Most dog owners know that if the pet starts to fall out of the coat several times a year, you should not worry – this is a process of seasonal molting. However, if it is still far from this period, and the wool has begun to become thin and actively fall out, the owners of the animal should be actively concerned about its health. It is also worth remembering that seasonal shedding does not affect the dog’s general well-being, while hair loss or alopecia, also known as alopecia, caused by illness or serious impairment of the body’s robots, can provoke other clinical signs, among which, for example, lethargy , lack of appetite.
Possible causes of hair loss in dogs
There are many factors that can provoke active hair loss in an animal. All of them can be divided into two large blocks: hormonal and non-hormonal.
In order to determine the first causes, dog owners should take a closer look at the bald areas: if the hair falls out on symmetrical areas of the body, the cause of hair loss is most likely due to hormonal disorders. But if the affected areas with absent hair are located chaotically, the cause of the pathology is absolutely not associated with hormones.
To hormonal diseases, able to cause baldness include:
- Cushing’s syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism. This disease causes severe loss of coat over the entire body of the pet. A similar reaction of the body to this disease is explained by the excess of one of the hormones – cortisol. In addition to severe hair loss, Cushing’s syndrome is characterized by the presence of certain clinical signs, including a sharp weight gain, constant thirst and, as a result, abnormally frequent urination, swelling and sagging of the dog’s abdomen. In addition, some infections may recur. In some cases, Cushing’s syndrome may trigger the use of certain steroid drugs.
- Excess estrogen or hyperestrogenism. Contrary to the common stereotype, this disease can occur both in females and in dogs of different breeds. Hyperestrogenism is characterized by a strong loss of hair in the genital area, a sharp increase in the vulva in females and a swelling of the foreskin in males. All these changes occur due to imbalance of sex hormones.
- Estrogen deficiency or hypoestrogenism. This disease is most often found in sterilized bitches that have already reached middle age. When hypoestrogenism in dogs, the coat usually becomes very thin, first near the genitals and then all over the body, and the rate of hair growth slows down a lot. Against this background, it is noticeable that the skin of the female becomes very tender and soft.
- Violation of the release of growth hormone into the body. This condition is usually accompanied by a completely symmetrical hair loss on different parts of the body. There is a shortage of growth hormone, usually in males during puberty. There is a certain breed predisposition towards this violation: most often dogs of the Chow-Chow breed, poodles, boxers, airedale terriers, oranges, and also Dutch wolf-spitz suffer from it.
- Hypothyroidism is a disease whose characteristic symptom is an acute lack of thyroid hormones. In addition to the loss of hair and its fragility, the presence of hypothyroidism can be determined by the following features: lethargy, animal apathy, his refusal of physical activity; sharp and "causeless" weight gain; low degree of protection against various infections.
To non-hormonal factors (various diseases and conditions of the body) causing hair loss in dogs include:
- Seasonal and age molt. Similar dynamics in hair loss in pets is known to every dog owner. Usually, the scale of molting in puppies depends on the type of hair, as well as on the breed of the animal. Some breeds are characterized by a very strong molt. One of the brightest representatives of such species is an orange – in the right period it loses an enormous amount of wool and is covered with light hairless spots. Residing in adulthood, dogs shed several times a year. This is an absolutely normal phenomenon, which should not cause any concerns to the owners of the pet. However, in order to avoid dermatological problems during this period it is necessary to frequently clean and care for the skin of the animal. In females, molting can be observed not only in a certain season, but also during the sexual cycle and immediately after childbirth. However, the occurrence of molting is not always due to natural causes. In some cases, abundant hair loss can be observed under very strong stress, for example, when moving, changing owners or even visiting a veterinarian. Unplanned molting in dogs can also be provoked by a certain cosmetic product, which the compassionate owners of the dog use when bathing too often.
- Food and non-food allergies. Dog owners think that different types of allergies are quite rare. However, it is not. An allergic reaction may well manifest itself during experimentation with new food products – even a small amount of an ingredient that was not previously included in the animal’s menu can provoke an itch, rash, baldness. Moreover, the pet’s body may inadequately react even to the food that it eats constantly. One of the consequences of allergy may be the appearance of allergic (atopic) dermatitis. In addition to food allergies, the dog may experience an allergic reaction to certain components and substances from the environment, as well as cosmetics. Such allergies can also occur seasonally.
- Black acanthosis. This disease is characterized by active hair loss in the armpits and on the ears of the pet. These parts of the body of the animal become fat and emit a pronounced unpleasant odor. There is a breed predisposition for this disease – mainly dachshunds suffer from black acanthosis.
