Saturday, February 02, 2008

Black Labrador Retriever Mix losing hair in various places - part II

Subject: 3 year old black Lab/Fiest mix losing hair in various places - part II.

From: Dawn (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Girly

To read pat I of this e-mail visit: Black Labrador Retriever Mix losing hair in various places - part I

Reader's E-mail - Dawn Writes:

Hi Fay,

Thanks for responding so quickly to my email! I will do my best to answer your questions.

1. I noticed her start losing her hair around June 1, 2007.

2. At this time last year, she had a problem with some hair loss around her collar. We removed her collar and her hair grew back.

3. She has 2 areas of hair loss, one on her chest where she doesn't scratch and doesn't lick . The other is on the base of her tail, this one she licks often and have seen her chewing on her tail at times.

4. The area on her chest isn't completely bare, it has areas of new hair growing back so it is like a newborns hair...fine and soft. The area on her tail has broken, chewed hairs. The hair underneath seem to be coming back in grey or white. The hair seems to be courser than her normal hair.

5. The areas seems to be dry but not cracked. I have put baby lotion on the areas and seem to help a little.

6. She has three "owies" on her neck but I think it is from playing with our cat who isn't declawed.

7. She hasn't had a problem with fleas. I check her regularly for fleas and flea droppings.

8. There doesn't seem to be a distinct shape to the hair loss on her chest.

9. No skin color changes to the skin..just looks dry.

10. She does chew on her paws a lot. I check all the time for something in her paws but never can find anything.

Continue Reading...


11 We used to feed her Ol Roy Beef and Vegetable formula until last weekend. We have switched to the Ol Roy Lamb and Rice Formula on Sunday 6/24. She does get the Ol Roy Biscuits as treats. Yes, she also gets table scraps of food. We eat a lot of pasta (spaghetti, lasagna, macaroni and cheese) and Girly loves those scraps.

12. We bathe her with Sergeant's Skip-Flea and Tick Shampoo. She gets a bath every 7-10 days.

13 The rest of her coat is dry but not course.

14. I am a stay at home mom, so generally she is here with me most of the time. If we are gone for a long period she doesn't have problems with it. We have 2 cats that are her "buddies" and they keep each other occupied.

15. I haven't noticed her coat smelling.

I hope my answers help.

I am enclosing 2 pictures, one of the hair loss on her neck/chest and a better one of her playing her favorite sport....Frisbee!

Again, Thank you for your help:)

Dawn

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Dawn,

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

Thanks for the great photo of Girly, she is adorable.

There are many different reasons for hair loss with our Labrador Retrievers, that your best cause of action would be taking Girly to her veterinarian for a thorough check up. What I have listed for you, based on the answers to your questions, are some possible problems with Girly and some things that might help her.

There's a possibility that Girly may have some sort of allergy. One of the most common conditions affecting Labrador Retrievers is an allergy. Labradors can be allergic to all kinds of things, and it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the problem.

A common symptom of allergies is itching of the skin, either in one specific area or all over the body. Some other symptoms can include the respiratory system (coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing). There can also be runny discharges from eyes and/or the nose. One question I didn't ask you was if Girly has any chronic problems with her ears and nose, please let me know.

There are several different types of allergies that can affect your Labrador Retriever:

Contact allergy - just as the name states, a reaction to an irritant (such as flea collars, materials on her bedding, etc) that will cause itching and skin irritation at the location of contact.

A flea allergy - serve itching due to the flea’s saliva getting into your Labrador Retriever's skin. Your Lab will scratch and chew herself so severely it could lead to open sores, scabs and loss of large amounts of his hair.

I know you stated she doesn't have fleas, but the area around the tail that you talk about sure sounds like it can be a flea problem. Flea bites are responsible for an allergy which often occurs in Labrador Retrievers. This allergy is known as flea allergy dermatitis. Its occurs when the flea feeds, and its saliva is released into the skin of your Labrador, causing the development of an allergic response to the saliva.

Fleas can be difficult to find, especially in a black Labrador Retrievers. A Labrador Retriever with a flea infestation typically has a brittle, broken hair coat, especially in the area just in front of the base of the tail ( including the tail) where fleas prefer to reside. Another sign is that the hair has a distinctive musty smell.

Here is a website that shows you how you can check for fleas. Does my pet have fleas -

http://www.fleafree.co.uk/diagnosis/en/index.shtml

Your veterinarian is the best source to discuss flea control and elimination with. I can also give you help if you do discover that Girly does indeed have fleas.

Inhalant Allergy - just like you and I, your Labrador Retriever can develop allergies to something it inhales: tree pollens, weeds, grass pollens, with many of these being seasonal. There is a chance of a seasonal allergy occurring in Girly being as this just started occurring. There is also a possibility to allergens such as house dust, molds, mildew, which can be around all the time. Serve itching, sneezing and coughing may be present.

Food allergies - allergies to something eaten (ex: beef, pork, turkey, chicken, vegetable products). Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, scratching and itching can be present. Her dull, dry coat can also be attributed to a food allergy.

Food allergies can be complicated to recognize and to treat. For food allergies, a special diet called a "hypoallergenic diet" is set up with a changing of her food to something she hasn't eaten before. This is fed for a set period of time (usually it takes at least 12 weeks on the new food). Its important that during the diet trial nothing else is eaten. No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones), no table scrapes, no teats unless they are based on the same food sources as the test diet. NOTHING.

I know you have changed foods, but I feel the brand you are using, Old Roy products, are of very poor quality and probably just about one of the worst dog foods and treats available. If you would like for me to recommend some high quality foods for you, just let me know.

Blood or skin tests done by your veterinarian can help determine if allergens are causing problems with Girly. Treatments will depend on the type and severity of the allergies. A Labrador Retriever with mild cases can benefit from antihistamines and essential fatty acid supplements. Labradors with more severe allergies need a more aggressive treatment, such as steroids. Your veterinarian can recommend appropriate treatment.

Here are some things that may be of help to Girly:

For her dry, itching skin: A occasional cool bath can be very soothing, especially if you use an oatmeal shampoo (helps relieve dry irritated skin) or add a little colloidal oatmeal (like Aveeno) to the water.

A Hydrocortisone Shampoo can also be used for the itching (they have Hydrocortisone Shampoo with Aloe Vera Gel in them) or a hypoallergenic shampoo for the dry/sensitive skin.. After shampooing my sure you rinse very, very well.

To relieve the discomfort of sores caused by scratching, apply some Aloe Vera several times a day, make sure its 100% Aloe Vera not the mixture. This will not hurt Girly if she is to lick it off.

You can also soak her foot for five minutes, four times a day, in cool water. Add a sprinkle of Epsom salts to the water as it will also help soothe the foot. A compress applied to the paw for approximately five minutes will accomplish the same.

Supplementation with essential fatty acids (fats that must be supplied in the diet because the body cannot produce them) can also be of great help. Deficiencies of EFAs are linked to a variety of health problems.

I would also make sure you brush Girly at least once a day since brushing helps distribute natural oils through the coat, keeping it soft and shiny.

I hope this is of some help to you Dawn. If you don't understand anything, please let me know. If you have other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Also, please keep me updated on Girly's condition, and whatever things you do to help her as this is not only useful to me, but the readers of the All About Labradors blog.

Take care of yourself and Girly,

Fay

To see a photo of the beautiful Girly visit: Girly 02/03/08

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