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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
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Experience:  Over 12 years of clinical veterinary experience
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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: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. John replied 3 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 3 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 3 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.

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