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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16847
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My friends bull terrier is losing hair, and he was

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My friend's bull terrier is losing hair, and he was told (by someone who works in a vet's office) that it is an incurable and irreversible disease, that her bulldog has it too, that the dog will continue to lose hair and finally be bald for life. Is this true? Is this caused by an exterior parasite or some inner condition, or what? Is there a name for this "disease?" Thanks for any help!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 7 years ago.
HiCustomer

It really is impossible for anyone including the person who works in the vet's office to tell without any testing that the dog has an incurable irreversible skin disease where the dog woiuld lose all its hair and never have regrowth.

There are various causes for hair loss. It could be ringworm, mange, or possibly an allergy. Ringworm can have a scaly reddish rash around the edges of the bare patches though there can be a rash in the bare area as well. Any over the counter antifungal cream for ringworm will work on this. The cream should be applied to an area slightly larger and for about a week after it appears to have cleared up. There are two types of mange and mange is actually caused by mites. Usually hair loss starts in specific areas of the body before spreading to other areas. Allergies are a frequent cause of scratching and hair loss and an be caused by many different things. Treating any problem without knowing for sure what it is causes a delay in the treatment of the real problem if your first guess is wrong. I really suggest your friend have a Vet examine the areas and diagnose this. Below are websites on Ringworm and mange that will go into more detail on these conditions.

Here is a website on Ringworm:
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_ringworm.html
Here is two on Mange.
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_demodectic_mange.html
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_sarcoptic_mange.html
You can read up on allergies here:
http://www.nhahonline.com/k9allergies.htm
http://www.lbah.com/allergy.htm

There is also conditions such as hypothyroidism or cushing disease which can cause hair loss which you can read about here:
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/hypothyroidism-in-dogs/page1.aspx
http://www.petplace.com/dogs/hyperadrenocorticism-cushing-s-syndrome-in-dogs/page1.aspx

There is also a condition called Alopecia X which basically stands for hair loss. It is believed that this may be many different conditions since various treatments will sometimes work. It goes by many names including black skin disease, growth hormone responsive alopecia, castration repsponsive alopecia, Post-clipping Alopecia, etc.

You can read more about this here:
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_alopecia_x.html

Your friend will want the vet to run bloodwork, urinalyses, thyroid test, adrenal hormone testing and a skin scraping in order to determine the proper diagnoses.

I hope this information is helpful to your friend.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Does this mean that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN IRREVERSIBLE, INCURABLE DISEASE THAT CAUSES PERMANENT HAIR LOSS IN DOGS?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 7 years ago.
Doitjoself,

No. There are cases where a dog will lose its hair and regrowth does not take place or takes place very slowly. I have given you links to several of those conditions above such as hypothyroidism, severe mange, cushing disease, and alopecia. These do occur, but without testing, there is no way to know what the cause of the hair loss in the terrier is. Young bull terriers are prone to demodectic mange and they are also prone to allergies which can cause hair loss.
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16847
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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