JPC# 2017878):  One-day-old Angus-cross calf

HISTORY:  The entire skin had a thick horny epidermis that was divided into large plates by deep fissures.

HISTOPATHOLOGIC DESCRIPTION:  Haired skin:  Diffusely the stratum corneum is severely thickened (up to 2 mm) by laminated anuclear keratin (orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis), which entraps hair shafts; the follicular epithelium is also mildly hyperkeratotic.  The subcorneal epidermis is mildly hyperplastic forming projections that interdigitate with the corneal layer (papillated hyperplasia).  Keratinocytes in the stratum granulosum and spinosum are occasionally degenerate with indistinct cell borders and a prominent perinuclear clear vacuole.  Several follicles are mildly ectatic with loss of hair shafts, while hair follicles within the deeper dermis often appear dysplastic.  The superficial dermis is mildly expanded by increased clear space (edema) and contains low numbers of neutrophils, lymphocytes, and plasma cells.  Diffusely, there is sebaceous gland atrophy.  Many apocrine glands are ectatic and lined by attenuated epithelium. 

MORPHOLOGIC DIAGNOSIS:  Haired skin, epidermis and follicular epithelium:  Hyperkeratosis, orthokeratotic, diffuse, severe, with sebaceous gland atrophy, Angus‑cross, bovine.

ETIOLOGIC DIAGNOSIS:  Hereditary congenital hyperkeratosis

CAUSE:  Autosomal recessive genetic defect (presumed)

CONDITION:  Ichthyosis fetalis

SYNONYM:  Fish scale disease




Cattle (both forms inherited as simple autosomal recessive traits):






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