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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9693
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience treating dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, & iguanas
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My Golden Retrievers fur is clumping into tuffs and then falling

Resolved Question:

My Golden Retriever's fur is clumping into tuffs and then falling out? What is this and how can I stop it?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
Dr Kara :

Is your dog's hair matting and then falling out when you brush it? Has he ever had a problem like this before? What does his skin look like once the hair falls out? Is it red, moist and irritated or does it look normal?

Dr Kara :

If your dog's skin looks red and irritated once the hair falls you you may be dealing with hot spots which is a bacterial infection in the skin caused by allergic inflammmation and licking, scratching and biting at the skin introducing bacteria under the skin. They can also be caused by wet matts sitting on the skin causing irritation and allowing the skin to be penetrated by bacteria.

Customer :

The hair is clumping into smaller narrow clumps and it separates from his skin with a few hairs keeping it into place until I pull them out, or brush them out. He has never had this before. I had to look at it since he was sitting right next to me. It looks normal to me.

Dr Kara :

If his skin looks normal after the skin falls out and he has other symptoms like weight gain, flaky dry skin, an abnormal coat in general (finer, more tangled coat) then you may be dealing with hypothyroidism. Not uncommon in Goldens.

Dr Kara :

Sorry I meant hair falls out not skin

Customer :

We take him up to the lake up North in Minnesota most weekends and he lives for retrieving things out of the lake. So, he's been wet, or damp most weekends this year, but that's been normal.

Customer :

What is hypothyroidism?

Customer :

How can we cure this symptom?

Customer :

He has no weight gain, flaky, or dry skin that I can see. Just excessive shedding.
Tangled look toward his back near his tail and above both hips.

Dr Kara :

Hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland that isn't producing normal amounts of thyroid hormones which are responsible for coat and skin health, energy level and metaboism efficiency. Has their been any change in diet? Sometimes with diet change they're not getting essential fatty acids or vitamins which can lead to a poor coat.

Customer :

No, he eats the same amount everyday and I exercise him daily and he still has lots of energy.

Customer :

I've run him everyday since he was a puppy, he's very strong and good cardio. Doesn't look 9.5 years old. Looks 4-5 years old. Just seeing a little grey around snout.

Dr Kara :

Hypothyroidism is usually caused by the body attacking the thyroid gland and shutting down the cells that produce thyroid hormones. He may be in the early stages of the disease or their may be something else going on internally that is changing the way he absorbs and digests his food.

Dr Kara :

Have you changed treats or shampoos? I'm looking for reasons why his coat would change and allow matting when it never was a problem before.

Customer :

So, what do you recommend?

Customer :

I've changed shampoos. Treats and food have stayed consistent.

Customer :

Oh, yes, I did change food when he stayed at my parents house. I couldn't buy the Purina Pro Plan, and was heading out of town. So, I purchased another brand. Need to ask them what kind?

Customer :

Baking soda in the shampoo, but I did purchase if from Pet Smart.

Dr Kara :

The shampoo and food may be the issues as the shampoo may be stripping more oils and allowing his coat to matt and the food may have not had the fatty acids needed for his coat. If you aren't doing anything else differently and a return to his old shampoo and food doesn't help I would have a general bichemistry panel with a thyroid panel, not just a T-4, done.

Customer :

The symptoms seem to have started just before I used the new shampoo if I remember correctly. So, maybe the food.

Dr Kara :

Baking soda is drying! That may be part of the problem. In the meantime adding a conditioner after his baths may help as well as lots of brushing to get rid of the old dry coat.

Customer :

Okay, so, short term solution, keep his food consistent and go back to old shampoo.

Dr Kara :

By the way I love Purina Pro Plan. Not expensive and I've seen some really nice coats on dogs eating it.

Customer :

Use conditioner and lots of brushing, right? He seems the same health wise, that's why I haven't been overly concerned and I work out of my home and spend lots of hours with him.

Dr Kara :

Yes. It may take several weeks to at least a couple of months for his coat to go back to his beautiful self. In the meantime watch for other symptoms. I agree with your wait and see as he sounds great otherwise.

Customer :

That sounds good to me, will I be able to retain these answers to my questions so I can archive and print them out?

Dr Kara :

Yes. It may take several weeks to at least a couple of months for his coat to go back to his beautiful self. In the meantime watch for other symptoms. I agree with your wait and see as he sounds great otherwise.

Customer :

Okay, so I guess that answers it for now then, huh? Thank you!

Dr Kara :

I don't know what it looks like on your end. I'll save this in Q&A form so that you should be able to look at it later and print it if you'd like. Hold on.


Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 years ago.
If you have any more questions please let me know by coming back to this thread. If you feel I've helped please press accept. Take care and enjoy Hunter he sounds like a great dog.
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9693
Experience: Over 20 years of experience treating dogs, cats, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, & iguanas
Dr. Kara and 5 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

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