Alopecia (Bald Spots) On Dogs
Is there a bald patch on your pooch? Bald spots on dogs are caused by a condition called alopecia, which is simply partial or total hair loss on parts of your dog’s body where there should be fur. These bald spots often occur on the top of the head, the belly, the back, and the ears. In addition to bald patches, you might notice swelling, crusting, or redness surrounding the bald areas. Because alopecia can be uncomfortable, your dog might also be overgrooming or doing a lot of scratching.
Alopecia is fairly common and can affect all breeds, ages, and genders. Fortunately, it is typically very treatable, but first, we have to get to the root of your dog’s hair loss!
In order for your Naperville Animal Hospital veterinarian to properly treat your dog’s bald spots, a thorough physical examination is in order, along with appropriate diagnostic tests to identify the cause of your dog’s bald spots. These tests could include:
- Skin culture to check for bacteria, yeast, or fungal infection
- Skin biopsy to pinpoint bacterial, parasitic, or inflammatory causes of fur loss
- Biopsy to confirm skin cancer diagnosis
- Blood and urine tests to check for hormonal imbalances
Causes of Alopecia in Dogs
Your dog’s bald spot could stem from a number of conditions. Some of these conditions can be cured and some must be properly managed over the course of your canine companion’s life. Here are some of the most common causes of bald spots on dogs:
- Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism)
- Inflammation of the hair follicles
- Skin allergy or seasonal allergies
- Bacterial or fungal infection
- Allergic reactions to foods
- Unhealthy diet
- Fleas and other parasites
- Overgrooming due to pain or anxiety
- Hereditary factors
Your dog’s Naperville Animal Hospital veterinarian will design a treatment plan that best targets the cause of your dog’s bald spots. Your pet’s course of treatment might include one (or more) of the following:
- Oral or topical antibiotics, antifungals, or steroids
- Antihistamines for skin allergies and other allergy-related reactions
- Medicated shampoos
- Regular use of flea and tick prevention
- Hormone therapy
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