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5 Things You Should Know About Alopecia

By Gina Carey. September 03, 2012 | See Comments

5 Things You Should Know About Alopecia

Alopecia can be caused by a number of preexisting conditions. Learn what you need to know about hair loss in your dog.

Alopecia, or hair loss in dogs, is the side effect of an ailment or condition that affects your pet’s coat and skin. Some of the underlying causes of alopecia are considered normal, while others are more serious. Learn more about why dogs experience alopecia and what to do if you see changes in your pet’s coat.

1. The causes of hair loss in dogs vary widely

There are more than fifty known causes of alopecia. Hair loss is typically the symptom of a larger underlying health concern. The most common causes of alopecia include parasites such as fleas or mites, allergies, and endocrine disorders like Cushing’s disease.

2. All dogs are susceptible to alopecia

Because the underlying causes of alopecia can affect just about any dog, all breeds can experience hair loss. Gender and age do not influence a more frequent onset of alopecia, but some breeds have been known to develop certain types of hair loss most frequently. Breeds with a proclivity to certain types of alopecia include doberman pinschers, boxers, bulldogs, airedale terriers, pomeranians, chow chows, miniature poodles, samoyeds, and siberian huskies.

3. Signs of alopecia should not be ignored

Pet owners who notice hair loss or a thinning coat as well skin issues and behavioral changes should contact their vets immediately. These symptoms have an underlying cause that could be irreparably damaging without treatment, as well as painful or uncomfortable to your pet.

4. Vets must determine why a dog is experiencing alopecia

While it may be tempting remedy hair loss at home, it is key to have your vet perform a thorough physical in order to determine why alopecia is occurring. Vets will examine the pattern and areas of hair loss, and may do a skin biopsy or a skin scraping as well as other tests to rule out certain conditions.

5. Treatment of alopecia will depend on its cause

While there are many coat products on the market, there isn’t a cure-all solution for balding and hair loss. Once your vet determines the cause of alopecia, a treatment plan will be prescribed. The treatment plan will either eradicate or control the underlying issue, and will likely restore your pet’s beautiful coat. Treatments may include shampoos and topical ointments, medication or antibiotics, dietary changes, and in some hormonal cases, spaying or neutering.

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