Hair Loss Around Canine's Neck
Reader Question: What Is Causing My Dog To Lose Hair Around Its Neck?
I have a beagle/pug mixed dog, Bruno, who just turned a year old. In the first few weeks of May, when he was 10 months old, I started seeing hair loss around his neck. I took him to the vet and they said it was simply irritation from his collar and that I need to get a new one for him. I got him a new collar and his hair loss only got worse, to the point where there was NO hair on the front of his neck at all. I took him back to the vet who then told me that it was just the way my dog sheds his hair.
Now, only 3 months later, my dog has almost no hair on his entire front and belly. He has no hair under his arms and hind legs. On top of that, he has dark spots appearing all over his neck. I have attached a photo just to show what that looks like. Does this sound like a thyroid issue?
Veterinarian Answers Reader Question Regarding Canine's Hair Loss
Hypothyroidism is a possible cause of your dog’s hair loss, but I think it is unlikely in such a young individual. At his age, it would be more typical for him to have a skin infection, parasites, and/or to be developing allergies. If your dog were my patient, I’d first give him a thorough physical exam looking for clues to the cause of his condition (e.g., evidence of fleas or the musty odor of a yeast infection).
Next, I would probably need to run some diagnostic tests, including a skin scraping to look for mange mites, skin cytology to diagnose yeast or bacterial infections, a fecal exam for intestinal parasites, and a fungal culture for ringworm. Ringworm cultures can take up to three weeks to be complete, so in the meantime I treat for anything I’ve found and often start these patients on a broad-spectrum parasiticide like Revolution to deal with the parasites that can be hard to find on diagnostic tests and a medicated shampoo.
If your dog’s skin issues become a chronic or recurrent problem, I’d be suspicious that he is developing allergies. Diagnosing allergies can be difficult, often involving prolonged food trials in the case of food allergies and a thorough work-up sometimes followed by intradermal or blood-based allergy tests for environmental triggers like pollen, molds, and insects.
Jennifer Coates, DVM
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