Treating Your Dog's Hair Loss
Dealing with Alopecia in Your Dog
When diagnosing the underlying cause of hair loss, your veterinarian will do a thorough physical exam and review your pet’s medical history. Vets will examine the pattern and type of hair loss, the condition of the coat and skin, and any other symptoms your pet is experiencing. A skin biopsy may be needed to determine the cause of hair loss. Other tests that your vet may perform include a skin scraping to check for mites, a trichogram to examine the hair, and a fungal culture to detect ringworm.
Once your vet determines the cause of the alopecia, your pet can begin a treatment regimen. This will vary greatly depending on why your pet is experiencing hair loss. In general, the following treatments will be prescribed for the most common types of alopecia:
Parasitic: Topical treatments such as ointments and shampoos are often prescribed to treat some parasites that cause hair loss. Flea and tick control is necessary to prevent further outbreaks of alopecia. Drugs such as Mitaban Dips are needed to treat mites.
Allergic: Dogs experiencing alopecia due to an allergic reaction may be prescribed a change in medication or diet, antihistamines, shampoos, topical ointments, and antibiotics. In some cases, doctors may recommend allergy therapy. Removal of allergens is the most effective way to reduce symptoms and prevent further outbreaks of alopecia.
Endocrine or Hormonal: If an endocrine or hormonal disorder is diagnosed, treatment of the underlying disorder will clear up alopecia. Treatments may include hormone therapy, supplements, medication, or in some cases spaying or neutering your pet.
Once you begin treatment, the time it takes for your pet’s hair to grow back will vary. In some cases it will take weeks or months. Be sure to follow all treatment plans as directed by your veterinarian, and continue the treatment as prescribed, even if you see signs of hair regrowth.