Dog Hair Loss and Skin Changes

by Sonya

I have a seven year old female Am Staff that has started losing dog hair on her sides and tail. About a year ago I noticed her skin turning very dark, now she is losing hair at a rapid rate.

Her vet says not to worry it is a sign of old age, but I don't agree. She went from being an active, playful dog to just laying around sleeping all the time. Her dark skin feels no different than the normal parts of her skin and looks charcoal grey in color. She is an inside dog that gets regular baths and has a normal diet. What is wrong with her and what should I do to help her?

Vet Suggestion Regarding Dog Hair Loss and Skin Changes

Hi Sonya,

I am not able to diagnose the specific cause of your dog’s symptoms based on your description, but I agree with you that the changes you are witnessing are not likely to be due to aging.

You mentioned dog hair loss, skin changes, and lethargy in your message. This makes me think that a hormonal problem could be to blame. Has she been tested for hypothyroidism? Hormonal problems are a common cause of hair loss in dogs, particularly if itchiness is not evident.

If your dog were my patient, I’d perform some simple skin tests (cytology to rule out infection, scrapings looking for mites, and a fungal culture for ringworm), run a blood chemistry panel and complete blood count to screen her for a large number of diseases, and test her for hypothyroidism.

If you are not confident in your veterinarian’s ability to diagnose and treat this condition in your dog, it never hurts to go to another clinic for an exam and a second opinion.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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