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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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We adopted a male, six-year-old, piebald dachshund from our

Customer Question

We adopted a male, six-year-old, piebald dachshund from our local shelter three yeas ago. He was heart worm positive, and completed the treatment without any problems. About a year ago, he stated losing the fur on the pigmented sections (black) of his body and his ears. The white areas still have full fur coverage. He is not having any problems with itching and the exposed skin seem to be a bit dry, but otherwise healthy. He has a good appetite, eating 1/3 cup Iams grain-free dry dog food twice daily with assorted treats throughout the day. He weighs about 15 lbs. and is not over weight. Our vet is wanting to send him to a vet dermatologist. He has never seen this pigment-selective hair loss before.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there - I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm locked on to your question and working on typing out a response. There will be a delay of 5-10 minutes while I type. Thanks for your patience :)

~Dr. Sara

Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for sending in your question about Levi :) I can understand why your vet might suggest a referral to a dermatologist, as what you are describing isn't a common problem. If they've got hair loss but they aren't itchy, I'm usually considering a hormonal cause for hair loss like a low thyroid level or cushing's disease, or a defective set of hair follicles. I usually start with a full blood panel including a thyroid screen. If all of that is normal and the dog's quality of life is great, I don't always push for any further testing. We certainly can get a diagnosis with skin biopsies, but in many cases it's a cosmetic problem that doesn't really affect their quality of life at all. If it looks like it might be a sign of something more sinister like an autoimmune disease (like lupus or penphigus), I'm usually pitching referral to a dermatologist because these diseases can also affect the internal organs and potentially the skin signs are just the tip of the iceberg. Until you have a diagnosis, though, you won't know what, if any, treatments are available. I would think that getting a diagnosis might require skin biopsies, but a dermatologist may also have a much better idea of what diseases to suspect just by looking at him.

Please let me know what other questions I can answer for you :)

~Dr. Sara


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