Dog Hair Loss Alopecia Treatment

While the good condition of a coat reflects a good status of health in canines, a dog exhibiting a dull looking coat, with visible hair loss and lack of luster, should grant a veterinarian visit for underlying health issues. Hair loss in dogs (alopecia) can be caused by a variety of conditions and therefore, the most appropriate treatment can be determined after pinpointing the underlying cause. Some causes of hair loss may be minor issues that can be treated easily, whereas others may be more serious and triggered by an underlying systemic disorder that needs addressed.

dog-alopeciaTreatments of Fur Loss in Dogs

Dealing with hair loss in dogs may be a frustrating ordeal. There are many conditions to rule out and at times it takes quite a few tests to find the underlying cause. However, some cases can be easily identified and treated since the hair loss follows familiar patterns, or the presence of certain parasites confirms the veterinarian’s suspicion. Once the issue can be addressed, the dog’s hairs are likely to grow back in quite a short time.

• Parasite Control

There are many parasites known to cause devastating effects to a dog’s lustrous coat. Fleas, lice, mites and ticks are parasites known to infest dogs and the ceremonious itching and scratching rituals can ruin even the most glossy coats. Easy to use parasite control products can work fast and effectively to remove most of these parasites, and the dog may feel much better in no time. Unsightly, hairless areas will then become only a memory of the past.

• Antifungal Medication

The ringworm fungus has been known to cause characteristic small round hairless patches in companion animals for years. In order to combat this pesky fungus, antifungal medications must be used. Affected dogs may be treated topically with antifungal creams or antifungal shampoos. More severe cases may require the oral administration of antifungal pills. Antifungal medications may need to be administered for several months.

• Hot Spot Treatments

If your dog suddenly developed a hairless spot that is now red and oozing, chances are high your dog got a hot spot. Hot spots can be caused by a plethora of triggers ranging from insects, allergies, exposure to irritants and even stress, to name a few. Your dog will need to have the area totally shaved free from hair and may require a course of antibiotics for the most severe cases, or prescription creams for the most mild cases.

• Thyroid Medicine

Dogs suffering from hypothyroidism often develop a familiar bilaterally symmetrical pattern. Some dogs also develop a ”rat tail”. In other words, the hair on the tail becomes scarce, and the end may become bald. Administering synthetic thyroid hormones per the veterinarian’s advice, can help the dog recover, however, the medications will have to be taken for the rest of the dog’s life.

• Cushing’s Disease Treatment

One of the most common symptoms of Cushing’s disease in dogs is hair loss. Indeed, according to Pet Education, a website by  Drs.Foster & Smith, between 50% and 90% of the dogs affected develop hair loss and thinning of the skin. Typically, the hair loss starts at the elbows and progresses to the flanks and abdomen. This type of alopecia is treated by either removing the adrenal tumor if identified, or using medications such as Lysodren, trilostane, ketoconazole or anipryl.

These are only a few treatments for some of the most common causes of hair loss in dogs. There may be several other causes of hair loss that may need other types of treatment. It is best to have a veterinarian determine the exact cause of the hair loss so to find the most appropriate treatment. Once identified, your dog should be able to grow back the nice glossy coat he deserves.For challenging cases, best to consult with a veterinary dermatologist.

Photo Credits:

Seasonal alopecia by Joel MillsOwn work, CCBY3.0

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