What is Hair Loss Due to Lack of Growth Hormone?
Hair loss due to lack of growth hormone in dogs is a condition where the dog’s skin becomes abnormal as a result of the growth hormone, somatotropin, which is significantly lower than normal or lacking. Somatotropin is the hormone which comes from the pituitary gland and is vital for the growth of hair and normal skin elasticity. Dogs with this condition do have hair loss, as well as a more darkened skin than normal; however, they remain in good health. The hair loss, known as alopecia, occurs over the torso. Where the skin is shown from the air loss it is remarkably darker than the other parts of the skin. This condition does not affect the overall health of the dog; however, the dog’s appearance will be affected. If left untreated the dog will continue to lose hair all over the body with the exception of the head and the feet.
Hair loss due to lack of growth hormone in dogs is a condition caused by a lacking of somatotropin, a vital hormone from the pituitary gland responsible for growth.
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Symptoms of Hair Loss Due to Lack of Growth Hormone in Dogs
Symptoms of this condition are not of any harm to the dog and typically develop at puberty. This condition primarily affects males. Symptoms include:
- Brittle and dry hair
- Hair loss
- Failed regrowth of hair
- Darkened skin
- Flaky skin
- Changes are in a pattern of symmetry along the torso, or trunk
Since this is an inherited disorder, there are dogs that are more likely to have this condition. The types of dogs that are mostly affected are:
- Chow Chows
- American Water Spaniels
Causes of Hair Loss Due to Lack of Growth Hormone in Dogs
There is a primary cause and secondary cause of hair loss due to lack of growth hormone in dogs. The causes are:
- Breed disposition and genetics are known to be a factor
- Inadequacies in growth hormone production (somatotropin from the pituitary gland)
Diagnosis of Hair Loss Due to Lack of Growth Hormone in Dogs
If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms of hair loss it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out other illnesses and to find a treatment for the loss of hair. The veterinarian will perform a complete examination including blood tests, urinalysis, and other screening tests that he feels are necessary.
The veterinarian will then assess the dog’s growth hormone amounts by using a growth-hormone stimulant to see how the dog’s system responds. The veterinarian may need to perform more tests to rule out other endocrine conditions that cause hair loss, such as hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism. The veterinarian, in addition to the growth hormone test, may also check the serum IGF (insulin-like growth factor). The hormonal drug tests given will assess the amount of adrenal hormones and if the dog has deficient enzyme amounts. With a decrease in adrenal hormones, other hormones build up in the body.
Treatment of Hair Loss Due to Lack of Growth Hormone in Dogs
There are a few methods of treatment for this non-life threatening condition. Treatment methods include:
With hair loss due to lack of growth hormone, neutering is the preferred method of treatment.
Once the dog is neutered or spayed and conditions do not improve, another option to help the dog with the hair loss is the administration of growth hormones. During this treatment, the dog is given growth hormones three times per week for 4 to 6 weeks.
Recovery of Hair Loss Due to Lack of Growth Hormone in Dogs
If the dog is given growth hormones, the veterinarian will want to test for the development of diabetes mellitus, which could be a side effect of the administration of these hormones. With this condition, prognosis is good. Not everyone seeks treatment, as this condition does not affect the overall health of the dog. Since this is an inherited disorder that is still being researched, it is suggested that dogs with this condition should not be bred.
Hair Loss Due to Lack of Growth Hormone Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog Poppy has Hair Loss mainly on the neck, Torso and inner thighs. The hair loss have been noticed for the past three (3) months. There are also darkened areas on the inner thighs and underbelly.
She is scratching and biting herself quite often too and I'm not sure if she have a growth hormone problem.
The Vet has given anti-itching medication, steroids and antibiotics. In spite of all this, the hair is dropping out at a very fast pace and I don't know what to do.
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He has a growth in his testicular
If you are noticing a growth or mass on Dennis’s testicle or in his scrotum you should have the mass seen by your Veterinarian and it would probably be best to have Dennis castrated with the mass sent off for histopathology to see if further therapy is required or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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