Pomeranian black skin disease refers to symmetrical coat loss and resulting dark pigmentation of his skin in the bald areas. Read on to find out the causes and treatments available for this Pomeranian issue.
Pomeranians and most other Spitz dog breeds are susceptible to a type of hair loss known as Black Skin Disease.
The Pomeranian skin disease is known by many other terms: including Pomeranian Alopecia X, BSD, Coat Funk, Castration Responsive Alopecia, Pseudo-Cushing's Syndrome, Adrenal Sex Hormone Alopecia, Biopsy Responsive Alopecia, Hair Cycle Arrest and BSD syndrome.
Pomeranian Alopecia Vital Facts
- Poms don’t suffer pain, discomfort or itchiness from Pomeranian Alopecia X, unlike other skin diseases.
- A bald Pomeranian will need exposed skin covered to guard against the weather and the heat from the sun. A soft sweater will help regulate his body temperature. He’ll burn easily and quickly if he goes out without sunscreen on. Let it sink into his skin for 15 minutes before taking him out.
- A higher percentage of boy Pomeranians suffer coat loss problems in comparison to female Poms.
- There is no known single cause of the Pomeranian fur loss problem.
- At this stage there is no known Pomeranian black skin disease cure, but you as a loving owner can do many things to prevent Pomeranian coat loss and assist your Pom to recoat. It is rare to see a Pomeranian with no hair at all.
- The degree of hair loss varies in most cases of Pomeranian Hair Loss. Some Poms may lose all body hair, but will remain coated on their head and legs. While other Poms may only experience extreme coat thinning on the tail and their butt area.
- Alopecia X Pomeranians who regrow their coat may experience a second bout of coat loss. These BSD Poms rarely recoat after experiencing BSD twice.
- Pomeranian fur loss is called black skin disease because a dog’s skin, when exposed to air, will discolour and appear black.
- Pomeranian Alopecia X is another name some people use for this disease. Alopecia X simply means “unexplained loss of fur or hair,” which doesn’t provide the answers that owners seek.
Pomeranian Black Skin Disease Symptoms
A Bsd Pomeranian will slowly lose his fur and there are different stages:
Stages of Black Skin Disease Pomeranian Hair Loss
- He’ll start having odd patches that look different to the rest of his fur or his coat may appear very dry, dull and dead looking. Usually the first signs of coat loss problems begin with thinning tail coat and areas on the back legs.
- The patches will get thinner and increase with time.
- Over time his fur will keep falling out until there are parts with no fur on his body, at all and you can only see his skin.
- The last stage of BSD is when he has lost most or all of his fur, usually the hair on the dog’s head and legs remain with a few wispy hairs on his body and tail. His skin will be black.
The Onset of Black Skin Disease in Pomeranians
Early Onset Pomeranian Black Skin Disease, Pomeranian BSD, Pomeranian Alopecia X
Pomeranian puppies with beautiful, full, soft textured fluffy coats as puppies may develop early-onset Pomeranian BSD.
Pomeranian puppies with these types of coats often lack harsh guard hairs and feel like "cotton" to touch.
These puppies often do not shed puppy coat and go through the ugly stage like the majority of Pom puppies.
Coat loss usually occurs at around 14 to 16 months and these cases are referred to as the early onset version of black skin disease.
Late Onset Pomeranian Hair Loss
Late-onset Pomeranian alopecia usually occurs at around 3 to 4 years of age. Pom owners may at first believe their dog is simply going through a coat change. Instead, however, a dull, dry, thinning coat may be the first indicator of BSD.
There’s still a lot of research to be conducted on the topic of BSD in Pomeranians.
However, studies so far have shown that a Pom is usually at least one year old before he shows any signs of this disease.
But he can actually be almost any age, from as young as 3 months to as old as being a senior dog in double-digit figures.
Blue Pomeranian Fur Loss
Is your Blue Pomeranian losing hair? If your Pom has the blue gene and BSD, it’s called blue alopecia by Pomeranian breeders. The offical term for blue alopecia is color dilution alopecia.
This can also affect lavender dogs because that’s a diluted type of blue. He should still have the tests previously mentioned.
If his fur is blue, lavender or a mixed range of colors including white, the white bits stay the same and the colored parts of his fur will become thinner, change in texture, point out in different directions or it may completely fall out.
Blue alopecia is also called color dilution alopecia. It is an uncommon hereditary skin disease.
Initial signs are dull, dry, poor hair coat quality in Histopathology Clumping of melanin seen in epidermis and dermis with distortion and atrophy of hair follicles.
Blue Pomeranians will often lack coat on their ears.
