What Causes Thin Coats on Husky Dogs?

Three Siberian huskies display healthy coats.

Three Siberian huskies display healthy coats.

Siberian huskies are working dogs originally bred in Siberia. Strong and compact, they're often used as sled dogs. Huskies' fur has long outer guard hairs and a shorter, denser undercoat. Healthy Siberian huskies shed profusely two times a year. They're prone to skin diseases, which may cause thinning coats. Your veterinarian can diagnose skin problems, which often are symptoms of other diseases, such as Cushing's disease or hypothyroidism.

Canine Follicular Dysplasia

Canine follicular dysplasia is a rare disease characterized by malfunctioning hair follicles, which results in patchy hair loss. In Siberian huskies, canine follicular dysplasia occurs between the ages of 3 and 4 months. Weakened guard hairs break off, leaving a wooly undercoat which may turn a reddish color. Often seen under the collar and on pressure points, the husky's face and extremities are seldom affected. Possibly inherited, there's no specific treatment for follicular dysplasia, although it sometimes responds to melatonin.

Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis

Zinc is an important immune booster, helping your dog's body heal wounds and promoting healthy cellular growth. Zinc-responsive dermatosis is caused by a zinc deficiency. Most dogs diagnosed with zinc-responsive dermatosis are Siberian huskies or Alaskan malamutes. Often seen on the face and head, it causes scaly, itchy skin and hair loss. Severe cases may cause low energy and loss of appetite. Lifelong treatment is needed; your veterinarian may recommend zinc therapy, antimicrobial therapy and sulfur shampoos.

Alopecia X

Alopecia X usually affects Siberian huskies and other Nordic breeds. It's cause is unknown, but may possibly be a sex hormone imbalance. The husky's primary hair falls out, leaving only a thin, fuzzy undercoat. After time, this fur also falls out. There's no itching associated with alopecia X, but his skin may darken or turn black. This disorder usually shows up when the husky is between 3 and 5 years old.

Canine Nutritional Deficiencies

Siberian huskies with thinning hair may suffer from canine nutritional deficiencies. Insufficient iodine in your dog's body can result in hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, skin problems, hair loss, diarrhea, lethargy and weight gain. Your veterinarian might suggest a holistic approach, such as iodine-treated water, thyroid therapy, or in severe cases of hyperthyroidism, surgery. A vitamin B deficiency is treated with a B-complex supplement. Often caused by heat exposure, its symptoms are itching, excessive shedding, skin disorders and anemia.

 

About the Author

Karen Mihaylo has been a writer since 2009. She has been a professional dog groomer since 1982 and is certified in canine massage therapy. Mihaylo holds an associate degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College.

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