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Dr. Gene
Dr. Gene, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2680
Experience:  DVM degree from Ontario Veterinary College
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My husky is pulling his back fur out to bare skin. It is flakey

Customer Question

My husky is pulling his back fur out to bare skin. It is flakey where he has pulled out fur. It does grow back but he smells dead.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 2 years ago.
Hi there! Few questions for you first:1. Where on his body does he pull the hair out?2. How long has this been going on?3. What, if any, flea prevention do you use?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
1 only on his back...behind front sholder to hips. 2. One month. 3 no fleas. 4 my other husky is fine.
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 2 years ago.
Thank you!There are several reasons for a dog to have itchy skin (pulling the fur out is a sign of itchiness). The reasons a roughly broken into the following categories:1. Parasites - mites, fleas, etc2. Allergies - food, airborne (seasonal) or flea bite hypersensitivity3. Infections - yeast, bacteria, ringworm, etcThe most common, by far, is a flea allergy, statistically speaking. This is true for any part of the world, without a doubt. Flea allergies are sometimes difficult to diagnose, because in some cases NO adult fleas are seen. A lot of this is because the dogs chew at their skin, removing most of the fleas... One of the distinguishing features of flea allergy is hair loss and itchiness along the back, toward the tail and around the tail base; this is the only skin condition that results in these symptoms. In many cases, the inflammation is so intense and there is so much skin damage from chewing, that infections come up (bacteria/yeast) and complicate issues, making the dog even more itchy. Fleas are easy to bring into the house; dogs can do this, people can do this (on our clothes), etc.In your situation, I believe it is most likely a flea allergy, even though you see no fleas (see above) and your other dog is fine (he/she may have fleas but not the allergy to them, hence no symptoms) and it sounds like neither is on flea prevention, making fleas even more likely. The only way to rule out fleas is to treat for them and see if symptoms subside, but in your case, inflammation and infection may need to be brought under control as well. It takes months to get rid of fleas, but if you apply a flea preventive to your dog, the signs of itchiness should begin to subside; often, that's how you know that flea allergy is the problem.Here is a helpful link to more info: hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions!!!
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 2 years ago.
Hi Denise,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Roamer. How is everything going?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Treated both dogs on the 20th with heartworm pull and flea stuff on the back. Tonight 24th brushed big tuffs of fur from his back down to bare skin, loosing all his fur, close to tail, about the size of an old silver dollar. But he lets me remove his shedding fur from his legs.
Expert:  Dr. Gene replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the update! I think it's going to be difficult to find an effective way to improve his condition unless we get closer to finding out what's going on with him. There are many different reasons for his symptoms, so it would be best if you had your vet evaluate him to find out why he is losing hair. I would definitely continue with monthly flea prevention, because it takes several months to get rid of fleas, but he should also be evaluated for skin infections, other allergies, thyroid disease and other conditions...