Alopecia 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 each and every year to combat!
What we’re talking about…
Is when your dog actually looses “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 life time. It could be because of:
- Mange (caused by the mite Demodex).
- Parasites (ie: 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 experiences hair loss but isn’t suffering from any other symptoms or issues.
Now chances are…
If you’re your dog is suffering from another condition which is causing him or her to suffer from alopecia as a symptom, that more “serious” medical issue, should be your major concern.
For this reason…
Here in this article, we’re simply going to limit our discussion to the hereditary form of alopecia which really doesn’t have any serious complications associated with it other than cosmetic discomfort.
In cases like these…
You’ll generally find that the alopecia can take on several different forms:
- Pattern baldness alopecia.
- Pattern baldness alopecia refers to hair loss that occurs 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 affected ears of a dog. Often times, the alopecia on 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 case like these, the existing hair isn’t affected. Rather, the alopecia affects the development of new hair, which may or may not grow back in the future.
- Alopecia areata.
- Alopecia areata, refers to a type of auto immune disorder in which the patient’s immune system actually 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 and over time, the patient tends to “recover” from this hyper active immune response.
- Post-injection alopecia.
- Post-injection alopecia refers to hair loss that occurs at the site of 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 that occurs in dogs that have been specifically breed to have a diluted coat color. This condition typically paired with other skin problems including itchy and flaky skin.
Diagnosis of alopecia in dogs.
While it’s easy to diagnose alopecia in dogs, what’s not so easy to determine is what is causing the alopecia to occur. And while, natural hereditary forms of alopecia won’t “require” any treatment, ruling out any other causes of alopecia is important to ensure the health of your loved one.
For this reason…
Your veterinarian is likely to order a skin biopsy and routine blood work exams so that any “more serious” conditions that may be causing your dog to develop alopecia can be ruled out.
This way, you’ll know for sure that you pet is healthy and only suffering from a “cosmetic” condition.
Your veterinarian may suggest certain medications and supplements that have been shown to provide some improvements in treating hereditary alopecia.
But before we get…
Too far ahead of ourselves, we should remind our readers that we here at IndulgeYourPet and not medical professionals and were certainly not veterinarians!
This is why…
If you 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 really going on and give your pet the best opportunity to make a full recovery if they are in fact suffering from a serious medical condition.
Which brings us to…
“Why we here at IndulgeYourPet is writing an article about alopecia in dogs? “
And the answer to this question is simply. You see, here at IndulgeYourPet, we have a passion for helping animals. This is why in addition to talking about ways for you to provide a healthy home for your pet, we also like to reach out to any potential new pet owners and try to provide them with as much information as we can 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 a 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.