Alopecia X in Dogs

Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog

Alopecia X is more common in certain breeds such as toy and miniature poodles.

A very interesting skin condition seen in the veterinary clinics is known by veterinary dermatologists as Alopecia X. This hair follicle and cycle abnormality is more prominent in certain breeds such as toy and miniature poodles. Some veterinarians have referred to this syndrome as hair cycle arrest. This syndrome can affect dogs of either sex, regardless of neuter or age status. There have been reported cases in dogs as young as one year of age, as well as dogs as old as age 10-12.

The typical clinical presentation is the symmetrical, gradual loss of hair over the trunk and lower end of the body, often affecting the back of the thighs. It seems that in most cases, the hair loss does not involve the head and front limbs as much as the lower end of the body. There is often a secondary thickening or development of hyper-pigmentation of the skin over time. Most of the dogs that develop this syndrome are not systemically ill, and it is not known why the hair cycle goes into this arrested state. While the diagnosis can be suspected based on clinical appearance, skin biopsy to differentiate it from other coat disorders is probably the most definitive test.

While I have seen some veterinarians use hormones such as melatonin in treating affected dogs, there are really no currently proven effective treatments at this time.  As a holistic veterinarian I have found that, if animal guardians place their pets on a more evolutionary appropriate raw meat based diet, as well as work with a holistic veterinarian on using nutritional supplements and homeopathic remedies over time, that improvement may occur slowly. Even if not successful, such an approach will most likely improve the overall health of the animal.

To learn more about classical homeopathic approaches to this and other diseases that conventional medicine has little to offer, see the websites as well as my own website

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