Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part II

Subject: Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part II

From: Jeremiah (USA)

Labrador Retriever Name: Hailey

Reader's E-mail - Jeremiah's Reply:

Fay, thanks for your response...

She has had the bald spot for about 8 months. The vet said allergies in general, he did not say what kind (I don't think they knew!). She is beginning to lose hair on the corner of her ears. Her coat was greasy and had an odor to it before we changed her food, now it's fine.

The bald spot is itchy, she rubs it on the carpet when it irritates her and when I put cream on it. Her paws are sometimes red and she licks them often. Her skin is not dry or flaky and has had no ear infections. No nasal discharges and hasn't had any other conditions you listed.

We had her on IAMS Chicken and Rice before we changed it to Nutro Lamb and Rice, we do not feed her scraps from the table and we give her rawhide bones. Hailey hasn't had any other medical conditions in the past. I have attached a few photos for you! I appreciate your help on this and look forward to your response.

Thank you,

All About Labradors Answer:

Hi Jeremiah,

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

Continue Reading...
Thanks for the responses to my questions and for the cute pictures of Hailey. She looks so much like my Meeko, they could be sisters.

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, and your veterinarian ruling out other conditions, I also feel allergies are causing problems for Hailey. The oily skin and odor you described is also symptoms for a condition called Seborrhea oleosa, or oily seborrhea. Here is some further help with Seborrhea:

Seborrhea: Introduction

With the itching going on with the head and the paws, allergies can be the cause. When Labrador Retrievers have allergies, they are more likely to scratch, chew and lick in an attempt to suppress the itching sensation.

Labrador Retrievers with allergies may show some of the following symptoms:

Chewing on paws, itching of body, rubbing head/ face on the carpet/couch, recurrent ear infections, infected skin, and hair loss.

Atopy (inhalant allergies) are most common in Labrador Retrievers. Just like you and I, your Labrador can develop allergies to something it inhales, such as tree pollens, weeds, grass pollens, with many of these being seasonal. There is also a possibility to allergens such as house dust, molds, mildew, which can be around all the time.

Some things you might want to do around your home:

Keep Hailey out of rooms several hours when you vacuum.

Wash Hailey's bedding in very hot water

Try to avoid stuffed toys and letting her sleep on stuffed furniture

Keep Hailey out of carpeted rooms

Use dehumidifiers

Keep Hailey out of basement (if you have one)

Other allergy testing can be done by your veterinarian, such as blood tests or intradermal skin testing. The better allergy test is intradermal skin testing, which is usually done by a veterinary dermatologist. You may want to visit a veterinary dermatologist (you can ask for a referral from your vet) if he/she is not one themselves. Veterinary dermatologist are specialists that tend to see chronic and odd cases, and often recognize unusual syndromes a general practitioner may miss.

Food allergies to something eaten (beef, dairy products, chicken, wheat, chicken eggs, corn, and soy), can occur at any age (majority of cases between 2 and 6 years of age) and may mimic the signs of an inhalant allergy. These animals tend to have recurrent ear and skin infections unless the allergy is identified and the allergy is addressed. Food allergies can be complicated to recognize and to treat.

The problem is figuring out what the allergen is. As I stated previously, skin and blood test can be done by your veterinarian, as well as setting up a special diet "hypoallergenic diet", for a possible food allergy.

Changing the food, which you have stated you tried, is called a "hypoallergenic diet" - a changing of his food to something he hasn't eaten before, which is fed for a set period of time (usually it takes at least 12 weeks on the new food) can be done to help to determine if this is the cause.

If you do decide to try changing Hailey's food again, remember:

Give the trial at least twelve weeks on the new food

No other treats should be given during the food trial. Only exception is if they are based on the same food sources as the test diet.

You have to be strict with the new food test, offering no other foods and NO table scrapes.

No unnecessary medications are to be given.

No edible chew toys (such as rawhides or bones) should be given.

Recommendations of foods for Hailey:


Eagle Pack (Holistic Select)

These companies also offer treats based on the same food sources as their foods.

Many people believe (and recommend) Lamb and Rice for dog food allergies. Our Labrador Retrievers had never eaten lamb and rice before, thus they never had time to develop an allergy to it. There was nothing special about the lamb and rice except as I said, our Labs had never eaten it before.

The problem is that many of the lamb and rice-based foods also contain many other ingredients, and if your Labrador Retriever has a food allergy to any of those ingredients, the lamb and rice food will do nothing to treat the food allergy.

Additional help for allergies:

Supplementation with omega fatty acids (3V Capsules, DermCaps, etc) can help to improve the health of the skin and coat.

Colloidal Oatmeal Shampoos and cream rinses - these products pull inflammatory toxins out of the skin, along with colloidal oatmeal sprays and lotions, which can be purchased at your local pet stores.

Benadryl has been known to help allergy conditions in many Labrador Retrievers. Be advised that it can also have potential adverse side effect.

One thing that I make sure I use with my Labradors is probiotics and digestive enzymes, which I feel should be given to all Labrador Retrievers. Probiotics are live cultures found in yogurt which will help out in maintaining and increasing the good flora (bacteria) of the gut.

You could also supplement Hailey's diet with regular, non-flavored yogurt with live cultures daily. Make sure there are no sugars or sweeteners in it. You could add it to her food, or your can use it in the Kong toys if you use them. One reader of this blog stuffs it into the Kong toys and freezes it.

Some places to get probiotics and digestive enzymes:

Health and pet food stores: Acidophilus for dogs

1-800-PetMeds - NaturVet Enzymes & Probiotics

Only Natural Pet Store

Pet Enzymes

Here's a helpful article on probiotics:

The Benefits of Probiotics for Your Pet

Here are some things you can do to help Hailey with her paw itching:

You can soak her paws 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 paws. A compress applied to the paw for approximately five minutes will accomplish the same.

A nice cool bath can be helpful, since the water will assist in relieving the itching. You can add a little colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno) to the bathwater, which will help soothe the paws or your veterinarian can prescribe an antiseptic shampoo. Make sure you rinse Hailey's foot thoroughly after the bath, since any remaining soap that remains can make the itching worse.

Another method that you can try is Aloe Vera applied to the paw. Make sure its 100% Aloe Vera, like the kind from the plant (you can find in health store) not the mixture. This will also not hurt Hailey if she is to lick it off.

Hope this helps Jeremiah. If you don't understand anything, please don't hesitate to ask. Also please keep me advised with her condition.

Take care of yourself and Hailey,



The Merck Veterinary Manuel
Pub Med.org

To read the first part of this e-mail visit: Chocolate Labrador Retriever with Bald Spots on Head - part I

A big thank you to Jeremiah who shared some wonderful photos of Hailey with us. Visit: Hailey 11/18/08


Labrador Retriever's hair not growing back - part I

Another Chocolate Lab with Hair loss around the Eyes - part I

Labrador sheds lots of hair

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