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February 21, 2010 at 12:30 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Canine Alopecia: Hair Loss in Dogs and How to Help Your Dog Cope

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Dog Hair Loss

As a pet owner, it's hard to see your dog suffer any kind of wound or illness. Their physical pain affects you because they are part of the family. When your dog begins to lose their hair, or go bald, it can be for a variety of different reasons. This progression can be painful to your dog. Not only does the hair loss cause excessive itching, but it can affect their confidence too. Dogs are sensitive to one another and it can be a cause for anxiety to look different than the rest of the pack. Your dog may lose his dominance around other dogs because of this problem.

What is Canine Alopecia?

Late onset Canine Alopecia is a skin condition found in certain breeds of dogs that causes them to lose their hair. The disease only affects male dogs, and symptoms are not usually noticeable until they are about five to seven years old. Dogs that have this condition experience excessive itching and loss of hair in patches, usually near the head, and neck, and throughout the body. Alopecia X is another form of Alopecia that can affect dogs of all ages. The disorder is believed to be caused by a deficiency of specific hormones which leads to balding. Unlike late onset Alopecia, Alopecia X can start at a very young age in a dog's life. The disorder is progressive, so symptoms often get worse as your dog gets older.

Other Types of Dog Hair Loss

  • Pattern baldness is another problem your dog may experience. Pattern baldness is usually more common among smaller dogs, and can occur when they are as young as 6 months old. There are no dangers associated with this disorder; it is really just a cosmetic issue.
  • Follicular dysplasia is another disorder that can affect you dog's appearance. This is a hair follicle disorder that can prevent hair from growing in certain places on your dog, usually the neck and thighs.
  • Mange is another major condition that contributes to hair loss in dogs. Tiny mites burrow deep into the skins oil producing glands. Once the mites are in, they attack the follicle of the hair and hair loss occurs. There are different types of mange, and some of them, if caught early enough, are treatable. Some types are highly contagious, so your dog could get mange from being around other dogs suffering from the disorder.

How to Help Your Pet

If your furry friend is going bald, there is hope! There are medications that your veterinarian can prescribe for your pet, but these prescriptions (Ivermectin, Mitaban) can be toxic to your companion. Home remedies that people have tried include motor oil and sulfur baths. This is dangerous and unhealthy for your dog. There are all natural treatments that pet owners can try first. An alternative to the harsh chemicals that pet owners have tried in the past is really the only way to go if you want ensure the safety and health of your beloved pet.

Photo Credit: JDENredden

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