Why is my dog losing hair?

Why is my dog losing hair?

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Hair loss, medically called alopecia, is the continuous falling out of hair from the body of dogs. It is a common problem in dogs, causing distress to the owners, which may be due to numerous reasons. Hair loss may be complete (complete alopecia) or partial (partial alopecia).

What are the signs and symptoms of hair loss? 

Hair loss may be accompanied by many signs and symptoms, depending on the causative agents of hair loss in dogs. 

Unusually thin hair: hair becomes thin, fragile, and easily breakable.

Patches of hair loss in the vicinity of the eyes and mouth: hairless spots become prominent around the eyes, mouth, mouth, and ear regions, showing underlying health concerns.

Disgusting odor: an unusual and offensive odor emanates from the skin of the dogs affected by hair loss.

Redness or inflammation: the area where hair loss occurs may become red and inflamed.

Bleeding or fluid exudation: a hairless spot may bleed, and fluid may accumulate around the hair loss site.

Itchy skin: dogs may feel itchy skin after hair loss occurs.

Causes of hair loss in dogs

Hair loss occurs in dogs for numerous reasons, which may be external, like infection, or parasitic infestation, or internal, like hypersensitivity, hormonal changes, etc.

Normal shedding in dogs: 

Sometimes, dog hair loss is completely normal because shedding hair is a natural process. Dogs replace old hair with new ones when the season changes or environmental conditions change.

Invasion of infectious organisms: 

Bacterial and fungal infections could be a cause of hair loss in dogs. Normal bacterial populations on the skin don't do any harm to the dogs; sometimes overpopulation or external invasion of infectious bacteria cause excessive hair loss along with a host of diseases in dogs. Dogs may contract ringworm, which is a fungal disease, that causes hair loss.

Parasitism of the skin: 

Dogs that have external parasites like mites, fleas, lice, etc experience hair loss along with other symptoms such as itchy skin and restlessness. 

often live on the skin or burrow in the hair follicles, which causes hair loss in dogs, which is highly contagious, so keep the parasite-infested pets away from intact animals. 

Hypersensitivity and allergies: 

Some dogs become allergic to external as well as internal agents, causing itchiness and hair loss. Sometimes dogs' immune systems respond excessively to foreign bodies like pollen, dust particles, mold, parasite fragments, etc., causing many health crises; hair loss is one of them.

Dietary deficiency: 

Hair growth is a continuous physiological process in dogs that continues throughout life. Mineral or essential nutrient deficiencies may lead to hair loss and skin problems in dogs of all ages and breeds.

Hormonal changes or imbalances: 

Hormonal changes due to endocrine problems such as hypothyroidism, nonfunctional glands, less secretion of hormones, etc. cause hair loss along with other health problems in dogs.

When to see a vet: 

If excessive and continuous hair loss occurs in dogs, it is best to make an appointment with a veterinarian and get your loved pets examined. 

Jobs of a veterinarian: 

A veterinarian will first take your history and routine details from you, so inform him or her of your pet's habits and medical history.

Diagnostic tools for hair loss in dogs: 

Veterinarians or veterinary professionals may conduct a thorough physical examination of the dogs, and according to that, they will prescribe medications or tests to identify the actual cause and severity of the conditions.

Skin biopsy: if there is any unknown lesion or outgrowth on the skin, veterinary professionals may want a skin sample for biopsy examination.

Blood work: blood testing is done to diagnose diseases affecting the circulatory system and ultimately leading to hair loss. A blood test may find out hormonal imbalances, allergic reactions, etc.

Scale or scrapings from the skin: skin scraping may be a good sample to identify parasites or microorganisms in the skin.

Testing for allergies: blood and skin testing may spot allergies causing hair loss in dogs.

Hormonal checkup: 

Checking hormone levels is another way to identify the real culprit behind hair loss in dogs.

How to treat bothersome hair loss in dogs: 

After conducting tests and diagnostics, the veterinarian may have a variety of treatment options, considering the severity of the conditions and the reasons he or she may prescribe medications like 

Antibiotics: if hair loss is due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics do best for this problem. Oral as well as topical antibiotics are available for this issue.

Antifungal medication: for treating fungal infections, antifungal medications are available and are the best options to eliminate fungal diseases causing hair loss.

Antiallergic or ant hypersensitivity treatment: use antiallergic medications for allergic or atopic dogs, which may lessen hair loss due to allergies.

Immunosuppressive drugs: immunosuppressive drugs reduce unwanted and excessive immune responses.

Antiparasitic medicines: For the treatment of parasitic diseases which may be the reason for hair loss, anti-parasitic medicines are the best options.

Deworming: deworming should be done according to the instructions of the veterinarian to eliminate external as well as internal parasites.

Hormonal therapy: hair loss due to hormonal changes can be treated and prevented by hormone therapy.

Dietary supplements: hair loss due to dietary deficiencies can be treated by providing enriched diets and adding supplements to the diets.

Behavioral adjustment: behavioral problems may be a cause of hair loss in dogs. Induce dogs to make behavioral adaptations, as this will reduce hair loss.

Surgical intervention: surgery may be required if there is cancerous growth or a tumor causing hair loss in dogs. The veterinarian will surgically remove the neoplasia or tumor.

 

Concluding points: 

Knowing the actual causes of hair loss and proper treatment according to the prescription of a veterinarian is of utmost importance for the elimination of this distressing and offensive disorder in dogs.

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