Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Labrador Retriever is losing hair aound his eyes - part II

This is part II of a readers e-mail question about her Labrador Retriever losing hair around his eyes, a shedding problem and offensive breath.

Le Ann's answers to my questions:

I personally did not notice any hair loss until it was brought to my attention. Yes we had begun painting at the time of the question. No, I have not noticed any blisters or bumps around the area. Neither has there been any tearing, but his nose has been running quite a bit. Not so much in the house, but as soon as I take him ( Amos Moses) out to potty his nose drips.

Maybe he has developed an allergy since staying in the house. I can say the past week (since the fumes are dying down) the skin doesn't seem to be as red, but still not much hair re-growth.

Yes, I'm desperate for an answer to the shedding problem and the breath, oh the breath is about to kill me!

Thanks for your response and kindness


It sounds as though Amos Moses has some sort of allergy. A common symptom of allergies is itching of the skin, either in one specific area or all over the body. Other symptoms can involve the respiratory system (sneezing, coughing, and/or wheezing). There can also be a runny discharge from eyes and/or the nose.

In your Labrador Retrievers case it could possibly be a contact allergy (even though they are rare). Contact allergies are caused by your Labradors physical contact with an offending substance (paint), and will produce localized skin reactions – swelling, hair loss, redness, and/or itching.

For treatment, usually removing the offending substance from Amos Moses environment will help clear up the problem. Also a good bath will help to get the offending allergens off of him.

Skin or blood tests, by your veterinarian can help determine the allergens causing problems with Amos Moses. Your veterinarian can also recommend appropriate treatment for any skin redness and to help relieve the itching.
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As far as your shedding problem, well, that’s what Labrador Retrievers do. My advice is to invest in a good vacuum.

On a more serious note, your Labrador Retriever needs to be brushed about once a week with a "slicker" brush (you can get one at any pet store) as this will help the shedding in the house. Remember though, this will help reduce the shedding, it will not eliminate it.

Last but not least Le Ann, the bad breath problem. The most common causes of bad breath are dental disorders plaque, tartar, and inflamed gums. Just like us humans, your Labrador will get a build up of plaque surrounding his teeth. This plaque can also cling to the base of his teeth which can cause the gums to recede and become inflamed. Observation of plaque is visible as a brownish to yellowish coating on the sides of the teeth.

What you would like to see when looking in Amos Moses’ mouth are strong, white teeth surrounded by pink gums.

Besides causing bad breath and tooth loss, infections in the mouth can spread to his vital internal organs. The heart, kidneys, and liver are susceptible to intrusion from oral bacteria.

Some other possible causes of bad breath can be gastrointestinal disease, dietary issues, and metabolic diseases.

What I would recommend is an appointment with your veterinarian for a thorough cleaning and further examination to diagnose the specific cause of bad breath. Make sure to get dental examines and cleanings as part of Amos Moses’ regular examinations.

Le Ann here is some other things that can help with the bad breath:

Brushing Amos Moses’ teeth - your veterinarian can advise you on doggie toothpaste and toothbrush, along with how to brush the teeth (if you need further help with it, don't hesitate to ask). They also have antibacterial oral rinses which can help slow down the accumulation of dental plaque.

Avoid the use of soft canned foods. A name brand dry commercial food will help to retard the formation of plaque.

There are also specially treated dental chews that help reduce plaque and tartar accumulation, I personally use the Nylabone Plaque Attacker Dental.

Make sure Amos Moses gets fresh water daily as bacteria can build up inside bowls containing water more than a couple of days old.

To read part I click: My Labrador Retriever is losing hair around his eyes - part I

To read part III click: My Labrador Retriever is losing his hair around his eyes - part III

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