Pomeranian Post Clipping Alopecia ( PCA)
Pomeranian hair loss after shaving is called Pomeranian post clipping alopecia or PCA for short.
Shaving a Pomeranian causes the hair follicle to be left in the skin. The Pomeranian's body thinks there's no need to grow any fur there. Normal shedding and shedding treatments remove the follicle and therefore the fur starts regrowth.
Pomeranian Hair Loss Treatment Results
This is Bailey, a Pomeranian who has developed Pomeranian hair loss after shaving at the groomers. Bailey had rapid Pomeranian hair growth after receiving Pomeranian hair shedding treatments by a Veterinary dermatologist.
Pomeranian Black Skin Disease Treatment
Even though it’s simple to observe the symptoms of Pomeranian BSD, it’s essential that you eliminate all possible causes of hair loss in Pomeranians.
Hair loss in Pomeranian dogs can be caused by many different Pomeranian skin conditions. The first step in Pomeranian black skin disease treatment is to rule as many causes as possible.
Black Skin Disease Pomeranian Owners Should Ask Their Vet to Run These Tests:
- A skin biopsy.
- A blood panel.
- Testing of his thyroid.
- Adrenal hormone tests.
- Thyroid testing
These tests will help your vet eliminate other possible causes including mange, mites, allergies, and other options.
The results of these tests will demonstrate which hormones react abnormally and will suggest what therapies may work.
Testing is expensive and the wait for the results could take a couple of weeks to come through but they may indicate the next step to take.
Black Skin Disease Pomeranian Treatments
Once EVERY canine medical problem (thyroid trouble, mites, etc) all get ruled out, and your vet diagnoses your Pomeranian with Black Skin Disease or Alopecia X.
Then you must follow all instructions the vet gives you to treat this main problem and anything else that’s going on, thereby following a plan that may be able to restore his coat to its former glory.
Remember that all Poms will react differently. Some will have their fur grow back, and others won’t. However, if you’re determined, patient, and diligent, your dog's coat will improve dramatically in most cases.
On this page, you can see photos of Poms with diligent owners who achieved success treating fur loss at home.
CRITICAL POINT. Always get advice from the vet PRIOR to any form of topical or oral treatments.
Pomeranian alopecia treatment involves important Pomeranian lifestyle changes to implement.
The most efficient method (at home) for treating your Pomeranian if he has Alopecia X, BSD or loss of his fur is with our 7 steps:
7 Step Black Skin Disease Pomeranian Treatment
- Change your Pomeranian to a home-cooked diet, or a raw diet.
- Bath your Pomeranian, completely dry and apply an oil to his bare skin 2 or 3 times weekly.
- Use of a high velocity pet hair dryer to assist in removal of dead Pomeranian fur.
- Increase your Pomeranian's exposure to sunlight. Dogs need Vitamin D and a few minutes of sunlight each day will provide the necessary Vitamin D.
- Give him daily melatonin. Please discuss this option with your Veterinarian before giving any melatonin supplements.
- Offer daily omega-3 fish oil.
- Treat his fur and skin topically with a specialized shampoo, conditioner, and restorative lotion.
Feed your Alopecia X Pomeranian Home Cooked Food
A complete change of diet will often help BSD-affected Pomeranians. Avoid all bought dog food and only feed fresh him nutritious home-cooked meals.
Supplement this diet with a couple of tablespoons of tinned salmon, two or three times per week.
Add Coconut Oil to his meals daily and it may also be used on the exposed skin areas.
Supplement With Omega-3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 DHA and EPA (sourced from fish) provide the best forms of omega for coat and skin health and is a crucial aspect of helping any Pom with BSD to regrow his coat.
The best results have been obtained by adding quality tinned salmon to your dog’s food. If adding tinned salmon isn’t an option, a daily fish oil supplement is a great alternative.
I suggest a liquid omega-3 fish oil derived from wild fish, and not farmed fish. You give this to your dog once daily. The specified amount is generally 1/4 – 1/2 a pump, (depending on your dog’s weight).
Mix it thoroughly into his meal or he might only eat the pieces of kibble covered in the fish oil, as the taste and smell are tantalizing to canines.
Bathing your Pomeranian
Pomeranian alopecia treatment means a change to your Pomeranian's bathing routine. Bathing your Pomeranian as often as possible can help improve this condition.
Black skin disease Pomeranians appear to have dry skin blocking their skin pores. This dead, dry skin must be removed before Pomeranian hair growth can resume as normal.
Any shampoo is suitable for this task. But great success has been had by using Isle of Dogs Deep Cleaning Shampoo and bathing every second day.
Scrub the exposed skin using an exfoliating mitt until the skin appears a healthy pink color. You might discover a grey film, this is dead, dry skin which is blocking the pores.
