How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. John Your Own Question
Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9992
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr. John is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

collie: pull her hair out, she starts at the tail and works..14yrs

Customer Question

Why does my boarder collie pull her hair out, she starts at the tail and works up her body. She is nearly 14yrs old.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 years ago.
Hello. Thanks for writing in. In all honesty, this type of hairloss distribution pattern screams flea allergy dermatitis. It is very typical for this problem. Flea shampoos do a horrible job of controlling fleas. They may kill most of the fleas on them, but other fleas just jump back on them the next day. The adult fleas are only 5% of the population. The rest are in the immature forms. So, after killing those adult fleas, the immature forms just hatch and start developing into adult fleas the next day. Flea shampoo has no residual activity. Because the adult fleas make up such a small percentage of the population, and dogs with true flea allergies may only require a few flea bites to make them very itchy; you may never see the adult fleas, especially in long, dark or thick coated dogs. In order to get fleas under control, you HAVE to treat the yard and home for fleas (something with pyriproxyfen or s-methoprene in it works best; flea foggers are great for inside as well to reach everywhere). In fact, you may need to treat monthly for 3 months. You will need to get a good flea preventative from your vet; preferably one that helps to control the immature forms. This needs to be applied every 2-4 weeks for 3 months, then every month for the rest of her life. Once you have a flea problem, it can take 3 months to get under control, so it is so important to keep her on the flea prevention monthly, year round. While it may get cold each outside during the winter, it doesn't stay that cold inside your house, where all these fleas can still live. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We have trie this and this has not worked we tried foggers ect, but she still does this.
Could the problem be red ants, we have a lawn and recently found a nest off red ants, if so what can we do for this.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 years ago.
It is unlikely to be red ants. You would probably see some large, red, puss-filled lesions on her. Like I said, the hairloss distribution pattern is very typical for flea bite or flea allergy dermatitis. You have done EVERYTHING I mentioned? I ask because you only said that you used a flea shampoo (also forgot to mention that flea shampoos will inactivate you monthly topical prevention - make sure you are using a good quality topical preventative). Skin mites and environmental/food allergies are still possible, but with these signs it is usually flea problems until proven otherwise. A skin scraping would have to be done to rule out skin mites. I would still put stuff down in the yard to kill red ants, but that is most likely not the problem. Hope this helps.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Joan's Avatar


    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • Candy's Avatar


    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

  • Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew


    Satisfied Customers:

    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery