You love your Norwegian's elkhound's long, thick coat. It's his crowning glory. While regular grooming and feeding high quality dog food can go a long way to prevent skin problems and hair loss issues, there's no guarantee that your elkie won't experience these conditions sometime during his life.
Inadequate levels of circulating thyroid hormone results in hypothyroidism, a condition often afflicting elkies. Because the thyroid gland helps regulate your dog's metabolism, symptoms run the gamut. However, hair loss and skin problems are among the less subtle signs. Your dog's skin might become dry and scaly, while his coat could look like moths lunched on it. To make a diagnosis, your vet likely will perform a blood test to check thyroid levels. Medication can restore proper thyroid functioning and healthy hair and skin.
Intracutaneous cornifying epitheliomas, also known as keratoacanthomas, are benign growths commonly found in elkhounds. The lesions originate in the dog's hair follicle. They can turn up anywhere on your elkie, but generally appear on the back, tail and legs. These tumors usually affect middle-aged dogs. You'll spot hair loss and the development of a nodule protruding above the skin. The Merck Veterinary Manual describes them as looking like horns, but many resemble flattened cysts. Your vet can surgically remove the tumor, but it might grow back or other tumors could sprout up nearby.
Sebaceous cysts resulting from clogged skin pores often occur in elkhounds. The pores fill up with sebum, oil secreted by the sebaceous glands, which prevent skin from drying out. You may notice hair loss and a large, whitish lump on your dog. It could start oozing smelly material with a cottage cheese consistency. Always have any lumps on your elkie checked out by your vet. Don't try to squeeze or otherwise remove a sebaceous cyst yourself. Your vet can surgically remove it.
Apocrine Gland Adenocarcinomas
Although rare, Norwegian elkhounds are among the dog breeds predisposed to develop apocrine gland adenocarcinomas -- cancer of the sweat glands. This tumors usually appear on the head, spine or the abdomen. These fairly large lumps can appear ulcerated or like fibrous skin. While the tumors often metastasize to the dog's lymph nodes, they are less likely to spread to the lungs and skin, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual. Treatment typically consists of surgically removing the tumor.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.