Alopecia: When Dogs Lose Hair

Alopecia: When Dogs Lose Hair

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Alopecia is any underlying condition that causes hair loss in your dogโ€™s coat. Learn more about alopecia, its causes, and how to treat it here.

Alopecia refers to any type of disorder that causes hair deficiency in a dogโ€™s coat. Pet owners commonly identify complete hair loss with alopecia, which can include patterns or random occurrences of bald patches or larger areas of hair loss. But alopecia also encompasses issues that affect regrowth of the hair shaft or inhibit hair growth.

Alopecia can occur anywhere on a dogโ€™s coat, including the face, tail base, back, torso, and legs.  Hair loss in dogs can also affect all breeds, independent of age and gender. 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.

The key to treating alopecia depends on its underlying cause, which must be diagnosed by a veterinarian.

Causes of Alopecia

The causes of hair loss in dogs vary greatly, which can make treating alopecia tricky. Causes typically fall under three categories: parasites, allergies, or endocrine and hormonal disorders. Vets will examine the symptoms of the alopecia to determine what the underlying cause and best course of treatment will be.

Symptoms of Alopecia

Hair loss symptoms among dogs can vary significantly. Some dogs will lose a patch of hair that may grow back, or not. Others will have gradual hair loss that spreads to other parts of the coat. Some pets will display more symptoms due to the nature of their disorder, such as itching, scabbing, scaly skin, and inflammation. Other dogs will display no other symptoms other than hair loss.

Treatment of Alopecia

Veterinarians must first diagnose the underlying cause of alopecia in order to treat the hair loss. In some cases, treating the cause of alopecia will cure it completely, while some treatments may need to be administered regularly. Common treatments include medical shampoos, ointments, antibiotics, medication, supplements, and change in diet.

5 Things You Should Know About Alopecia

Alopecia, or hair loss in dogs, is the side effect of an ailment or condition that affects your petโ€™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 petโ€™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 Cushingโ€™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 pinschersboxersbulldogs, airedale terriers, pomeranianschow chowsminiature 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 isnโ€™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 petโ€™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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Alopecia (Hair Loss)

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