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Furless patches on my 10 year old dog

by Peter Richardson
(Clarkston, MI)

My dog started to lose hair on the back at the rear of his body. The hair is also deteriorated from all around his tail.

I live in a suburb north of Detroit MI, and this started to happen when I recently left him (he's a 10 year old Basenji) at my sister's house in Indiana for a couple of weeks while we were out of town. She lives in a rural area in the middle of farms and forest.

They have a miniature Yorkshire Terrier that they found wondering around there neighborhood. Their dog does not seem to be in good shape and patches of his hair are missing. I am concerned that my Basenji picked up something there. He has always been healthy with no skin or fur problems.

I haven't treated it with anything and it seemed to be going away for a while. It's been about a month since this started and now seems to be continuing.

Comments for Furless patches on my 10 year old dog

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Sep 09, 2011
My Online Vet Response to: Furless patches on my 10 year old dog
by: Dr. Lisa Brienen

Hello Peter,
Hair loss and from your picture possibly some darkening of the skin has a variety of causes:
1) Endocrine (for example: over or under active adrenal glands, hypothyroid)

2)Parasitic: overgrowth of Demodex (a mite found in normal skin, but can overgrow in older animals when the immune system is depressed) or hair/skin damage secondary to flea bite dermatitis (usually very itchy and you can find the fleas) or less common ? sarcoptic mites (but also very itchy with hair loss and heavy crusting on ear margins, elbows)

Usually skin ailments that can be caught from other dogs are mainly parasitic (mites and fleas). These conditions are usually itchy and you didn?t mention anything about itchiness.

3) Bacterial and fungal infections can also cause hair loss, but typically cause some kind of itching

In terms of a few things to try on your own: add wild caught salmon oil to the diet ? Grizzly or Iceland Pure. Add more fresh food to the diet ? grated or cooked mashed vegetables (squash, yam, carrots, broccoli for example). Consider raw dog food a few times a week for starters. Standard Process Canine Dermal Support or Whole Body Support would be helpful. Using a oatmeal shampoo on the hairless areas every other day for a few weeks may be helpful in the case of bacterial or fungal infection.


Sep 10, 2011
My Online Vet Response to: Furless patches on my 10 year old dog - PART 2
by: Dr. Lisa Brienen

Hi Peter,

Here is the continuation of my response...

Holistic Veterinary care would be very helpful – details of your dog’s other physical symptoms (thirst, appetite, itchiness), personality, physical and medical history, likes and dislikes etc. would help lead the veterinarian to an appropriate Western or Chinese herbal, homeopathic or nutritional therapy. To start to narrow down what is causing the hair loss and skin changes, I highly recommend having some blood work including a thyroid level checked. This may assist in deciding if the endocrine system or a hormone imbalance is responsible. For example, Basenji’s can sometimes be hypothyroid. A skin scraping examined under the microscope or biopsy might be of further assistance.

If it is found that there is a problem with adrenal glands or thyroid – Standard Process has wonderful products – Canine Thyroid (or Adrenal) Support.

Click here to seek holistic vet care in your area. In addition to using the search box on that page, you can also click the AVH link for more information on veterinary homeopathy and referrals and on the AHVMA for a directory for members of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

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. Lisa Brienen

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

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

Sep 10, 2011
I found a couple of critters on him
by: Anonymous

I finally found a couple of little bugs on my dog. They don't appear to be fleas because they don't jump. They are kind of roundish and black. He is itching now. How do I kill these things?

Sep 10, 2011
My Online Vet Response to: Furless patches on my 10 year old dog
by: Dr. Lisa Brienen

Hello Peter,
To get a diagnosis you could brush these bugs into a little zip lock bag and bring them to your veterinarian. It is possible that you are seeing flea 'dirt' (flea poop). You might also be seeing dog lice.

Try this homemade insect repellent:
Use a lemon skin tonic - lemon is an effective skin toner and a parasite repellent because it contains d-limonene, among other substances. Thinly slice a whole lemon, including the peel. Add to a pint of near-boiling water and steep overnight. Sponge onto your pet's skin and coat and let air dry. Can be used daily.

Natural Home care:
Wash pet bedding twice weekly, if your pet sleeps on your bed, wash this too, vacuum (remember couches and under cushions), Fleabusters/Borax like products for carpets, steam clean carpets

See our Dog Flea Medicine page for natural parasite control products.

Sincerely, Dr. Lisa Brienen

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.

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