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Bilateral symmetric hair loss in 7 week old puppy

by Sarah Patrick
(Columbia, SC)

right knee spot

right knee spot

right knee spot
larger left knee spot (biopsy & scrapings were done here)

I am adopting a female cockapoo puppy from a reputable breeder. This week at her 7 wk check-up, the breeder asked the vet to examine some skin patches that had lost hair in the last 1-2 weeks.

The spots are on both ankles and the sides of both knees. The spots are bilateral and symmetric - the only difference is the left knee spot is slightly larger than the right knee spot.

The spots do not itch, flake or ooze. They are not red and do not appear to be bothersome to the puppy. There is simply just the absence of hair.

None of the other puppies in the litter, or the parents, have these kinds of symptoms. The breeder has not seen this before in any of her previous litters. Other than the hair loss, the puppy is normal and healthy.

The vet performed a skin scraping to test for mites/mange and also tested for ringworm. Both tests were negative. A small skin biopsy was taken from one of the spots, but the results won't be back for a week.

The breeder's vet said their best guess was that it was sort of benign pattern baldness, although that is not typically seen in cocker spaniels/poodles or in puppies this young.

I have to make a tough decision regarding whether to purchase this puppy. I am worried that this could be a symptom of something more severe. Any idea as to what could be causing the hair loss in such a young puppy?

If nothing abnormal is found in the skin biopsy results, can I assume that the problem is not severe? Are there any other tests or questions that I should request/ask of the breeder?

I'd also like to know if there is any way to tell if the condition is permanent - i.e. how long before new hair growth should be evident.

Thank you for any light you can shed on this puzzling situation!

Comments for Bilateral symmetric hair loss in 7 week old puppy

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Feb 12, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Bilateral symmetric hair loss in 7 week old puppy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Sarah,
Very interesting problem in this female Cockapoo that is only 7 weeks old! Did the breeder vaccinate her 1-2 weeks ago?

You have already ruled out the obvious, ringworm and mange, and pending the biopsy report it is hard to know if this is indicative of a more serious problem or not. If this occurred after a vaccine AND you wish to adopt her, then I would seek the help of a holistic veterinarian for treatment of "vaccinosis" AND avoid all future vaccinations!

At this time, I have no idea what would cause this type of hair loss. Although, considering the location, it might be related to a nutritional problem, since the areas of hair loss are over the Stomach meridian (ST 36 to be exact) on the stifle, and the bladder meridian, BL 60, on the 'hocks' or ankles. Therefore, something the puppy is eating and/or some toxin excreted through the kidneys/bladder. A holistic veterinarian knowledgeable in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and acupuncture/Chinese herbs would help to boost this puppy's immune system and 'Qi' (chi).

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Dog Itchy Skin,
- Dog Skin Rash,
- Dog Skin Allergies,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Hair Loss Section

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