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Dog's Tail Has Small Patch of Hair Missing and Grayish Scaly Skin

by Russell B.
(Ash Fork, AZ, USA)

While grooming my dog this afternoon I noticed a small area of hair missing on her tail. I then noticed a dry patch of of skin. It seems to be a little darker but nothing very significant. It does not seem to bother her; no itching, scratching, or biting. I am not sure how long it's been there.

It does not seem to have eggs (from fleas or mange) not moist (don't have issues with fleas or many bugs). She is in heat, and we recently changed dog food.

We live in a very dry climate at a very high altitude (above 6000 feet). She does have an issue with biting chewing on the pads on her feet, almost chews them raw and makes her feet hurt.

She is 8 years old Australian Shepherd. I have had her since she was 8 weeks old. Very few health issues and she is current on all her shots. I'm not sure there is anything else I can add at this point.

Comments for Dog's Tail Has Small Patch of Hair Missing and Grayish Scaly Skin

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Oct 05, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog's Tail Has Small Patch of Hair Missing and Grayish Scaly Skin
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

October 4, 2013

Hi Russell,
From the photo and the description of your dog, (she is a female unspayed, 8 year old Australian Shepherd), not itching or scratching her tail but she has dry skin and she DOES chew at her feet, I would suspect hormonal and/or dietary issues are involved. I suggest that she have a blood panel to rule out a low thyroid, and improve her diet so that she is not eating a DRY DOG FOOD. She should also have a skin scraping done to rule out mange, and a fungus culture to make sure this is not ringworm. Neither of these parasites are visible to the naked eye.

Demodex, is caused by the Demodectic mange mite, It is diagnosed by a skin scraping.

For tips on improving her diet, see our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options, and consider a RAW diet for her. Or at least part RAW, part canned, but avoid all DRY diets.

To help her skin, (making sure her thyroid level is ok first), give her a coconut oil massage concentrating on her tail area, and her feet. Leave the coconut oil on her for 2-3 hours. You may need to keep her in a kennel, or small room, while the oil soaks in to her skin. Then bathe her with Dawn Dish soap (only if she is still *greasy*) or a baby shampoo. In really dry cases, the oil soaks in, leaving the skin very soft, and even if she happens to lick some of it off, it will be good for her!

She may need to have this done every week for 3-6 weeks, while her diet is improved.

And seeking the help of a holistic veterinarian, to treat any problems with holistic methods, would be ideal.

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: 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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