Hair loss occurs due to several reasons, such as contact dermatitis, atopy, callus and mange. Dogs suffering from hormonal imbalances may also be susceptible to alopecia. Canine alopecia has to be appropriately diagnosed to know the underlying cause of the condition, and to prevent damage to the internal organs.
Symptoms of Canine Alopecia
- Hair loss either in patches or over the entire body
- Red, inflamed skin
- Licking or chewing the skin
Although the symptoms vary in each dog, there are certain symptoms of alopecia that are distinct to dogs suffering from seasonal alopecia or canine flank alopecia.
Symptoms of Seasonal and Canine Flank Alopecia
- Symmetrical hair loss
- Hair loss prominent on the flank and the back of the body
- Skin that's darker in appearance
- A stop in hair growth at intervals
Diagnosis of Canine Alopecia
The treatment options for canine alopecia are determined after a correct diagnosis. The vet will conduct a physical exam and check for infections like ringworm, fleas or parasites. A trichogram exam, fungal culture and skin biopsy may be necessary to attain a proper diagnosis. Since canine alopecia is related to several other skin conditions such as scabies, atopy and allergy, the vet will prescribe medication and choose a treatment option to cure the underlying disease.
Canine Alopecia Treatment
- Canine alopecia related to pruitus requires treatment with corticosteroids, antihistamines or fatty acid supplements.
- Antibiotic medication may also temporarily eliminate alopecia related to pyoderma.
- Certain shampoos that are antipruitic in nature might bring relief from the symptoms of canine hair loss.
- The vet will prescribe appropriate oral or topical treatments for dogs suffering from fleas or parasites.
Pet owners should keep dogs suffering from alopecia free of fleas. The prescribed medication should be administered as per vet instructions. It's important to maintain clean surroundings to prevent further infection, and brush dead hair off the dog's body to help stop excessive licking and itching.
Tips for Pet Owners
- Since the dog's skin is exposed due to hair loss, it's best to keep him warm with sweaters during the winter.
- Regularly bathe your dog and follow with proper grooming.
- If your dog has ringworm or flea infections, it's necessary to check other pets in the same household.
- Frequently wash bedding and disinfect the home to prevent parasite infections.
Dogs that suffer from hair loss should be diagnosed promptly to determine the severity and cause of the condition. While the causes of hair loss are more severe in some dogs, alopecia can be controlled with prescribed medication and proper home care.