ALOPECIA (Hair Loss)

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Hair loss is very common. It can occur secondary to scratching. In this case your pet will be worked up as for an itching animal (see previous section).

Where hair loss occurs without scratching (ie the hair is simply falling out) the cause will be associated with the following groups of conditions:

  • Infections: pyoderma, dermatophytosis (ringworm), leishmaniasis (where your pet has been abroad).
  • Parasites: demodex.
  • Hormonal diseases.
  • Immune mediated alopecia.
  • Breed specific genetic alopecias.

In all situations it will be necessary to take a detailed history, carry out a complete examination and some basic diagnostic tests. This may include fungal culture if ringworm is suspected.

This is an area in veterinary dermatology where it may be necessary to carry out some blood testing to rule out hormonal abnormalities.

Some times however, especially with immune mediated alopecia and breed specific alopecia it may be necessary to take skin biopsy samples in order to get a complete diagnosis.

Unfortunately with some of these conditions it may not be possible to treat successfully.

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