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Boxer Dog Hair Loss-Problems and Solutions.
Boxer dog hair loss is one of the more common problems associated with the breed. Bald areas may be small or in larger patches. Hair may come out while grooming your dog. It's not unusual for the skin at the bald area to appear darker than the surrounding skin.
There are several potential reasons behind hair loss in boxers. These include allergies, mange, hormonal imbalances and seasonal flank alopecia. Some of these conditions may mimic each other so it is important to examine symptoms closely.
Allergies to flea or mosquito bites can sometimes occur. When this is present, boxer dog hair loss tends to be along the top of the dog and will appear in a triangular shape. Flea control products should help reduce the occurrence of fleas and the boxer's subsequent allergic reaction. Care should be taken to limit your dog's exposure to mosquitoes.
Other potential allergies include food intolerances, airborne allergies and sensitivities to secretions from the anal sac. Again, limiting the dog's exposure to the allergen can help reduce hair loss. Most allergies can be treated successfully with corticosteroids. In rare cases, there may be a bacterial infection present, which can result in the treatment failing.
Mange sometimes mimics flea allergies. If this is present, you may notice your dog itching frequently. The mites that cause mange can be extremely small and hard to find. If no other cause of boxer dog hair loss can be found, it may be worth treating for mange even if you have been unable to see the mites.
Hormonal imbalances can also cause hair loss in boxers. The two most common ones in dogs are hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid is unable to make adequate amounts of thyroid hormones. This condition is more common in middle aged dogs, those between the ages of four and ten. Male and females get it equally, but spayed females have a higher rate than those who aren't.
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In addition to boxer dog hair loss, you may notice other symptoms including lethargy, weight gain, changes in skin color and intolerance to cold. Blood tests are required to diagnose hypothyroidism. Since anemia and high cholesterol are often present when the thyroid is not working correctly, your vet may test these as well as the thyroid hormones.
Once diagnosed, this condition is easily treated with medication. This medication is a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone found naturally in the body. The medication will have to be taken on a daily basis for the rest of the dog's life. Your vet will do periodic blood tests to be sure the medication is working and determine whether a change in dosage is required. Most symptoms resolve once treatment begins.
Hyperadrenocorticism, better known as Cushing's Disease, occurs when the adrenal glands overproduce a hormone called glucocorticoid. As with hypothyroidism, this condition tends to occur in middle aged animals, both male and female. It is usually contracted around age six or seven, but can show up at any point between age two and sixteen.
Symptoms include increased thirst, appetite and urination; enlargement of the abdomen; and thinning skin with hair loss. The last two symptoms are the most common, appearing in 50% to 90% of animals with the condition. Some animals will experience all symptoms, while others may only have one.
Hyperadrenocorticism has two forms, pituitary dependent and adrenal-based. Pituitary dependent is the most common. Blood work is necessary to diagnose the disease and determine the type. Ultrasound may also be used to locate the tumors on the glands that frequently cause the disease.
Surgery is sometimes used in the case of adrenal tumors. However, in most cases, oral medication is given. Occasional blood work is required to monitor the animal's condition and the medication's effectiveness. In rare cases, hyperadrenocorticism can occur as a result of steroid use. Discontinuing them will reverse the symptoms, including boxer dog hair loss.
Some dogs have seasonal flank alopecia. Hair loss is generally on both sides, but may appear on only one. Hair loss is the only symptoms and it tends to occur between November and March, the hair regrowing later without treatment. It is generally recommended that this condition not be treated on its first appearance as it may not occur again. However, if it returns, there is some evidence that melatonin, usually given as a shot, may help.
As you can see, there are several potential causes of boxer dog hair loss. In most cases, a visit to your vet will be necessary to diagnose and treat the condition.
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