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Dr. Smith
Dr. Smith, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1368
Experience:  13 years of practice experience in exotics, small animal internal medicine and surgery.
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why is my long haired chihuahua losing her hair

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My 17-month-old long-haired chihuahua has been losing a lot of hair. I feed her Iams Eukanuba for small breeds (she had Eukanuba puppy food until 1-year old). She used to not shed at all and now sheds a lot. She has a completely different look (much thinner coat) than she did 3 months ago. Her weight and overall health are still good. Her appearance has steadily declined since she was spayed, got all of her shots, and was dewormed at SPCA in July. I have feared that all of that was too much at once . Also, I've fe I've used Addams flea and tick shampoo and spray since before July. One thing to note about this dog is that she has eaten feces since we got her (at 2 months old). I have talked to her vet about it several times, tried Forbid, but nothing stops her IF she gets the opportunity (we work at minimizing opportunity). Audrey is an extremely beautiful and eye-catching dog. We hate to see her looks go downhill. She's also a dearly loved family member. We hope you can he

Dear Hart Family:

I sense your concern for your little long haired girl! I want to reassure you that having her spayed, vaccinated and dewormed is not the source of her hairloss by any stretch of the means!

I applaud you on having her on an Excellent diet like Eukanuba (my favorite!), so you should not worry that she is not receiving proper nutrition.

In a 17 month old Chihuahua I would be concerned about several things.

First, you note using Adams Flea & Tick Spray, so I'm going to presume you may have the occasional flea?? I would highy advise you to switch to a NONTOXIC, SAFE flea preventive like Frontline Plus for many reasons. It lasts up to 3 months, is completely nonsystemic (doesn't cross into the bloodstream), it is NONTOXIC, and it kills every stage of the flea typically BEFORE they ever bite your pet!

Any type of flea allergic reaction that your pet may have to actual flea bite saliva can trigger a dermatitis that can result in excessive scratching, shedding, and significant hair loss!

Adams spray is a PESTICIDE that you are spraying onto your petite little pet. The chemicals within this spray are ABSORBED into your pet's skin, go into the bloodstream and can continually POISON your pet's kidneys and liver after repeated usage. This in itself can cause an unkempt , lackluster hair coat and long term deleterious effects on your pet's immune system. Surprised

Other common reasons for hair loss in a pup this young would include hormonal imbalances such as underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism), estrogen responive alopecia post ovariohysterectomy, ringworm dermatitis, mites, and metabolic disease.

The following site lists most of the problems that can cause alopecia or hair loss in dogs, so I would check it out as a reference tool:

I would suggest that you have a full bloodwork chemistry including thyroid check done on your pet to assess overall systemic health. If things look normal, than selectively hunting down each possible differential can be explored with your vet!

Copraphagy is a nuisance addiction more than anything. In pets that are on a great nutritional diet and are healthy, it does not indicate a deficiency as some naysayers would like to spout. I would try to repeat the Forbid back to back until you get her to stop. One treatment is not always effective!

In addition to avoidance, which I know you are trying, a method called "booby trapping" is sometimes helpful in resistant dogs!

"Booby trapping" can be done by taking a sample of stool and cutting it in half lengthwise, and putting someTobasco type sauce on the inside of the stool, and then put it back together so that the dog is not aware of the hotsauce until it eats the
stool ! This can work well for dogs who don't immediately eat their poop, but search the yard for their special little snacks!!

I would deworm her a minimum of twice a year and have her checked for protozoan and flagellate intestinal parasites a MINIMUM of twice a year if she continues to eat her poo and anybody else's poo for that matter. Giardia, coccidia, and other intestinal parasites can cause SUBCLINICAL , vague disease in many pets and they should be tested for and treated for in high risk pets!

Eukanuba is a great diet for skin , teeth, and overall health. Nonetheless, you may want to consider supplementation with additional fatty acids and fish oils to help boost your pet's hair growth and oil production at the cell level. I like either 3V caps or DermCaps as a daily supplement in all dogs. It can take 4-6 weeks to notice an effect, but always helps every pet in a noticeable way!!

These are typically available online without a prescription or at your local vet's office!

Grooming is an important part of her overall health regimen, too...and it sounds like you are doing well in that area.

My ultimate recommendation is getting a health screen done, switching flea preventives and controlling fleas, adding fatty acids and fish oils to her diet, and continuing to distract her from eating her own feces!

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Best Wishes to You and Your Pet!
Dr. Jodi L. Smith

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