Several different endocrine disorders commonly contribute to alopecia. Hyperadrenocorticism ( Cushing’s disease , or iatrogenic hyperadrenocorticism caused by veterinary corticosteroid administration), hypoadrenocorticism ( Addison’s disease ), hypothyroidism , hyperthyroidism, hyperestrogenism (in females) and hypoandrogenism can all result in some form of alopecia if the underlying condition is not controlled. Many dogs have focal hair loss around the genital and flank regions following spay or neuter procedures. Testicular neoplasia (cancer) can also cause hormonally-based alopecia.
Skin scrapings are usually taken and examined under the microscope, to look for demodex. A Wood's lamp is the first step in looking for evidence of fungal infection. If there is any indication that hormonal problems may be involved in your dog's hair loss, then blood tests will be done to check hormone levels. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed by measuring the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood. An ACTH stimulation test checks the adrenal gland's ability to produce cortisol, and is useful in confirming or ruling out a diagnosis of Cushing's Disease.
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Kelly Sundstrom is an award-winning journalist, author, artist and national special needs spokesperson. As the caretaker of two dogs, five cats and a bearded dragon, Sundstrom understands the importance of keeping pets healthy.
*This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.