Skin Disorders in Yorkies

by Quentin Coleman, Demand Media
    Yorkies have a fun, engaging personality and beautiful silky hair.

    Yorkies have a fun, engaging personality and beautiful silky hair.

    Yorkshire terriers are a big dog in a small dog's body, even if they don't know it. This lovable breed has tons of benefits as a pet, but they also have their share of health issues. They often suffer from hair loss, which is the result of various skin problems.

    Fleas

    Unless you give your Yorkie a stylish, short-cropped haircut, chances are he has hair that is at least 6 inches long. His silky coat is certainly one of his main attractions, but it is also a perfect breeding ground for fleas. Fleas can infest any dog, but they are harder to identify and treat on long-haired breeds such as the Yorkie. Some dogs are also allergic to flea saliva, which makes the itching and skin rashes even worse. You have several options for preventing and managing fleas, including topical monthly treatments, flea baths or grooming your dog with a flea comb.

    Color Dilution Alopecia

    The Yorkshire terrier is one of a handful of breeds that is vulnerable to color dilution alopecia (CDA). This condition is somewhat mysterious and is associated with hair loss from patches of skin that support hairs of different colors. It is a genetic condition, so it is difficult to diagnose. If your pup has scaly, itchy skin and is losing hair only in certain areas, then a veterinarian might be able to diagnose the problem as CDA after ruling out other possibilities, according to The YTCA Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to the Yorkshire Terrier.

    Allergies

    Like all other dogs, Yorkies also can suffer from skin allergies that produce rashes, excessive itchiness and hair loss. The allergic reaction can be internal or external, so it is difficult too figure out the exact cause without a specialist's assistance. Dust, pollen and dander from other pets can irritate the surface of your dog's skin, while certain types of food could be causing a digestive reaction. Keeping your house clean and preventing your dog from going anywhere his heart desires, and eating anything he desires, reduces his exposure to allergens.

    Hypothyroidism

    The Yorkie is one of many breeds that can suffer from hypothyroidism. This disorder is actually an internal dysfunction of the thyroid, which is a small gland in your puppy's neck. The disorder itself is not skin-related, but the resulting hormone deficiencies may cause some external problems. If your dog's beautiful coat is slowly falling out or fading in color with no obvious cause, this condition may be to blame. It is also associated with drying, itchy skin and chronic allergies.

    Other General Problems

    Of course, your Yorkie also could be losing his hair and having skin problems because of a much more general canine disorder. Fungal infections, such as ringworm, are a common cause of dry skin and hair loss in dogs. Ringworm can spread to other dogs, cats and humans as well, so it's a good idea to get your pup to the vet if something is wrong. Stress also can have an impact on your dog's coat. Keep your eye on your dog throughout the day to find the cause of the problem and to identify other symptoms. And always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.

    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.

    Photo Credits