Hair Loss


"Hair loss can signal serious medical problems...

"Hair loss needs immediate attention to determine its cause and prevent it from getting worse...

"Hair loss, or alopecia, an extremely common problem in dogs, is associated with myriad problems including skin diseases, allergies, and endocrine disorders...

Common causes:

  • "Cushing's Disease, an endocrine disorder...

  • "Hypothyroidism, another endocrine disease...

  • "Mange, a skin disease caused by mites...

  • "Bacterial skin diseases often result from underlying problems, including mange, allergies, and hypothyroidism...

  • "Ringworm, a fungal disease...

  • "Allergies to parasites (especially flea bites, pollens, certain foods, dust mites, chemicals.. can cause itchy skin...

    "..it's not always possible to identify.. the allergen. "Although flea-bite allergy can be confirmed through the presence of fleas or flea dirt, presence of fleas is not essential for a diagnosis," Frank says. "Flea-allergy diagnosis is based on the clinical distribution of the itching (Usually over the tail base) and lack of adequate flea control."

    "A food trial with a novel protein can diagnose a food allergy.

    "Treatments.. include allergy avoidance where possible, good flea control, anti-itch medication including antihistamines, and sometimes corticosteroids. Fatty-acid supplementation may also help an itchy dog..

  • Some Breeds blow coat - "Some breeds are heavy shedders" - not to be mistaken for alopecia)

  • Alopecia X covers a group of unidentifiable hair loss conditions that resemble endocrine-type diseases... "We treat with melatonin" ..Breeds..more susceptible to alopecia X include Pomeranians, Toy Poods, and plush-coated breeds such as Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies, Keeshonden, Alaskan Malemutes, and Chow Chows...

""If your veterinarian can't get a specific diagnosis, get a referral to a (dermatology) specialist," DeMars says" (King, Marcia. "More Than Skin Deep." Dog Fancy, October 2003, 26-31).


Colby Glass, MLIS