Flank Alopecia in Dogs

Flank Alopecia in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Collapse / Hair Loss / Hairloss / Itching

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Rated as mild conditon

9 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Collapse / Hair Loss / Hairloss / Itching

Flank Alopecia in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Flank Alopecia?

Canine flank alopecia is sometimes known as seasonal alopecia because it is a light responsive seasonal disorder. It causes partial or total hair loss on the dog’s flank and back area. Lack of exposure to the sunlight in the months with shorter days seems to be connected to this disorder. It usually begins in late fall into early spring and lasts up to six months. Sometimes this condition recurs yearly, but not in all cases. About 20% of the time is will occur only once in the dog’s life. This disorder is also called cyclic follicular dysplasia, and it is a non-inflammatory condition.

Canine flank alopecia is a syndrome usually occurring in the fall through spring months. It has no known cause and produces hair loss in the flank and back of the dog.

Flank Alopecia Average Cost

From 291 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300

Symptoms of Flank Alopecia in Dogs

  • Bilateral symmetrical hair loss, particularly in flanks and the back of the dog
  • Dark pigmentation in the areas of the hair loss
  • Hair loss on the base of the tail, nose, and ears of the dog in some cases
  • Skin infection present in the bald spots of the dog
  • Previous bilateral symmetrical hair loss in past fall and winter months

Types

There are two different types of seasonal flank alopecia. Both types are non-inflammatory, which produce no itching or scratching.

  • Hereditary influence may be the cause with some cases of seasonal flank alopecia, although it has not been proven
  • Sunlight amounts may contribute to the onset of seasonal flank alopecia, with indoor or house-bound dogs more likely to become affected by the condition, due to their lack of daily sunshine exposure
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Causes of Flank Alopecia in Dogs

There are no known causes of seasonal flank alopecia. Seasonal changes in melatonin and prolactin occur in dogs and other mammals. Lack of exposure to the sunlight to the pineal gland could be responsible. The pineal gland is responsible for producing melatonin, which modulates sleep patterns in seasonal cycles. A lack of sunlight may cause the hair to fall out of some dogs on a seasonal basis. There does not appear to be a sex predilection and it may be hereditary. Some breeds are more susceptible such as Boxers (50% of all cases), Bulldogs, Schnauzers, Labradors, Scottish terriers, Akitas, Airedales, and Doberman pinschers. This condition is more common in areas in that have dark winters. Indoor dogs are most susceptible due to the lack of being outdoors during daylight hours.

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Diagnosis of Flank Alopecia in Dogs

Most dogs show signs between November and March each year. If your dog is showing symptoms, he will need to be examined by a veterinarian. Clinical signs and symptoms will be noted, and pigmented bald spots will be identified. Your dog’s breed will be considered, as well as the time of year. Skin biopsies may be necessary, which may detect follicular atrophy (white bumps), comedones (canine acne), epidermal thickness, and hyperpigmentation of the skin. Other diseases and disorders such as Cushing’s disease, thyroid disease, parasites, mites, and bacteria will be ruled out by appropriate testing. The average age of the diagnosis of seasonal flank alopecia is 4 years old.

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Treatment of Flank Alopecia in Dogs

Sunlight 

Exposure to sunlight during the months of September through March dramatically lessened the incidence of flank alopecia. Find a way to providing an opportunity for your dog to spend more time outdoors, especially in the fall and winter. This will greatly improve his chances of not developing seasonal flank alopecia.

Melatonin therapy

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the body of the dog’s daily rhythm. It can help to thicken and regrow the dog’s fur. Melatonin oral supplements or injections may be administered or recommended. Melatonin implants under the skin are available in some countries. Melatonin oral supplements are effective approximately 50% of the time. Follow your veterinarian’s advice on the proper dosage and frequency. Generally, melatonin will be given daily for two or three months until complete hair growth occurs. Restarting melatonin yearly four to six weeks before the anticipated onset of hair loss may prevent recurrence the following year.

