Alopecia refers to any type of disorder that causes hair
deficiency in a dog’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 dog’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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.