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Hair loss in dogs

Hair loss in dogs, excessive hair loss in dogs causes and treatment

Excessive hair loss in dogs, otherwise known as Alopecia, is a very common veterinary problem.

Usually, pet owners believe this shedding of the coat to be a normal process. However, continuous thinning of the dog's fur can be an indication of a problem with your dog's health. Hair loss can be a symptom of fatal diseases and infections and should be treated immediately.

If you observe patchy hair loss in dogs, get them medical attention immediately.
Symmetrical loss of hair in a dog is usually caused due to hormonal imbalances however, it is the patchy hair loss in dogs that you should be wary about.
Sudden hair loss in dogs can cause them to have a peculiar appearance. They may start looking a little overweight with pink skin.

The brittle and thin hair growth on the body, if in patches, makes them appear sickly and infected, even though they may not have an infection.

What causes hair loss in dogs?

  • Poor nutrition is one of the leading causes of hair loss in dogs.
  • Hormonal disorders like a thyroid gland malfunction
  • Skin infection like mange and infestation of mites.
  • In larger breeds, there may be a persistent pressure on the skin known as callus. This can cause hair loss in the larger dogs.
  • Cushing's disease is caused when there is a high level of corticosteroids present in the body.
  • Acanthosis nigricans, an infection caused due to spilling of insulin into the skin, can also cause a thinning of the fur.
  • Reaction from a medication applied topically or taken orally or a drug injection.
  • Tumors in the testicles.
  • A complication in an infection caused by ringworm
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Infection of the hair follicles
  • Allergic reactions to foods and other substances
  • Stress
  • Fungal infections.

Treatment for hair loss in dogs
While you can't always prevent hair loss in your dogs, there are certain things you can do to minimize the loss. If your dog is just growing its coat, the hair loss is temporary. Puppies usually shed their coat completely when they are growing, so that they can get a shinier and softer coat. Here's what you can do to control your pet's shedding

  • If your dog has a thick, long coat, consult with your vet and buy grooming products accordingly. A brush which has soft bristles should be used to stimulate the skin and remove dandruff, if any. Dogs should be groomed everyday. Take care to brush the hair in the direction of the growth. This can also help remove any loose hair so that tufts of hair do not keep falling around the house.
  • Take good care of your dog's nutrition. Provide your dog with a well balanced diet. If you are feeding it dog food, be sure to read the ingredients before buying the food. If the dog food contains harmful preservatives, the food should not be used. Also try not to feed your dogs table scraps.
  Submitted on June 1, 2010  

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