Dogs that are affected with Alopecia X will have a normal coat as puppies and will not generally start showing symptoms until they are over 2 years old; generally, they will be diagnosed with it by 3 years old but it can be at any age post-puberty.
Treatment for Alopecia X
Treatment for Alopecia X can differ dog to dog, often dependent on what has triggered it and no treatment works for every dog, but there are measures which can manage it very effectively. Although it is unsightly and can cause uncomfortable side effects (e.g. sunburn, secondary infections etc), Alopecia X does not in and of itself harm your dog, so the overall goal for treatments is to have your dog re-grow their coat and prevent a recurrence of hair loss.
Common treatment options include
- Hormone therapy
- Melatonin supplements
- Light therapy
- Topical lotions/shampoo
Hormone therapy can be very effective; however, this is often a long process that requires lots of vet visits and close monitoring of your dog’s hormonal balance and organ function via repeated blood tests. A hormone such as methyltestosterone can be damaging to your dog’s liver over time and cause increased aggression in your dog. Other treatments can involve prescribing prednisone, cimetidine, ketoconazole, anipryl or leuprolide. These treatments are sometimes used to try and re-start the growth cycle of hair follicles but, again, can cause issues associated with steroids, such as making skin more fragile and increasing aggression.
Melatonin is a natural supplement that can be given to improve coat re-growth, however a side effect of this is drowsiness and sedation.
Topical lotions and/or specialist shampoos can be very effective in firstly tackling the issue of hair loss and then be used to maintain a healthy coat. Here at Zoomadog, we recommend Dermagic products. We receive excellent feedback from our customers who have used these products. These shampoos and topical lotions are made from all natural ingredients. If your dog is suffering from Alopecia X, it is recommended to use the Dermagic System, this is a four-step process which tackles the acute problem and then helps your dog to maintain a healthy coat, with a less intense maintenance programme. Because it is not a pharmaceutical product but a natural one, results will not be instant, but you should notice a difference after a couple of weeks.
It is worth noting, if your dog has bald patches of exposed skin or very thin hair, they are much more vulnerable to the sun or the cold. Skin can become very fragile, especially if your dog is receiving steroids, so sunburn is common. You can apply a special dog suncream to exposed skin to prevent this however, make sure to use a suncream which is specially formulated for dogs, avoid using human products on pets unless your vet has specifically recommended them.