- Fleas, ticks, eaters and even worms can also cause hair loss. So, itch often occurs (demodicosis and sarcoptosis). This disease is parasitic. The scabies pathogens are mites. From demodicosis most often suffer from middle-aged animals and young individuals. That is why puppies suffering from uncontrolled hair loss are usually checked for the presence of this disease. The main accompanying sign of demodicosis is severe itching. Despite the fact that Demodex can live on a dog of any breed, most often Shar Pei or Bull Terriers suffer from this parasite, as well as pets with significantly weakened immunity. As for the localization of the affected areas of the dermis, the most severe baldness with demodicosis is usually observed in the lips and eyelids of the dog, on the hind limbs or on the abdomen. The bald spots can reach several centimeters in diameter. If itching and hair loss are ignored for quite a long time, the number of affected areas can greatly increase, and even the bald spots themselves can grow large in size.
- Yeast (fungal) infections also often cause baldness in dogs, especially at a young age. The most dangerous is ringworm, which, in addition to causing a lot of problems for dogs, can spread to their owners. In general, areas with high humidity, such as armpits or skin folds, suffer from such infections. To this disease there is a certain pedigree disposition – Shar Pei, Bulldogs, as well as other dogs with many skin folds on the body are most susceptible to it. Additional clinical signs of a yeast infection are an increased oiliness of the skin and a repulsive odor emanating from the affected areas.
- Bacterial skin infections. The most common of these is pyoderma, the cause of which is a decrease in dog immunity.
- Solar dermatitis is characterized by the fact that baldness occurs mainly on the animal’s face. Particularly susceptible to this disease, individuals with little pigmented skin on the nose. Solar dermatitis is dangerous because, in addition to active hair loss, it can provoke skin ulceration, as well as lead to many autoimmune problems.
- Blue Doberman’s Syndrome, also known as color mutational alopecia. This disease causes severe hair loss throughout the body of the pet. At the same time, visually it seems that the dog was “eaten” by the mole. During such alopecia, numerous pustules and papules form on the skin. Most often, Dobermans suffer from the disease.
- A pronounced zinc deficiency. This violation provokes increased hardness of the skin. In some cases, scales may form on the dermis, cracking of the soft pads of the animal is also possible. Most often, northern and arctic dogs suffer from zinc deficiency.
- Vitiligo causes hair loss due to loss of derma pigment. The most active loss of hair can be observed on the head of the animal. Belgian terriers and rottweilers are the most located to vitiligo breeds.
- Adenitis of the sebaceous glands is a disease, the main clinical feature of which is symmetrical baldness of the muzzle, head, back and neck of the pet. Most often from adenitis suffer poodles. This disease can trigger hair follicle infection.
- Seborrhea, also known as dandruff, can simultaneously cause hair loss and may well be a secondary disease.
- Ringworm is a fungal infection. During the depriving on the body of the animal appear small bald areas covered with a crust.
Treatment of hair loss (alopecia) in dogs
A single, universal method of treating alopecia in dogs simply does not exist. Loss of hair can cause a number of diseases (the most popular of them are described above), and subsequent therapy will depend entirely on the root cause. Owners of dogs should remember that only a specialist can correctly identify a disease-catalyst, so trying to diagnose the cause of alopecia at home is not only useless, but also unsafe.
To determine the disease is taking samples. So, for the determination of fungal and infectious diseases, a special scotch is scraped.
If the cause of the symptom is a hormonal failure, then the dog will be prescribed hormonal drugs, which will quickly restore the hormones and pet hair.
If the cause of the loss are parasites, then the dog is prescribed drops, destroying ticks, fleas, lice and lashes. A short course of taking drugs will help get rid of worms. In the veterinary clinic, you may be offered to use complex drugs that allow you to get rid of all pests at once (Lawyer, Stronghold). When running cases, the doctor may be prescribed antibiotics.
If the cause is reduced immunity. Immunostimulating drugs are prescribed. In the future, it is better for the dog to give food for some time, containing special vitamin complexes for the growth of wool (Kino3).
However, dog owners can try to prevent hair loss by carefully monitoring the diet and immunity of the animal. In order for a pet to resist various infections, its diet should contain vitamin B, as well as the necessary minerals and beneficial trace elements. In addition, the use of "human" shampoos and conditioners is unacceptable in animal care. Such cosmetics, as well as improperly selected dog shampoos, can cause serious allergies. That is why even this seemingly completely insignificant choice should be made only after consulting with a specialist.
Prevention of hair loss
To prevent alopecia in dogs, it is constantly necessary to inspect, comb the hair, inspect the ears and clean out the discharge that appears in them.