Why Is My Dog Going Bald On The Sides? A Carmel Veterinary Hospital Explains Seasonal Flank Hair Loss


028During the spring time at our Carmel veterinary hospital, we always see a few pet parents bring in their dogs who are going bald on the sides of their body.  The bald spots usually occur on both sides symmetrically. These dogs are not bothered by this hair loss with zero itching, scratching, or biting of the affected skin.  They just look a little silly.  The bald spot starts small and often becomes quite large.  Many dogs will even develop dark pigment within the skin on the areas of hair loss.  Due to the seasonal nature of this disease and the fact that it is more common in the northern states suggest exposure to sunlight plays a role in the cause of this disease.

Although there are many causes of symmetrical hair loss in dogs, some short-coated breeds like Boxers & Bulldogs, as well as Schnauzers & Airedale Terrirers are prone to a genetic condition called seasonal flank alopecia.  (Alopecia is the medical term for hair loss).  Also called cyclical flank alopeica, this condition will often spontaneously resolve on its own as the days become longer and your dog is exposed to longer periods of light.   Most dogs affected with seasonal hair loss will have it slowly regrow over 3-6 month period as the seasons change.

This disease is purely cosmetic and your dog does not know there is anything wrong.  And since dogs are not vain like us humans, doing nothing and waiting for the seasons to change is an acceptable strategy.  If, however, you would like your dog’s hair to regrow as quick as possible follow these two steps:

1.  Let you dog sunbathe as long as possible to increase the skin’s exposure to sunlight

2.  Give an oral supplement of melatonin twice a day for 6 weeks.

The hair regrowth is not always predictable.  Sometimes it will regrow completely very quickly, and the following year it will take a long time with only partial hair regrowth.   This condition is lifelong and can only be controlled, never cured.

Remember, there are many causes of hair loss in dogs.  So if your dog is losing some hair, call your Carmel veterinary hospital to make sure that there is nothing more serious going on.  For more information on our Caring Hands Compassionate Hearts, click on this link to Carmel Veterinary Hospital.

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