What is Post Clipping Alopecia?
While you may think you are doing your dog a favor by getting his dense coat clipped for summer, it can affect the regrowth of the hair considerably. Owners found that the regrowth takes ages to grow back, and even then the hair is very thin and a different color, giving their dog a scruffy appearance. Dogs with dense coats (Samoyeds, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamutes, Keeshonds, German Shepherds, Chow Chows and Retrievers) are kept cool by their coats.
Many professionals are now recommending against clipping of your dog’s coat if possible and suggesting a good brushing that will help your dog deal with heat and keep the appearance healthy. In other instances, the shaving of the fur due to medical necessity may bring on a case of post clipping alopecia.
When your dog’s dense hair coat is shaved, it may grow back thin, patchy, and a different texture, altering his natural heating and cooling system. When this occurs, it is called post clipping alopecia. This condition has been known to occur in some cases after a grooming or when the dog’s hair has been shaved in areas due to surgical necessity.
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Symptoms of Post Clipping Alopecia in Dogs
With post clipping alopecia, It takes a long time for the dense hair coat to grow back, creating heating and cooling problems for your dog.
- Your dog is vulnerable to sunburn where the hair is thin
- The regrowth hair is often a different color and texture
- Thin wispy regrowth instead of the once lush thick coat
- Hyperpigmentation (darkened skin on the body)
- Symmetrical hair loss on both sides of the coat
- Patchy and scruffy haircoat
- There are many possible medical causes for canine alopecia, but post clipping alopecia occurs after a double coated (thick dense coat) dog has been shorn
- Post clipping alopecia in your dog is usually instigated by the clipping process, although no one understands how that works other than it may disrupt the natural hair follicle growth when the density is altered
- While owners tend to get their dogs shorn to ease any stress during summer, the dog’s coat is perfectly designed to protect them from heat, and protects them from the burning rays of the sun
Causes of Post Clipping Alopecia in Dogs
- Post clipping alopecia seems to occur after shearing a dog of its double coated dense fur
- Clipping seems to initiate a condition where the hair cycle is arrested which means the hairs on your dog’s skin enter the telogen phase and the hair falls out but does not prompt new growth to occur which is the normal pattern
- Although there is no proof yet of the cause of this condition, experts assume that the cooling of the skin caused by clipping changes the regrowth pattern
- The cause could be an underlying health condition such as hypothyroidism that has not been noticed; your veterinarian can test your dog for endocrine disorders
- It seems there is no one definitive cause for this condition, but what the experts do agree on is that there is a chance that should you get your dog clipped (mainly double coated dense fur coated dogs) that there is a chance that your dog’s fur coat may not grow back to its original form, or that it may not grow back at all apart from a thin wispy coating
Diagnosis of Post Clipping Alopecia in Dogs
As more and more dogs are being groomed, the additional services of clipping seem to have sparked a hot debate between owners and professionals about whether the clipping causes the alopecia. It is a fact that a high number of heavy coated dogs have suffered what is now called post clipping alopecia. Although it is a cosmetic effect, it can subject your dog to sunburn as the once protected skin from the coat is exposed to the elements. Shaving for access in the case of a medical procedure, or due to skin problems such as hot spots is unavoidable.
While the experts believe the clipping of your pet’s fur for whatever reason and the lack of regrowth that may result may be caused by interrupting the natural development of the growing hair coat, (perhaps due to temperature changes) the fact remains that sometimes the normal haircoat is very slow to regrow. Usually if there is a regrowth, which may take as long as two years, the hair texture and color is often a different color than the original coat.
If your dog is suffering from this condition, ask your veterinarian to do a thorough check up just in case it is health related. Testing may include ruling out causes such as sex hormone imbalance, hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism. Additional blood work, to evaluate your canine’s overall health condition, may be recommended.
Treatment of Post Clipping Alopecia in Dogs
Your veterinarian may recommend medication that has been shown to give positive results in many cases. Veterinary prescribed melatonin and levothyroxine may be suggested to be given orally.
Also recommended are hydrotherapy, keeping the area warm and covered in order to increase blood flow to the area, and gentle massage if your dog allows it. If the area is sensitive due to sun exposure, your veterinarian can perform a visual check on a regular basis in order to assess the skin condition.
Recovery of Post Clipping Alopecia in Dogs
Take care to ensure that your pet does not suffer from sunburn on the now exposed skin. Sunburn on the skin can further complicate the regrowth stage as well as being painful for your pet. While the heat of summer can be great in some areas, dogs are perfectly adapted to deal with it even with the densest of hair. Heavy double coated dogs like the Samoyed are insulated from the sun’s heat by their protective coats.
