Monday, July 21, 2008

Labrador Retriever's hair not growing back - part II

Subject: My Labrador Retriever's hair is not growing back after I shaved her - part II.

From: Gary

Labrador Retriever Name: Molly

Reader's E-mail - Gary's Response:

Just be advise that I have repeated the questions that I (All About Labradors) asked Gary followed by his answers in red:

WHY DO YOU SHAVE HER? Basically, because she sheds a lot and I thought she would be cooler in the summer (we live in Phoenix , AZ ).

What are areas where the hair hasn't grown back? On the side of her neck, flanks, and legs…..her other parts seems to be growing back a little better, but these areas are almost like the day I shaved her. I have shaved her for 4 years now, at least 2, sometimes 3 times a year and had never had this issue arise.

Are these hairless areas itchy to Molly? No

Are these hairless area raw and/or inflamed? No

Are the hairless areas dry and/or crusty? No

What do you feed Molly? Please list everything you feed her (dog food, treats, table scrapes, etc). Also please be specific with the name brands and flavors and if you changed anything recently. We feed her adult Iams dog food. Every now and then we give them rawhide bones to chew on and occasionally table scraps like pizza bones or vegetables.

What do you bath Molly with? Water and dog shampoo from PetCo

Any medical problems with Molly in the past? When Molly was 18 months old, she had parvo and made it through after 3 days at the vets….then when she was about 2 years old, she had subcutaneous Valley Fever and antibiotics got rid of that…..However, she has been healthy and alert ever since and shows no sign of any kind of sickness.

Is Molly a nervous or emotional Labrador ? No…she is a lover. All she wants is pettings and attention. But she is rather calm. A great dog. We also have two chocolate labs…Buddy, who is 5 (and I have shaved him as much as Molly and never an issue with his coat) and a 6 week old named Beaux.

Any other problems: runny eyes, nose, itchy paws, etc? No

All About Labradors Answer:

Continue Reading...

Hello Gary,

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

My apologies with the delays, as I receive many e-mail questions and with a full house of my own, it takes me some time to answer all the questions.

There are many different reasons for hair loss with our Labrador Retrievers. Some reasons of hair loss include: fleas, allergies, mange, skin infections, Hypothyroidism, Cushings Disease, flank alopecia, poor nutrition, and pattern baldness. These are just a few of the many reasons associated with hair loss.

Based on your answers to the questions I asked, I am able to eliminate some of the conditions that might be causing Molly her problems.

What I do recommend before I go any further is setting up an appointment with Molly's veterinarian to have her thoroughly checked out. I will list what I believe may be some of her problems and some of the things you can try.

Seasonal Flank Alopecia - Labrador Retrievers with this condition have hair loss on the flanks and trunk, that occurs during part of the year and is followed by hair regrowth during another part of the season. Some Labs will lose their hair in the fall and it will regrow in the spring, while others do the reverse. It causes bilateral symmetrical hair loss and hyperpigmentation of the flanks (a question I didn't ask was if there was a discoloring of the skin in the hair loss areas). Melatonin has been used in treatment with Seasonal Flank Alopecia.

Here is some further information for you to read (take a look at the photos on this site to see if it looks like Molly's condition):

Pattern Baldness - is a gradual, symmetric thinning and loss of the hair that progresses slowly with the affected areas becoming completely bald. These areas of hair loss are not itchy. These areas, over time may become darkened and/or scaly. There is no recommended treatment, however I have read that Melatonin has also been used to help with this condition.

Hypothyroidism - is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce a sufficient amount of thyroid hormone. It usually appears between the ages of 2 and 6. There are many different symptoms to hypothyroidism with abnormal shedding and alopecia (hair loss) being commonly seen. The hair loss is usually symmetrical.

Other symptoms of Hypothyroidism can include obesity, hair loss, dry skin, disorientation, lethargy, darkening of the skin, skin infections, seborrhea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, vomiting, and even heart problems.

Treatment consists of administering a thyroid hormone supplementation (replacement of the missing hormone with a synthetic hormone).

Here is some further information that will provide you with plenty of information on Hypothyroidism:

Cushing's Disease - is caused by the production of an excess of corticosteroids, with symptoms of the disease usually coming on very gradually. There is a post on the All About Labradors blog that has much information on Cushing's Disease:

Yellow Labrador Retriever with Cushing's Disease

Post clipping alopecia -occurs after areas on your Labrador Retriever are clipped or shaved, and is commonly seen on the trunk or limbs. Hair may not grow back immediately after it has been clipped, and hyperpigmenatation may also be present. The areas of this hair loss can be noted several months after the shaving was done.

Quoted from Carlo Vitale, DVM, Dipl. ACVD from the NewsMagazine of Veterinary Medicine:

"One theory as to the cause is localized vasoconstriction occurs suddenly at the site, resulting in sudden arrest in the hair follicle cycle." He further states " Aggressive rubbing or scraping of the affected areas can result in regrowth of hair. Affected dogs usually regrow hair in six to 12 months."

Some things that may help with Molly's condition:

Proper nutrition - a good high quality dog food, which itself is a whole nother topic. Not that I'm saying what you're feeding Molly is bad, but if you need some recommendations on other foods let me know.

I would also cut out the table scrapes, definitely no good for her.

Supplementation with omega fatty acids can help to improve the health of the skin and coat.

As far as shaving Molly goes, this is a BIG DEFINITE NO, NO! Many people feel that they are helping their Labrador Retrievers by shaving them. They believe that shaving them will help to keep them from shedding or keep them cooler in the warm weather.

What they don't realize is that the Labrador will still shed, and that the undercoat that they are shaving actually helps to keep your Labrador Retriever cool. The only time your Lab will need to be shaved is if your veterinarian needs to for "Hot Spots", in which case all the fur covering and immediately surrounding the lesion must be shaved, or for some other surgical procedures.

Here is a good article for you to take a look at: Why you shouldn't shave your long haired double coated dog.

Instead of shaving, what you want to do is groom thoroughly.

As you probably already know, Labrador Retrievers shed year round and then twice a year (spring and fall), they "Blow Coat", with the hair coming out in CLUMPS.

With my Labradors, I like to brush/groom them about twice a week to help keep them clean. You will probably have to brush Molly more when she is blowing her coat. Successful tools are a slicker brush or shedding blade. I also like to use a bristle brush, as it helps distribute the oils in your Labrador's coat, and it’s not stressful on their skin. Many fellow Labrador owners love a product called the Zoom Groom (it's a rubber brush with flexible rubber "fingers" that help to collect loose), made by Kong.

There is also a tool called the Furminator which I’ve been using, that I like, but I wouldn't use it all the time.

I hope some of this is of help to you and Molly. Like I previously stated, I do recommend an appointment with your veterinarian to have Molly examined and possibly tested. Remember, their are many different cause of hair loss with our Labrador Retrievers, some more serious than others.

If you don't understand anything, or have any other questions, please let me know. Also, please keep me updated on Molly's condition, and with anything the veterinarian tells you, if you do take Molly to see one.

Take care of yourself and Molly,

To read part I of this e-mail visit: Labrador Retriever's hair not growing back - part I

Helpful Posts:

Shaving my Labrador Retriever?

Does a Labrador Retriever need a Haircut?

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