Hair Loss in Poodles

by Quentin Coleman, Demand Media
    Watch for other symptoms and unusual behavior if your dog is balding.

    Watch for other symptoms and unusual behavior if your dog is balding.

    Poodles have an extremely durable and malleable coat, but it's hard to get creative with your pup's hairstyle when his fur keeps falling out. Parasites, allergies and infections can all cause your poodle to shed at an alarming rate. Genetic conditions could also be responsible for increasing baldness.

    Alopecia X

    This condition is also known as adrenal hyperplasia-like syndrome or adult onset growth hormone deficiency. It is a hereditary disorder found in small poodle varieties and cold-weather breeds, like Pommeranians and malamutes. The syndrome causes hair loss along both sides of your dog's body, starting near the base of his tail. The balding continues up the spine as the disorder progresses, but it does not affect the head or front legs. Alopecia does not produce any other symptoms, so your dog should not experience digestive problems, skin inflammation or any other health trouble, according to the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.

    Allergies

    If you suffer from a runny nose and watery eyes during allergy season, imagine how aggravating it would be to lose your hair too. Excessive shedding is a primary symptom of allergies in dogs. Your poodle may be allergic to dust or pollen, or something more specific, like a particular chemical cleaner that you use in your home. Some dogs are allergic to flea saliva, which makes an infestation of these tiny pests even more frustrating than it would otherwise be. Allergies make your dog's skin brittle and damage his sensitive hair follicles, causing hair to break at the root.

    Genetic Disorders

    Standard poodles are at high risk of developing sebaceous adenitis, which is an inflammation of the oil-producing sebaceous glands, according to the Poodle Club of America. Common symptoms include shedding, skin irritation and slow hair growth. Poodles are also vulnerable to a hereditary disorder called Cushing's disease, which is a dysfunction of the adrenal glands. The disease can produce a lot of different symptoms, including hair loss, excessive thirst and bloating.

    Other Causes

    A simple infection can cause localized baldness and other skin problems in poodles. Ringworm is a prolific fungus that can live on the skin of people, dogs and other animals. It damages skin and makes your pup's hair fall out. Bacterial skin infections are also a possibility. Your dog could also be going bald from a severe infestation of fleas or lice. These pests don't normally cause your dog to lose his hair, but he may damage his skin and pull his hair out as he scratches the bites.

    Treatment

    The only way to prevent your dog from losing his hair is to treat the underlying cause. Regular flea medication or anti-parasite baths helps control pests, while topical antifungal ointment is effective against most ringworm infections. You should always take your dog to the vet before starting treatment, because there are literally dozens of possible reasons for your pet's hair loss. Though unlikely, it's possible his shedding is related to a serious condition that should be treated by a professional.

    About the Author

    Quentin Coleman has written for several news publications as well as the University of Delaware's public relations department. He also spent more than 10 years working with a local animal shelter to help nurse kittens, treat sick cats and domesticate feral animals. Coleman graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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