While for owners the hair shedding and combing of the dog can be testing during these hot months, consider it a way of spending time with your best friend. A thorough carding of the coat or deshedding grooming will usually allow the thicker coats to breathe and prevent matting of the hair. The use of silicone based pet products when washing your dog will assist you to keep the hair in excellent condition when bathing your dog. In cases of post clipping alopecia that occur in the winter, a well fitting suitable canine coat will be necessary.
Post Clipping Alopecia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
We have 3 Brittanys.
2 males (littermates) are 5 yrs old, we’ve had them since they were puppies.
And we adopted a senior last August 2017, she’s 11 yrs old, rescued from a high-volume breeder. When we got her -Nellie- she was completely bald, and smelled kinda funny. Vet ran hundreds $$$ in tests, she was anemic but thyroid was fine. We had her spayed, assuming hormone troubles, and vet did a partial mastectomy for suspicious lumps (pathology all-clear). Her fur grew back so abnormally thick that it was near impossible to brush & had major problems with mattes forming. Summer 2018 rolled around, temperatures soaring 100+ degrees , we took all 3 dogs in to get groomed.
The boys’ fur grew back rather quick. No change to their coat.
Nellie’s however isn’t growing back. Groomed 5 months ago, and she looks like it was just done yesterday. We’re now into winter & I'm worried she’s going to be too cold. I’m reluctant to run even more $$$ tests with the vet.
Did we somehow halt her hair growth?
Is it just because she’s old?
Because she’s female?
She’s so different from the boys, even though they’re all the same breed.
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My dog had surgery to remove a cyst on his back. A sizable rectangle of hair was shaved to the skin and a piece of skin was removed to take up the slack. The incision was very tight and it required further treatment. The hair, which had grown back a fair amount, was shaved again. Now, only his undercoat has grown out on the distal half of his back and he chews at himself relentlessly. This was written off to fleas and he has been treated accordingly. I've treated his dry skin with petroleum jelly. Is there any clue as to when the hard outer coat will regrow?
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My poodle puppy went to the groomer... third cut & she shaved him down where he had a couple of matts on both sides of his torso.... the hair has not regrown & actually started to fall out in both areas!!! Not quite sure what to do. He has been seen by his vet.
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Last year we noticed some white marks along my dogs back in a perfect row. We took her the vet who said she had been sprayed with something. We suspect our next door neighbour, whom we do not get along with and has caused other problems plus my confiers had died too, just where the dog liked to lie. I measured the fence slats and the distance between the marks fit exactly. As she is double coated the vet did not think there was any damage to her actual skin. although the white patches are still clearly visable all along her back. She already had a slight case of dandruff so had dry skin anyway and I had special shampoo for this. She had been groomed a couple of times after the incident quite short and all was fine, apart from her still having a row of white marks where her fur has obviously been damaged quite deeply but the last time she was groomed the groomer, a newly qualified girl, insisted my dog has a disease and refused to accept the story that my neighbour had sprayed her coat,saying that if that had been the case then the spray would have been more wide spread, although the vet was the one who told us that she had been sprayed through a fence, hence the distinct patches in specific places, and thankfully in a place she couldn't lick. (I have photos of the original injury which I had to show to the girl to prove that the spray had gone in specific areas) Since she was groomed last by the young newly qualified girl my dogs fur isn't growing back and her coat has turned brown (she is black) and in a large patch which seems to be getting bigger and distinctly thinner than the rest of her coat. Additionally her dandruff is getting a lot worse. I can't speak to the groomer, (I suspect she may have used something on the patches without my permission as we had no problems prior to this with the other groomers) as they closed down shortly after my last visit. But the description of post clipping alopecia seems to fit how my dogs coat is. Is there anything I can do? ? She hasn't scratched and it doesns't seem to bother her, apart from over the last couple of days but I think that may because we have been looking after a pair of dogs for a friend that may have brought a flee in so mine will be getting a bath and a de-flee. I just think it is strange that she had been groomed and stripped twice before this young girl groomed her and her coat grew back fine apart from the white patches where the substance went and now we have this problem and especailly as the vet had told us previously that her coat was in very good condition apart from the marks from the spraying. It looks very unsightly and other dog owners are asking what she has wrong with her. (Possibly in case it is infecious!!!)
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Regarding Post Clipping Alopecia - Our dog's dense coat was cut in August 2017. The hair seemed to grow back fine and was clipped again in February 2018. Now our dog is developing a few bald spots which have no irritation. Can Post Clipping Alopecia happen even after the hair seemed to grow back in fine after the dense coat was shaved?
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