Alopecia in dogs is defined as hair loss. This can be partial or complete, and also refers to deficiencies in a dog’s coat or lack of fur growth.
While dogs tend to shed their hair, and may even have irregular coats as the season’s change, hair loss due to alopecia is usually an unmistakable event.
Alopecia in dogs is often only a symptom of other underlying problems, although it can occur on its own and sometimes has no known causes.
Symptoms of alopecia in dogs
The symptoms of alopecia are easily noticeable in a dog’s coat. Hair loss may be gradual or it may be acute, resulting in sudden bald patches.. It can occur with other symptoms. Here are several signs of alopecia in dogs:
- Hair loss can be general or localized., for example, in the areas around the eyes and mouth. You can see bald patches. There may also be a symmetrical loss of the fur, which is when the same pattern appears on both sides of the body.
- Flaky skin or scabbing and inflammation of the skin. There may be discolored, dark or gray skin spots.
- Itching and wounds caused by scratching. There may be suppuration or bleeding around the areas of hair loss.
Causes of alopecia in dogs
A large group of diseases, infections and conditions can cause alopecia in dogs:
- Scabies: One of the most common causes of alopecia is scabies, a condition caused by mites. It can lead to extreme hair loss and the formation of scabs on the skin. If left untreated, the skin can become almost like a stone.
- Cushing’s disease: A condition in which the body produces excess steroid hormones can also cause hair loss.
- Ringworm Infections: a contagious fungal infection. In ringworm, alopecia is presented as circular patches of hair loss with lesions, inflammation and scab formation. These lesions sometimes heal on their own, but it is generally better to seek treatment with antifungal shampoo and medications. It can also lead to secondary infections.
- Bacterial infections They can also be a source of alopecia and, generally, it is necessary to treat them with antibiotics.
- Allergies: Bald patches may be the result of allergies. Dogs may be allergic to almost any substance, but flea bites are a common source of allergic reactions. These reactions often lead dogs to chew and scratch their skin, which can further damage their fur.
- Genetic predisposition: Some races are genetically predisposed to develop baldness. This hereditary condition is mostly harmless, and most dog owners live with it instead of treating it. The breeds that are predisposed include chihuahuas, dachshunds, greyhounds and whippets.
- Rubbing in pressure zones: Pressure ulcers can form, especially near the elbows and places where your dog puts pressure when lying on hard surfaces. This can cause hairless calluses, which sometimes crack and bleed.
- Direct contact with irritating compounds: Rash and hives may form due to contact with plants, chemicals, insect bites or even some medications.
Other possible causes of alopecia in dogs include the following:
- Compulsive behavior that drives you to chew and lick your skin
- Reaction to a splinter, glass or other foreign body in the skin
- Injuries and scars
- Vaccination reaction
- Thyroid problems
- Hormonal imbalance
- Chemotherapy Exposure
- Skin cancer
When presenting alopecia in dogs It is essential to consult the veterinarian to obtain a proper diagnosis and begin treatment. Diseases and conditions that occur with alopecia can affect the immune system, the lymphatic system, the endocrine system and the dog’s skin, so it is important to develop a treatment plan as soon as possible.
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