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Dog Fur Loss After Diet Change

by Steve
(Massachusetts)

After starting our new dog food diet, my dogs took to it well at first. After a few days, one of them would eat around (and lick clean!) the string beans. I noticed she was starting to lose clumps of fur (hasn't reached the stage of a bald spot yet) as if she was seasonal shedding, but 10x the usual rate, and only just one patch in front of her left rear leg. Fleas have been ruled out.


As a reminder, in my initial thread ("Discoloration of dog's eye, showed up out of the blue") I requested help with an eye issue, and that discussion morphed into talking about diet. As part of modifying my girls' diet, aiming at a target weight somewhere around 45 to 50 lbs., I changed from Wellness dry food to:

meal= 1/2 cup dry Wellness @ each meal until it's gone, 1/2 can Wellness wet, 1c steamed string beans, 10 baby carrots and 1/day I add 1/4c+- lightly cooked meats or fish.

I wonder is it possible she is allergic to the beans? I removed the beans and upped the carrots a bit a few days ago but have seen really no difference. Beans? Carrots? Or is it more likely the canned food (although it's the same whitefish/sw potato from Wellness as they have with the dry)?

Also, I haven't started the thyroid or joint supplements yet... I wanted to get the diet straight first. However, the one dog is limping MORE on her arthritic leg now that we've gone from "as needed" to essentially daily.

Comments for Dog Fur Loss After Diet Change

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Aug 25, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Fur Loss After Diet Change
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Steve,
You wrote that she is starting to "eat around the green beans", meaning that she is NOT eating them? I suspect that she is tired of the low fat green beans and prefers to have the meat with higher fat/flavor content. You may need to decrease the amount of green beans to only 1/2-2/3 of a cup per meal, in order to mix it in better and 'camouflage' the taste.

It would be unlikely for her to have an allergy to a vegetable. 'Antigens' which are substances that cause an allergic reaction in the body, are produced when a dog (or human) is exposed to a protein, such as found in meat, eggs or dairy.

Also, you wrote that she is losing hair from her left hind leg. Is this the ONLY place she is losing hair? Is she chewing or itching this area, or is the hair just falling out? If the area is not 'itchy', then I doubt the problem is from an allergy, and consider that it may be mange, (caused by a mite), or due to hypothyroidism, or some other cause that would need to be diagnosed by a veterinarian that can examine her in person.

I am not sure why the other dog is limping more on her arthritic leg. Is it because she is getting more exercise? She may start to do better once she is on the glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate joint supplements.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
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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.

Aug 25, 2011
Followup Response
by: Steve (Original Poster)

My error in wording... she leaves the green beans (and even today the carrots) uneaten but licked clean.

I understand what you're saying about the veggies vs. protein, but she is not getting anything new (she sometimes has leftover meat/chicken/fish) other than the veggies and the CANNED Wellness whitefish/sweet potato (prior diet was mainly the DRY fish/sw pot.

I gave her a good brushing (vacuuming too) tonight and the loss is concentrated in front of her rear legs. Not chewing/itching. Hair gathers in small clumps and actually doesn't fall off until lightly stroked or brushed.

About the leg, it's actually the same dog, and her activity level doesn't seem to have changed much. I'd like to get this hair loss thing under control before adding something else. Just seems odd to me that it only got worse after shifting to full-time (2xday) pain/anti-inflams.

I know it's probably way over-cautious but we have had two-legged hard-to-diagnose allergies and know how difficult and time-consuming they can be to get under control. Our mantra has been one change at a time.

Thanks again for your concern and help,

Steve


Aug 26, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Fur Loss After Diet Change
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Steve,
The hair loss will have to be checked out by a veterinarian, ideally a holistic one. There are a huge number of possible reasons for hair loss in the dog. I would suggest a total blood panel to include liver enzymes (to see if the drug is affecting her liver, you wrote, "Just seems odd to me that it only got worse after shifting to full-time (2xday) pain/anti-inflams") and a thyroid test, plus a CBC to make sure she is not anemic.

Since she is not licking or scratching the area, I am not convinced that it has anything to do with allergies.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

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

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:
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Hair Loss Section
- 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

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