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Recovery of Flank Alopecia in Dogs

There is a good, but unpredictable prognosis with most dogs regarding the growing back of their hair. However, some dogs skip a year of hair growth and some may not ever regain all of their hair. Sometimes the hair may even grow back in a different color and texture. Seasonal flank alopecia is a cosmetic disorder and does not affect the health or quality of life of the dog.

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Flank Alopecia Average Cost

From 291 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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Flank Alopecia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Lulu

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Multipoo

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

My dog has a spot on her back leg that has lost its fur. It doesn’t seem to bother her - she doesn’t scratch at it or act like it hurts her when we touch it. It’s not like a scab. Just black skin about the size of a quarter maybe raised a little.

Nov. 8, 2017

Lulu's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are so many different types of skin lesions in dogs, many of which may look the same and vary in severity; this could range from lichenification from itching too much to some type of tumour. Without seeing the patch of skin and feeling the texture, I cannot give you much information about it; you should have your Veterinarian check it out to see if it is something to be concerned about. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 8, 2017

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Demon

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Akita Pointer

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Skin Lump
Skin Loss
Inflamation
Skin Lump On Chest
Scabbing

Recently my dog has been getting circular patches around his back, belly and Rump. We thought it was ring worm which we treated but our other dog wasn’t getting them. We found the fatty lump on the chest and the hair loss is getting worse with bits of crusty skin coming off

Nov. 1, 2017

Demon's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Hair loss may be attributable to many different conditions including infections, hormonal issues, parasites (Demodex for example), chemical irritation, allergies among other conditions. I would visit your Veterinarian to see the alopecia but to also see the lump on the chest as your Veterinarian may decide to remove the lump or to at least do a fine needle aspirate. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 1, 2017

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Gracie Lu

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Boxer

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3

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Itching
Sensitivity
Mild Hair Loss

My 3 year old boxer has recently become very itchy and sensitive around her trunk and back legs. I am wondering if this is seasonal flank alopecia, but I can't find anywhere that lists itchiness and a symptom of this. She is having mild hair loss in that area, but not enough that any normal person would notice. I'm a little psycho when it comes to my dogs, so when some is different I NOTICE. Even if no one else does. I have treated her for fleas. I had to treat her twice, on a vets recommendation of course, because the first treatment did little to nothing.

Oct. 20, 2017

Gracie Lu's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Seasonal allergies may cause some itching but the severity varies between cases. One thing to try is Benadryl at 1mg/lb three times per day to see if there is a reduction in the amount of itching; also bathing in a sensitive shampoo may help too. Seasonal allergies may be one course, but also try to think of any changes which may have occurred in your home recently like new laundry detergents etc… which may have triggered this episode. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Oct. 20, 2017

MY 2 YR OLD BOXER..... SHE LOST HER FUR LIKE YOU SAID. BOTH SIDES..SPOT ABOUT AS BIG AS MY HAND...MY GROOMER SAID SHE THOUGHT IT WAS A THYROID PROBLEM...NO ITCHING....JUST HAIR LOSS...JUST TOOK HER TO VET/SEASONAL FLANK ALOPECIA///// I GIVE HER 5.4 APOQUEL DAILY PLUS A BATH ONCE A WEEK INMICONAAHEX+TRIZ PLUS MY VET SAID GIVE HER MELATONIN...

May 29, 2018

Joseph C.

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snoopy

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Labrador Retriever

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1 yr 10 months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hairs Coming Off Easily

my dog (labrador) hasbeen losing fur on his back and it happens on a seasonal basis he seem to loose hair most of the time through out the year . he is recently been seen having hot spots on his lower abdomen who he already recovered . and some infections on his stonach which turned black no. is it sasonal alopecia ?. he is a 2 yr old lab

Sept. 18, 2017

snoopy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

It does sound like Snoopy is having seasonal alopecia and it is associated with a change in sunlight (light responsive) and other issues; other causes for alopecia like hormonal disorders or parasites should be ruled out by your Veterinarian. The hot spots are generally caused by excessive licking of an area and can be prevented (or controlled) by regular bathing of any affected area. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/seasonal-affective-disorder-can-be-culprit-canine-hair-loss

Sept. 18, 2017

Flank Alopecia Average Cost

From 291 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$300

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