Alopecia X – Canine Hair Loss

For want of a better name for this canine hair loss, alopecia X is derived from a hormonal disorder that is not considered to be life threatening.

This type of canine hair loss is known by other names, such as black skin disease, the cold funk, castration-responsive dermatosis and growth hormone responsive alopecia. It is characterized by patches of missing hair, and can progress to a total loss of the dog's coat.

Breeds of dog that seem to be more commonly affected include:

Pomeranian, Chow Chow, Alaskan Malamute, Spitz, Poodle and the Elkhound.

Male dogs seem to have a higher prevalence and the condition usually presents itself at around three years of age. The dog's coat will appear to be lifeless and dry, with lengthier hairs falling out first as well as the possibility of the skin becoming flaky.

How is it diagnosed?

Your veterinarian will conduct a battery of tests to rule out other health disorders, such as a thyroid disorder, hyposomatotrophism, Cushing's disease, or follicular dysplasia. Testing for alopecia X include a urine sample, a blood analysis, and biopsy of skin tissue.

Canine hair loss treatments:

Alopecia X can be treated by spaying or neutering your dog if the disorder is found to be of hormonal origin. In addition, the drugs methyltestosterone or lysodren can be administrated.

You can also give your dog oral doses of melatonin every 12 hours plus additional supplement nutrition. Your vet will determine the appropriate course of treatment once diagnosis has been determined.

Trilostane, which interferees with the synthesis of 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, has shown to be every effective in the treatment of alopecia X, which stimulated hair regrowth in dogs diagnosed with canine hair loss. There are no side effects attributed to the use of this medication.

Management:

Dogs diagnosed with alopecia X are prone to extreme temperatures of heat and cold. Getting a doggy shirt of some kind to protect the skin while outdoors will prevent further damage to the skin.

Bathe and comb your dog regularly as this can promote hair growth by increasing circulation to the skin. There is the possibility that the alopecia x is not a stand alone condition – it could have the result of two or more problems in combination that are causing the hair loss.

If your dog is showing signs of alopecia X, a visit with your veterinarian will define the cause and the appropriate treatment will be prescribed.