How can you treat hair loss of your dog?

April 13, 2012

Gone are the days when dogs would simply have a good dip in a pond or river to clean the coat. A bar of soap would be enough to wash the grime away. Nowadays, dogs would have the same kind of products the owners use to maintain shiny healthy hair. A dog owner would not think twice to provide the pet with soaps, shampoos, conditioners and other coat care products to maintain the sleek, shiny and healthy appearance of the coat. A dog with a magnificent coat will surely be the envy of other dog owners. Naturally, the credit will go to the pet owner. However, despite the care given to the dog some conditions will develop so that the beautiful appearance of the coat will be marred by bald patches. Hair loss is a common concern of dog owners?

We know that dogs shed – constantly. But this natural process of removing dead hair does not result to bald patches. Alopecia is the medical term for dog hair loss. Hair will thin or be completely lost in some areas of the body causing unsightly bald patches so that the dog’s coat would appear like a moth eaten fur coat. There are hundreds of reasons why the dog’s hair will fall and fail to grow back normally. Alopecia can result from an undiagnosed condition. Treatment for hair loss is necessary not only because it mars the appearance of the dog but more importantly the condition that causes hair loss can be potentially dangerous to the health of the dog. There is no single or specific treatment for alopecia. To treat hair loss of your dog, the underlying cause has to be identified first. Treatment will be directed to eliminating the cause of hair loss.

Take the dog to the vet for the necessary diagnostic tests that will determine the cause of alopecia. Physical examination will be done to confirm the presence of parasites, fungal and bacterial infections. Other diagnostic test will also be necessary. A trichogram is a microscopic exam that will determine if hair falls out naturally or if hair fall is caused by the dog’s chewing and scratching. Surface cells will be removed by scraping a blade against the skin to verify the presence of parasites like mange mites. A fungal culture is another diagnostic test that will verify if alopecia is caused by ringworm. A more serious case of alopecia may require skin biopsy. This microscopic test will establish the cause of hair fall.

The dog’s hair loss can be attributed to pruritic and non-pruritic causes. Flea allergy, atopy ringworm, scabies and other itchy skin diseases are the pruritic causes of alopecia. The first line of treatment is to identify and to remove the cause of irritation. The dog’s exposure to the allergen must be restricted. The parasite infestation must be dealt with as well. Fleas for instance must be eliminated from the dog’s body and from the dog’s environment. Antihistamine and antibacterial solutions must be administered.

Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism are some of the non-pruritic causes of canine alopecia. These are serious conditions that would not only result to hair loss of the dog. Cushing’s disease for instance will cause the thinning of the skin. Treatment is possible once the cause is ascertained. For hormonal imbalance, the possible treatment is giving the pet hormonal supplement medication daily. Growth hormone would commonly fix the problem. Dog shampoos that promotes hair growth can be used after the cause of the alopecia is eliminated. The vitamins and minerals in these hair growth shampoos will bring back the sleek, shiny beautiful hair of the pet.

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