What Causes Hair Loss In Dogs

Hair Loss In DogsHair Loss In Dogs

By Admin

Hair loss in dogs or Alopecia can be a signal of serious medical problems.  It is associated ..with skin diseases, endocrine disorders and allergies.  Excessive licking can indicate a skin problem.  Other symptoms are thinning coat, patchy areas, bald spots, itchy skin, and spotty bare areas.

What causes hair loss in dogs?


Hypothyroidism in dogs is an endocrine disease which occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.  Signs of dog hypothyroidism are thinning hair, lethargy, weight gain, or a dull, dry coat.  A blood test which measures thyroid hormones is used to diagnose this disease.  Synthetic thyroid hormones are given to manage this disease.


Mange in dogs is a skin disease which is caused by mites, usually shows up as itchy skin with patchy hair loss around the eyes, front legs, and the body.  Skin scrapings are used to confirm the presence of mites.  Topical anti-parasitic ointment or dips can be used to cure dog manage.  If your dog has a severe case or inflamed skin, your vet may want to use benzoyl peroxide shampoo, or anti-parasitic drugs or antibiotics.

Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s disease in dogs is an endocrine disorder that causes the adrenal glands to produce too much Cortisol.  This elevates blood sugar and increases fat and protein bread down.  Symptoms of Cushing’s disease are weeping sores, hair loss along the back, increased thirst and urination, thin skin, excessive panting and muscle weakness.  Diagnosis can be made by measuring the cortisol levels in he blood.  Life long drug therapy is used to manage the disease and in most cases in successful.


Ringworm in dogs is a fungal disease that affects the skin and mucous membranes.  Symptoms are thinning hair and a circular lesion with crusting around the edges.  Dog ringworm can be identified through microscopic examination or skin cultures.  Treatment involves oral and topical medications and anti-fungal shampoo therapies.

Bacterial Skin Diseases

Bacterial skin diseases on dogs can result from underlying problems which include:  Allergies, manage, and hypothyroidism.  The dog scratches until the hair falls out, chews or licks itchy areas, then damages the skin, causing bacteria to form.  A patchy loss of hair is more common than the hair loss that is seen with endocrine diseases.  To diagnose this disease your vet may do a microscopic examination of the skin lesions for the presence of bacteria.  Treatment involves a three to six week course of antibiotics.


Canine allergies to parasites, pollens, dust mites, certain foods, chemicals, can cause itchy skin.  This causes your dog to scratch off his hair, rub his face, or lick his paws.  It may not be possible to identify the allergic disease and diagnose the allergen.  Flea bite allergy can be confirmed by the presence of fleas or flea dirt.  Flea allergy in dogs is diagnosed by itching around the tail base and flea infestation.  Bacterial and fungal disorders must be ruled out.  Treatment of allergies in dogs includes flea control, anti-itch medications such as antihistamines, and corticosteroids, supplementation of fatty acid may help an itchy dog.

Alopecia X

Canine Alopecia X is a group of unidentifiable loss of hair conditions that resemble endocrine type diseases such as Cushing’s disease.  They are treated with Melatonin.  It helps about half of dogs restore their hair.

When you groom your dog, you should look for any signs of skin irritations or irregularities.  Early detection of the problem, can minimize loss of hair for dogs.

Causes Of Cushings Disease In Dogs

Canine Cushings DiseaseCushings Disease In Dogs

By Admin

There are various causes of Cushings disease in dogs. Cushing’s disease is related to a hormonal imbalance of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are located near your dog’s kidneys. Cushing disease affects an estimated 100,000 dogs a year in the United States. It is a serious life threatening illness. This disease is seen more frequently in dachshunds, poodles, boxers and boston terriers that are over eight years old. Dogs with cushings disease have other health related problems such as diabetes, pancreatitis and infections. These dogs will drink a lot of water, urinate excessively, have a symmetrical pattern of hair loss, become weak and get a pot belly.

The pituitary and adrenal glands work together to produce a balance of hormones in a healthy dog. If either of these glands malfunction, a dog will develop abnormally high levels of hormones which leads to cushings syndrome.

Three main causes of cushing’s disease in dogs are:

Pituitary dependent

Adrenal based

Iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism

In the pituitary dependent a tumor growing on the pituitary stimulates the gland to create an excess of adrenocorticotrophic hormones. These tumors are usually benign. This causes the adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol. This happens in eighty five percent of dogs with cushings disease. It can cause neurological problems and death in the dog.

Adrenal based accounts for fifteen percent of the cases. It is caused by a tumor located on the adrenal gland which disrupts communication between the adrenal glands and the pituitary gland that causes an over production of cortisol. At least fifty percent of these tumors are malignant. If the tumor is removed, there is a good chance the disease will come back.

Iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism occurs when a dog receives long term therapy with steroids for treatment of allergies. It reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system.

Canine cushings disease can manifest itself through many symptoms. Dogs can display just one or many of these symptoms.

Signs of cushing’s disease in dogs:

Increased water consumption

Urinate excessively

Weight loss

Weight gain

Hair loss (both sides of the body and legs)

Pot belly appearance


Increased appetite

A dog that has been on long term corticosteroid therapy can develop cushing’s syndrome. It can cause skin changes as many endocrine disorders do. The skin areas often turn brown. Most endocrine disorders are treatable. Your vet will want to do blood tests and a urinalysis before he can make a specific diagnosis.

Cushings syndrome can be managed by medications that suppress cortisol production. This therapy does not provide a cure, but relieves symptoms. In some cases, tumors can be surgically removed in adrenal based hyperadrenocorticism. Radiation and chemotherapy can be used in dogs that are not surgical candidates.