Dear VetBabble: What’s Causing My Dog’s Hair Loss and Itching?
A concerned pet owner writes: “My dog has a patch of fur missing on the side of her body. It looks like there are little bites, it has a golden sheen to it. She is constantly trying to chew and itch at it. I can definitely see hair loss, but there are scabs from her biting or scratching it. What could be causing this?”
Your dog’s hair loss, itching, and discomfort can be caused by a variety of factors. Let’s explore three common causes and some potential solutions to help your furry friend feel better.
1. Mites (Demodex or Scabies)
Mites are microscopic parasites that can be responsible for hair loss and itching in dogs. There are two common types of mites: Demodex and Scabies. Does My Dog Have Mange? provides important information about mite infestations, including symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options.
Both types of mites can cause hair loss and severe itching, but their treatments can be different. A veterinarian can perform a skin scraping to determine if mites are the cause of your dog’s hair loss and prescribe the appropriate medication to help her recover.
2. Ringworm (Fungal Infection)
Ringworm is a fungal infection that can cause hair loss and itching in dogs, as well as circular, scaly patches on the skin. It can also be contagious to other pets and humans. Your veterinarian can perform a fungal culture or microscopic examination to diagnose ringworm and recommend the best antifungal medication to treat the infection.
3. Bacterial Infection (Potentially From Allergies)
A bacterial infection on the skin might cause hair loss, itching, and scabs. Allergies can often be an underlying cause, as they can make your dog’s skin more susceptible to infection. To learn more about allergies in dogs, check out this article on Dog Allergies.
Your veterinarian can perform a skin cytology to identify the presence and type of bacteria involved in the infection. They may prescribe antibiotics for the infection and may also suggest allergy medications or lifestyle changes to address the underlying problem.
The Importance of Seeking Veterinary Care
While it can be tempting to try to diagnose and treat your dog’s symptoms on your own, getting a proper diagnosis from a veterinarian is crucial. Not only can they accurately identify the cause of your dog’s hair loss, but they can also prescribe the correct treatment to ensure a full recovery. They can also give medication to stop the itch and make your dog much more comfortable, improving her quality of life.
It’s important to note that hair loss in pets isn’t limited to dogs. Cats can also experience hair loss due to various health conditions. Learn more about Hair Loss in Cats in our informative article.
Thank you for using VetBabble, and we wish your dog a speedy recovery! Remember, seeking veterinary care is the best way to ensure your pet’s health and well-being.