Causes and Treatment of a Dog Losing Hair
"There are multiple causes for a dog losing hair. Veterinarians will first determine if the hair loss was caused by scratching or itching, or if was due to some other reason. Some are specific to a certain breed and others can become a problem for any breed. Common causes of dog hair loss include bacterial infection, fungal infection, thyroid related disease or parasites (mange, fleas). More complex reasons include those that are hormonal such as hyperthyroidism. Not all hair loss can be explained. Like humans, a dog can even suffer from baldness. Itching and scratching are related to skin problems such as allergy or parasites. Patchy or asymmetrical hair loss indicates problems such as a bacterial skin infection, mites or fungal skin infection. Symmetrical alopecia or hair loss indicates problems such as Hyperadrenocorticism and hypothyroidism.If you cannot find the cause consider a change in diet and possibly supplementation with melatonin, herbal remedies for omega-3 fatty acids."
Dog hair loss has multiple reasons. Many can be
explained by medication reasons, some due to poor diet, bathing and
nutrition and others have no explanation.
Watch this video featuring Dr. Patrick McHale reviewing the most
common causes of a dog losing hair on behalf of the Dog Health Guide:
There are many medical and unknown reasons for a dog losing hair condition. Reasons include:
Causes Of Dog Hair Loss
Disease or Dog Hair Problem
|Dog Hair Related and other Symptoms||Treatment||
Hyperadrenocorticism (excessive production of glucocorticoids)
|Dull hair coat, slow hair growth, coat color change, partial-to-complete symmetric hair loss (alpaca) of the rump||glucocorticoids, adrenalectomy (surgical removal of the adrenal glands which are two glands located above the kidneys)||
Dogs with condition can live 3 years with some over 10
|Dull brittle coat, lethargy, obesity, depression||Hormone replacement therapy with levothyroxine||
Lifelong medications, should have no effect on life span
|Follicular dysplyasia||Non inflammatory dog losing hair (alopecia), except on the head and limbs||Retinoids (vitamin A derivative), melatonin (stimulates hormone production)||Excellent, hair will regrow|
|Cyclic follicular dysplasia||Hair loss on the trunk of your dog, hair regrows after 3 to 4 months. Possible changes in skin color||Melatonin (stimulates hormone production)||Excellent with treatment, could be induced by poor care or too much sun|
|Pattern baldness (often seen in Dachshunds and Greyhounds)||Hair loss (Alopecia) on the ears, behind the ears , lower part of the neck , thighs, tail||Proper nutrition and care||Excellent|
|Color dilution alopecia||Lighter hair, clusters of hair color change, damaged hair shaft||Retinoids, fatty acid supplements||Good for general health. Hair may not regrow|
|Dermatosis - which is a general name for any skin disease where their is inflammation||Puppy-like hair coat, coat color changes, less than normal amount of hair on the head or body (hypotrichosis) and hair loss (alopecia) pubic area hair loss, flank, trunk, neck||Moisturizers, antimicrobial treatment, neutering, testosterone in castrated males, estrogen in spayed females, growth hormone||Good, temporary remission|
|Sertoli's cell tumor (dog testicle tumor)||Hair loss at parts of the body where there the hair comes in contact with other objects such as where your dog wears a collar (called symmetric alopecia). Other areas of hair loss include the behind, the place where your cat defecates and the breast area.||Castration is the most common treatment option||Excellent if the cancer hasn't spread|
|Anagen defluxion (means hair loss the second a hair starts to grow)||Sudden hair loss||Eliminating the cause||Excellent if underlying factor is identified|
|Sudden hair loss due to stress (Focal Alopecia)||Hair loss triggered by an event||Removal of cause of point of stress||Excellent|
|Lack of hair growth after the hair is clipped (happens in some aortic breeds or breeds with a plush coat)||No hair regrowth in areas that have been clipped or cut||Hair usually will regrow by itself in 6 to 24 months. The cause of the condition is unknown.||Excellent|
|Demodectic Mange||Loss of hair around eyelids, lips, mouth, legs and body. Patches of hair loss. Some skin problems.||Treat with a lime sulfur dip type product such as Naturasil for Pet Mange.||Excellent|
|Pressure Sore (callus)||Hair loss on elbows or wrinkled skin. This is caused by lying on harder surfaces.||Remove Cause||Excellent|
Hyperestrogenism (dog ovarian tumor)
|Hair loss where the feces exits the body and the area between the hip and the last rib on each side||Surgical removal of the ovaries||
There are several breed specific conditions that can cause a dog losing hair condition.
Dog Losing Hair - Problem
Acanthosis nigrans - hair loss in arm pit.
Color mutant alopecia - hair loss in different locations on the body
|Collie||Nasal Solar Dermatitis - Ulcers may form. Thought to be a problem with the immune system (autoimmune disease)|
Rottweilers, Belgian Tervuiren
Vitiligo: which is a loss of color and possibly hair loss.
|Poodles||Sebaceous Adenitis -
Loss of hair in same locations on both sides (symmetrical) of face, head, neck and back. May look like dandruff on skin.
Dog Hair Thinning and Nutrition
Nutrition can contribute to hair loss. If your dog's coat is dull or lifeless then you might want to either consider a change in diet, herbal supplement such as Skin and Coat Tonic or a fish oil supplement.. Your dog's coat is a reflection of diet.
Your dog's hair is made up of protein (90%). If your dog is not getting protein or certain amino acids then the hair can be lost, grow slower, be dull or brittle. Up to 30% of the proteins your dog eats goes into the hair and skin.
References Dog Losing Hair:
The Dog with Alopecia (dog losing hair)
Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, US
Owners Home Veterinary Handbook
Eldredge, Debra; Carlson, Liisa; Carlson, Delbert; Giffin, James
Clinical approach of canine alopecia (dog losing hair)
PD Dr med vet Claude Favrot, MsSc, Dip ECVD
University of Zurich, Switzerland
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