Not only are Yorkies good sports about playing dress-up, they rarely shed and they're great listeners when you need to talk. If your Yorkie’s hair is starting to thin, or is coming out in clumps, it's possibly a sign of a serious medical condition.
Yorkies are prone to skin allergies. Secondary skin infections are a common result, and these infections lead to hair loss. Skin reactions can be brought on by external factors such as fleas, dust mites, certain flora including grasses, and even grooming shampoos or perfumes. Inhalant allergies also play a role, especially during high pollen seasons. Sensitivities to certain foods are a common problem as well. Allergy testing is available through your veterinarian, and knowing your dog’s sensitivities can help avoid allergic outbreaks.
Cushing’s syndrome is a disease that can be a serious concern in older dogs. Cushing’s is caused by excess cortisone in the body, a steroid secreted by the adrenal gland. This overproduction can happen naturally or can be caused by steroid injections. Dogs that need steroids frequently throughout their lives are at a high risk for developing this disorder. Along with hair loss, Cushing’s causes a potbellied appearance and an increase in water consumption. If your Yorkie has these symptoms, make sure he is seen by your vet for testing.
As a breed, Yorkie’s aren’t the most susceptible to hypothyroidism, but it is a hair loss contributor and a possibility. Early warning signs are slow hair regrowth after clipping, dry and brittle hair, and hair loss in conjunction with darkening of the skin. Hypothyroidism is managed with medication, given for life, with regular blood tests to check thyroid levels and adjust the meds if necessary.
Yorkies may act tough on the outside, but inside they are natural worriers. Neurodermatitis is brought on by excessive licking or chewing. For some worrisome types, this extreme grooming starts during times of stress. Such licking also can be a result of boredom or pain. Constant licking in concentrated areas causes not only skin irritation but follicle damage. Consult your vet or a behaviorist about possible solutions.
Slone Wayking worked as a professional in the veterinary field for 20 years. Though her interest in animal health led to this path, Wayking initially studied creative arts. She has been article writing for more than a year and is currently working towards her degree in multimedia. Her certifications include business writing and basic web design.