With his long back and stubby legs, the dachshund is instantly recognizable. This wiener dog can sport a short or long coat that sheds moderately, but this normal shedding has nothing to do with the bald spots he might develop. Medical and genetic factors are most likely at play if he loses hair abnormally.
If your doxie's got hair, he's vulnerable to the common causes of hair loss that can affect any dog breed. Allergies can cause your little Oscar to go into such fits of scratching, gnawing and hair yanking that he'll actually leave bald patches in his attempts to soothe the discomfort. Hypothyroidism, a hormone deficiency that can result in skin problems, is common in doxies and could lead to the forementioned scratching frenzy. External parasites such as fleas and mites can trigger allergic reactions and skin irritation, causing constant licking, pulling or scratching that results in hair loss where the little buggers congregate.
A Not So Common Cause
Although causes of hair loss can affect every breed, one particular reason affects primarily the wiener dog. Acanthosis nigricans is an inherited condition. This disorder essentially refers to a darkening of the skin, usually starting in the underarms and spreading to the groin and other areas. These darkened patches eventually lose hair and leave bald splotchy sections on your otherwise healthy looking dachshund. Commonly appearing with acanthosis nigricans is seborrhea, a condition that makes the skin and remaining hair greasy and foul-smelling.
Tally the Symptoms
As soon as you notice your little dachshund dropping hair like there's no tomorrow, see your vet for a full checkup. Generally speaking, hair loss is a sign that something else is amiss. Check your doxie for additional symptoms, such as red, irritated skin or an overall dull coat. Make note of his behavior and tell your vet if his activity levels or bathroom habits have changed dramatically. Acanthosis nigricans appears as a dark spot on his skin, and it becomes thick and leathery as the condition worsens.
In some cases, hair loss stops once the underlying medical problem is treated. Acanthosis nigricans offers no such promise, as the condition is not curable and the hair loss is usually permanent. Your vet can prescribe medications and supplements to help improve your dachshund's condition and possibly prevent the leathery skin patches from spreading. Hair loss in and of itself isn't life-threatening, but ignoring this balding behavior could lead to more serious medical problems.
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