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Hair loss (alopecia) is a common disorder in dogs which causes the animal to have partial or complete hair loss. It can affect a dog's skin, its endocrine system, its lymphatic system, and its immune systems. Alopecia can affect dogs and cats of all ages, breed and gender, and is either gradual or acute.
If you would like to learn more how alopecia affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD healthy library.
Alopecia is extremely noticeable, and is characterized as a varied or a symmetrical hair loss. It may also be seen as bald circles, accompanied by crusting and inflammation around the area. Some dogs suffering from alopecia have scaling of the skin.
One of the most common causes of alopecia is mange, which caused by the mite Demodex. Hair loss can also occurs when there is a disruption in the growth of hair follicles, often from infection, trauma, an immune disease, or endocrine system abnormalities. If there are multiple missing patches of hair, it could be associated with an inflammation of the hair follicle. A more widespread area of hair loss, meanwhile, may indicate a more specific disease pattern.
The pattern and severity of alopecia is essential for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Alopecia is commonly treated with topical shampoos and antibiotic therapy. If other issues are discovered to be the underlying cause, treatment to address the hormone levels may be prescribed. Meanwhile, if there is a skin growth or cancer, it will be surgically removed.
Once the treatment has been prescribed, it is essential the topical shampoos, ointments and antibiotics are administered as prescribed. In addition, monitor the dog's skin to ensure it does not become infected.
There is little that can be done to prevent alopecia, but it is important to monitor your pet for any skin issues that may cause hair loss.
The term for a disease of the skin caused by certain mites
Anything pertaining to the blood vessel system in the body
The type of female hormone produced in the ovaries that contributes to sex drive and female characteristics
Term used to imply that a situation or condition is more severe than usual; also used to refer to a disease having run a short course or come on suddenly.