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Dog Hair Loss & Weight Loss Out of Nowhere

by Holly
(Chadron, Nebraska)



laying down
skin close up of dry skin
happy dog

This is my dog Isack. He recently began to lose hair. It is mostly on his face, underbelly, and legs. He does have some scaly spots up by his neck. At first attributed that to him shedding his winter coat.

Isack is 8 years old. He is mixed breed. We think lab and chow, but not exactly for sure.

We took him to the vet about two weeks ago because his hair loss was becoming extreme as well as noticed some weight loss. She took some skin scrapes but those came back negative.

She treated him with an oral as well as something she put on his back for ménage as we have a one year old and wanted to be safe. She also advised giving his Benadryl for itching.

We went back Tuesday for the second dose of the stuff she put on his coat. He lost 4 lbs in those two weeks (about 9 lbs in total from his last checkup) even though he seems to be eating and drinking more. That goes in spurts though.

He has always struggled with his weight. It was not until he was neutered that he was able to some significant weight on. He is normally between 50 and 58 lbs.

The vet said he has lost almost 10% of his weight now. She took blood and the results showed everything was in the normal range. She specifically mentioned his liver counts were 61 but said dogs in his age range can be around 100. (When he was a puppy he was given strong medicine (by another vet who misdiagnosed ring worm) that caused him to lose his hair around his elbow. He did not grow that hair back which is about the size of a softball.) She stated that his white blood count was up a little, but said that could be due to his skin condition.

She has not done skin grafts yet. She wanted to look at maybe a Zinc deficiency first.

We have not changed anything in his diet recently. Although she has suggested we go back to puppy food for the extra protein as he was on IAMS mature adult for about the last year or so.

My question is: Do you have any suggestions as to what this might be so that we have a direction to go in?

Many thanks and I look forward to your response.

Comments for Dog Hair Loss & Weight Loss Out of Nowhere

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Jun 02, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Hair Loss & Weight Loss Out of Nowhere
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Holly,

Regarding Isack, 8 Year old neutered Male, LabXChow dog, is he scratching and itching and causing the hair to fall out?

At the vet, you wrote, "She also advised Benadryl for itching."

Also, at the vet, you wrote,

"She took some skin scrapes but those came back negative. She treated him with an oral as well as something she put on his back for *menage* (?) as we have a one year old and wanted to be safe."

Mange, (Demodex), is NOT contagious to humans or other animals. It is also not itchy. It sometimes is not found on the first skin scraping, so more skin scrapings need to be repeated after a week or two.

Mange, (Sarcoptic), IS contagious and is VERY itchy and it is very difficult to find in a skin scraping.

But from the photos you submitted of Isack, he does not look like he has Sarcoptic Mange. It looks more like a generalized disease, possibly Zinc deficiency or ringworm, or Demodectic Mange, or contact allergy, (if he is scratching).

The weight loss points to other problems such as hormonal or internal, but those conditions would not be itchy.

I suggest an improvement in diet. You can do better than just feeding a 'puppy' version, go to a RAW diet, such as Primal, BRAVO! or Nature's Variety.

Add in some immune supplements,

1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder

And make sure he is getting adequate calories. If he is supposed to weigh 50-58 lbs he needs to eat 850-950 calories per day. Or 425-475 calories per meal two times daily.

Repeat the skin scrapings and make sure the blood work includes thyroid, estrogen, and testosterone levels. (the lab will provide normal levels for a neutered male)

Above all else, DO NOT give him any vaccinations. In fact, if this occurred following a vaccination, then he may need some homeopathic remedies to address a condition called, *vaccinosis*. You should seek the help of a holistic veterinarian to write an exemption form.

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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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

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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