Saturday, April 12, 2008

Black Lab Loosing Fur Around One Eye - part I

Subject: Black Lab Loosing Fur Around One Eye - part I

From: Roy (USA)

Labrador Retriever's Name: Watson

Reader's E-mail - Roy Writes:

Hello, I am one of the fortunate people who for the past ten years has had a home office. Of course the best thing about working at home is I can be with my dogs all day. Over those years I have raised 3 puppies. Until they are house trained, I move the office to my garage where I can be with them and they can do what puppies do without getting hurt or damaging anything. I keep a box in the garage where they sleep at night.

At first for a couple nights they cry a lot but soon adapt to being left alone. They sleep there for about 6 months, before we permit them to sleep in the house to sleep. They are not permitted into the bedrooms and within a very short period of time they do not wonder around the house when we are not home and automatically go to their sleeping place until we return. I believe having them sleep in the garage for the first several months prevents them for experiencing separation anxiety when we need to leave them during the day.

Being alone is something they have become accustomed to when they were pups. Additionally I have found it is a very big mistake to permit a dog to sleep in the bedroom with you. It tends to cause separation problems when the dog is left during the day. That is about all I can offer to you regarding my knowledge of dogs. And maybe it will be of help to readers who plan to leave their dogs, for long periods of time during the day. Now, I have a question for you.

The most recent pup is a pedigree 4 month old Black Lab which my son gave to me when he realized that raising a pup, going to college and working don't mix so well. My son had named him Watson. I like that name, at 11 months old and 85 lbs. Mr. Watson seems more appropriate !
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This is only my second pedigree dog in 35 years. I generally like to adopt a pup from an unwanted litter. This was an unwanted pup so I made an exception. Exception or not, how do you hold a 4 month old Black Lab and say no.

Watson was purchased from a very reputable breeder in our area. I met the breeder, he told me they are driven more to produce dogs with good temperament and health then dogs that will win shows based on looks. By the way the people that staff his operation are encouraged to bring their dog's to work! The owner provides a very large fenced in area for employee dogs. I was very impressed with the cleanliness of the grounds. I think there were more people there per dog then nurses per patient in a hospital.

Watson has very beautiful fur and the Vet had told me to give him Omega 3 fish oil to keep his fur in good health. I am giving him one 1000mg dose a day. I noticed over the past couple weeks that he is loosing fur around one eye. The skin looks normal, he does not seem to be scratching it, and I do not see any difference between his two eyes. There is no discharge from the eye. I have noticed that many Chocolate Labs seem to not have fur around their eyes. Is this perhaps something that is normal for a Black Lab as they mature?

I cannot think of any changes in his environment. He acts normal. I will of course take him to the Vet, but that is always an episode I dread. Frankly, with so many sick dogs at the Vet I am always concerned about exposing the dog to more serious problems.

Is there anything you can think of that I may apply to the affected area or anything I can try before resorting to a Vet visit? Is the Omega 3 dosage too high for him? If I find the cause, will the fur grow back ?

Any help would be appreciated.
Roy

All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hello Roy,

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

I'm sorry to hear about Mr Watson's condition. I apologies for the delays, as I receive many questions and it does take time to answer them all.

Thanks for the great advice in regards to Separation Anxiety, it will be of great help to the readers of this blog. I also thank you for the photos of Mr Watson.

There are several different causes for hair loss in our Labrador Retrievers. Based on your photos, and what you tell me in your e-mail, it sounds as though Mr Watson has a condition called mange. Mange is an irritation of the skin, which will generally result in hair loss and sometimes can include inflammation, rashes and itching.

Demodectic mange is caused by a microscopic mite called Demodex canis. These mites are a normal residents of your Labrador Retrievers skin, but not all Labradors are affected by them.

There are three forms of mange: localized, generalized, and demodectic pododermatitis. It is very possible Mr Watson is dealing with the localized demodectic mange.

Demodectic mange occurs when the immune system is suppressed, which basically causes these mites to "get out of control" causing hair loss as well as skin problems. It is found mostly in young dogs, who acquire it from their mothers.

In puppies, some of the first signs are usually hair loss around the eyes, chin, mouth and forelegs. These symptoms will often fade as your Lab pups immune system matures and is able to resist these mites, helping to clear it up by itself. "When a puppy develops localized demodicosis the chance of the condition resolving is 90% unless there is a family history of demodicosis in related dogs. In this case, chances drop to 50%."

Mange can be diagnosis by your veterinarian, usually by doing a test called a skin scraping. Your Labradors skin is scraped and then put under a microscope to check for the mite.

Some treatments include:

Rotenone (Goodwinol ointment)

Benzoyl peroxide 5 % gel applied daily

You can bath periodically with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo

Feed a high quality diet

Essential fatty acid supplementation (Fish oil which you are using)

If the condition develops into generalized mange further treatments may include:

Amitraz Mitaban Dips

Interceptor RX

Ivermectin

As I stated earlier, often it is best not to treat this condition and to simply allow it to resolve on its own. That being if Mr Watson does have demodectic mange.

The decision of taking Mr Watson to see your veterinarian is up to you. I only state what your Labradors condition could possible be. Some things I definitely recommend you do, even if you do take him to your veterinarian:

Make sure you are feeding him a high quality diet (I can recommend some good high quality foods for you).

Continue with your fish oil (Fish oil - 1000mg per 30 pounds of Labrador Retriever's body weight)

Supplement with vitamin E

Probiotics (Acidophilus/lactobacillus), or PLAIN yogurt with active cultures. Probiotics are preferred, but if you cannot get them, you can use plain yogurt with active cultures. This will help to maintain good intestinal bacteria to help when fighting parasites. (I can help recommend this product also, and I believe this to be a very important supplement for our Labrador Retrievers).

Last but not least, I receive many e-mails from people recommend things they have done with their Labrador Retrievers with different problems, that I am going to start listing them in the new questions I receive at All About Labrador Blog (now I can use your Separation Anxiety example).

Reader's Recommendations - Demodectic Mange:

Nu-Stock - topical treatment

Neem Shampoo

Garlic Supplementation

Hope this can be of help to you and Mr Watson. If you don't understand anything, need recommendations, or have further questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Please keep me updated with Mr Watson's condition and any treatments he gets.

Take care of yourself and Mr Watson,
Fay

To read the second part of this e-mail visit: Black Lab Loosing Fur Around One Eye - part I

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