Help! My dog has an ugly coat – bald spots on the neck and armpits! What is this disease? – concerned guardians sometimes write on internet forums. It could be a disease … suspicion! And this is the best diagnosis possible! Because it is enough to change the harness to another one or a collar to grow the hair back. Sometimes, however, we take care of a pet, buy expensive shampoos and conditioners, and the coat crumbles or you can see dandruff – and we don’t know why. The reason may lie in the failure of an organ, such as the thyroid gland or pancreas.
The dog has an ugly coat – it doesn’t have to be a disease
It happens that the dog looks like a misfortune and a half, and is not sick at all, but neglected: tufts of dull hair stick out from everywhere. A dull coat may just be dead – after brushing, the healthy shine will immediately return.
Dull, shedding hair can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. It is a very common condition in dogs, especially, but not limited to, older dogs. The effects of untreated disease are also visible on the skin: inflammation is often associated with itchy black dandruff. Other symptoms include gaining weight, even though the dog is not eating more than usual, and getting tired quickly – the pet may lose the urge to walk.
Fortunately, hypothyroidism is easy to diagnose and treat. Abnormalities will be shown by a blood test, and the problem will be remedied by administering the dose of hormones in tablets twice a day, recommended by a doctor. The dog should get them regularly before eating. It will quickly regain vigor and a beautiful coat!
… Or maybe diabetes
Diabetes can also cause skin changes, mycoses and a deterioration in the appearance of the coat. The pooch then drinks a lot and pee often, has a greater appetite and gets fat. He also usually gets tired quickly: he drags behind his legs while walking and still sleeps at home. Diabetes is especially a threat to older, unsterilized, overweight bitches. Occasionally, sterilization may help. Usually, however, you need to give insulin. Its doses must be adjusted to the amount of calories in the food. Therefore, it is very important for your dog to eat its meals at fixed times and sizes. It is most convenient to measure out the dry food.
… Or pancreatic insufficiency
Other pancreatic problems also affect the appearance of the coat. If the pooch suffers from chronic insufficiency of this organ, his hair becomes dry and brittle, and his skin becomes covered with small flakes of exfoliating epidermis, which resembles dandruff. There may also be plaques – the skin in these places is thickened and rough. These changes in the appearance of the coat and skin are due to a deficiency of essential fatty acids and vitamin A. All because the diseased pancreas does not digest and absorb these fats properly.
Older dogs in particular suffer from chronic pancreatic insufficiency. Apart from the appearance of the hair, what could indicate this? Usually pets become lethargic, less likely to go for walks and not wanting to play. They often have diarrhea. Little dogs suddenly begin to refuse to pick them up, because touching their tummy hurts. You then have to seek help from a vet.
A revision of the hair care
Each dog must be combed
Short-haired dogs less often, long-haired dogs more often, some even daily – it also depends on the type of hair. It is especially important to comb out dead hair during the shedding period, especially in spring. If you brush your dog regularly, it sheds less hair in the house.
Wirehaired dogs should be trimmed
Trimming is removing dead hair. It does not hurt the dog. A special tool is used for this – a trimmer, but you can also trim with your fingers or a dense metal comb.
Let’s keep our haircut
We often groom long-haired dogs for convenience. Remember, however, that the hair has important functions: it protects not only against the cold, but also against sunburn. Let’s not cut the dog too short!
Let’s not overdo it with the bathwater
We bathe our dogs more than we used to today, but remember that too much is unhealthy – and let’s not do it every month. The condition of the coat depends on the condition of the skin – if we dry it, it will not grow nice. Let’s also limit the use of supplements – most of them are unnecessary chemicals.
The dog has ugly hair? These may be unwanted holiday souvenirs
The holidays were great and full of adventures, but … our pet could get infected, for example, with a parasite. How can you tell that?
Fleas. If we forgot to protect our pet from them, he could catch them from another animal – not only a dog or a cat, but also e.g. a hedgehog. If he began to scratch, it is very possible. How to confirm this? In a simple way! Moisten a piece of tissue paper (e.g. a tissue) and brush a piece of hair over it with a dense comb. If there are flea droppings on the hair, the tissue paper will turn pink. No need to visit a vet: simply bathe your dog in a flea-proof shampoo by following the instructions on the package. Let’s make sure he doesn’t lick off the shampoo!
Tinea. If your pet suddenly develops round plaques with a red border and scaly skin, it is likely that he has contracted ringworm. It is especially a threat to very young and old tetrapods, as well as to those with weakened immunity, e.g. after castration or other treatments or diseases. This is where the vet’s help is needed!
Demodex. This disease also manifests as plaques, but usually it attacks the mouth first. Unlike mycosis, the skin lesions are unlikely to itch. Note: the risk of developing the disease is increased by frequent baths! Some breeds are more susceptible to it than others, e.g. shar pei, english bulldog, doberman, pinscher, west highland white terrier, boxer, german shepherd.