Alopecia (or follicular dysplasia) is a term used to describe hair loss. Now we’re not talking about a natural “receding” hair loss that men spend millions, if not billions, of dollars annually to combat! We’re talking about when your dog loses “patches” of hair in areas throughout their body.
So, what causes alopecia in dogs?
Now there are many reasons why a dog may suffer from alopecia over its lifetime. It could be because of:
- Mange (caused by the mite Demodex),
- Parasites (i.e., ringworm),
- Endocrine system abnormalities such as Cushing’s disease.
Or it could just be a hereditary trait disease in which the affected animal doesn’t simply experience hair loss but isn’t suffering from any other symptoms or issues.
Now chances are…
If your dog is suffering from another condition that is causing alopecia as a symptom, your primary concern should be addressing the underlying, more “serious” medical issue. So, in this discussion, we will focus solely on the hereditary form of alopecia, which generally does not have serious complications apart from cosmetic discomfort.
In cases like these…
You’ll generally find that alopecia can take on several different forms:
- Pattern baldness alopecia.
- Pattern baldness alopecia refers to hair loss over and behind the ears. Pattern baldness alopecia can also occur along the bell and legs as well.
- Pinnal alopecia.
- Pinnal alopecia refers to alopecia that occurs along the affected ears of a dog. Often, the alopecia on the ear will mirror that of the alopecia on the opposite ear.
- Post-clipping alopecia.
- Post-clipping alopecia refers to cases of alopecia that occur after a dog has received a “clipping.” In cases like these, the existing hair isn’t affected. Instead, alopecia affects new hair development, which may or may not grow back.
- Alopecia areata.
- Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder in which the patient’s immune system begins to attack the hair follicles responsible for growing new hair. Fortunately, in cases like these, the hair loss does not tend to be permanent; over time, the patient tends to “recover” from this hyperactive immune response.
- Post-injection alopecia.
- Post-injection alopecia refers to hair loss at an injection or inoculation site. This most commonly occurs at the site of a rabies vaccine injection but could potentially occur at an injection site.
- Color dilution alopecia (CDA).
- Refers to a particular form of alopecia in dogs, specifically breeds, to have a diluted coat color. This condition is typically paired with other skin problems, including itchy and flaky.
Diagnosis of Alopecia in Dogs
While diagnosing alopecia in dogs is generally straightforward, determining the underlying cause can be challenging. It is essential to rule out any potential causes of alopecia to ensure the well-being of your beloved pet, even though natural hereditary forms of alopecia do not typically require treatment.
For this reason, your veterinarian is likely to order a skin biopsy and routine blood work exams to rule out any underlying, more serious conditions that could be responsible for your dog’s alopecia. This comprehensive approach will assure you that your pet is healthy and experiencing only a cosmetic condition.
Subsequently, your veterinarian may recommend certain medications and supplements that have demonstrated some effectiveness in managing hereditary alopecia.
However, I would like to point out that we at IndulgeYourPet, are not medical professionals or veterinarians. Therefore, consulting qualified veterinary experts for accurate advice and guidance is essential.
This is why…
If your dog is experiencing signs of suffering from alopecia, by all means, take your dog to your local vet for a checkup! This way, you can find out what’s going on and give your pet the best opportunity to recover fully if they suffer from a severe medical condition.
This brings us to…
“Why we here at IndulgeYourPet is writing an article about alopecia in dogs? “
And the answer to this question is simple. You see, here at IndulgeYourPet, we have a passion for helping animals. In addition to discussing ways to provide a healthy home for your pet, we also like to reach out to potential new pet owners and give them as much information as possible about which animal might be right for them.
If you’re worried about adopting a pet that may have a higher risk of suffering from hereditary alopecia, we would strongly suggest that you either adopt an adult dog from a rescue center that is “alopecia free” or be sure to address your concerns with a reputable breeder so that you can minimize your risk.
We would also…
Advise you also to take a look at purchasing a pet insurance policy. Because while it is true that alopecia isn’t a medical condition that will affect the overall health of your loved one, that doesn’t mean that your dog may not suffer from an illness or injury that could!
And if this…
Were this to happen, you may find yourself in a challenging situation where the medical bills to help treat your pet could get out of hand. Having a pet insurance policy in place can be a huge benefit.
To learn more about who we “feel” is currently providing the “best” pet insurance policies in the industry, we encourage you to check out our article: Best Pet Insurance Companies.