The dry skin needs to be removed by bathing and exfoliating on a regular basis. Ensure your dog is completely dry and then apply oil to affected areas.
The bathing regime may possibly take up to 6 months to produce results.
Many Pomeranian owners have successfully regrown full coats on their hairless Pomeranian following this routine and the use of the dog grooming products advertised on this site.
Specialty skin lotion, Shampoo, and Conditioner
a) Specialty Lotion
If you massage a lotion into his coat and skin, it can help greatly. It stimulates the circulation of blood to his hair follicles, an action that often helps to grow your Pomeranian’s coat.
If you use ingredients that are rich in restorative ingredients, that can help regrow the coat if’s balding or has had a severe thinning out.
Use healing lotions that help with regeneration would contain ingredients such as tea tree oil, shea butter, coconut oil, honey, and aloe vera.
This is the best way to apply the quality lotion:
Massage the lotion into the areas of your dog’s skin wherever there are thinning patches. Do this twice daily for a minimum of five minutes each time and for seven days in a row.
Next is to massage the lotion into the thin areas once daily.
If you get to the stage where his coat is starting to grow again, do it every second day for a month or so.
After your dog’s coat is completely restored, consider using this same product once a week for maintenance.
I recommend DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion - 8 oz.
b) Specialty Shampoo
You need a shampoo that really boosts the regenerative and healing properties. Tea tree oil and peppermint are a great blend. Other useful ingredients include: aloe vera, lavender, rosehip seed oils, chamomile, and oat proteins
When attempting to help your Pomeranian’s coat regrow, and you select the best products, you’re allowed to shampoo your dog or puppy more often than you usually would, up to once weekly.
After he has been properly lathered, let it all soak in deeply for at least 10 minutes.
Then rinse him deeply and pat him dry before drying with a dog blow dryer. Never rub him, just gently brush while using a k9 dryer.
I recommend DERMagic Peppermint & Tea Tree Oil Shampoo & Conditioner 12 fl. oz.
c) Specialty Conditioner
It’s normal for shampoos designed to restore the health of his coat and skin to be extremely luxurious and you might assume he won’t need a conditioner.
However, regardless of the products you use to wash your dog, hair cuticles can open so a great conditioner will help smooth them again because it’s essential to keep all remaining fur in great shape.
I recommend a matching conditioner DERMagic Peppermint & Tea Tree Oil Shampoo & Conditioner 12 fl. oz.
Importance of using a Pet Hair Dryer
An important part of Pomeranian coat grooming and maintenance is removing dead coat and dead Pomeranian dry skin.
Using a high-velocity pet hair dryer after bathing your Pomeranian will assist in the removal of the dead coat, thus helping new Pomeranian fur to grow in the place of this dead coat.
Allowing your dog to stay partially wet only encourages fungal and other coat issues.
I recommend the CHAOLUN Dog Dryer High-Velocity Professional Pet Dog Blow Dryer 3.2HP - Dog Hair Grooming Dryer.
Melatonin for Dog Hair Loss
Melatonin can also help sometimes. It’s an oral medication that’s not harmful so why not try it?
You can buy melatonin tablets at the majority of health food shops or places where vitamins are sold. 30% of dogs will usually show a response within approx. 6-8 weeks.
There is no difference between melatonin supplements sold for humans or dogs.
Pomeranian Melatonin Dosage:
The dosage for most Pomeranians is 1 mg Melatonin, given twice daily. If Melatonin is given only once daily it is recommended to be given to your Pomeranian in the evening.
Give your dog this supplement for 2 - 3 months before assessing if it works for him if his fur starts to grow back and then you keep giving it to him until the rate of hair growth begins to plateau.
Then you slowly reduce the dose over a couple of months until you no longer need to use it.
Sometimes you can stop using it completely and at other times you may need to use it a second time.
But if the fur falls out again after you stop using it, it may mean the melatonin isn’t going to work as well this time around. Melatonin is a supplement, not a prescribed medication.
This means the FDA doesn’t maintain the same level of quality as it does for prescriptions. I recommend K9 Select Melatonin Beef Flavored Chews.
Other Pomeranian Black Skin Disease Treatment Options
Desex Your Pomeranian
One method that isn’t guaranteed to always work, but often does work well, is for your vet to spay or neuter your dog if he should develop BSD.
Researchers have said that BSD is connected to an imbalance in the dog’s sex hormone…but this theory is still being studied in greater detail. The most vital point is to never breed a dog who has BSD.
Black Skin Disease Alopecia X BSD Pomeranians should be removed from any breeding program.
Alopecia X sometimes resembles a sex hormone imbalance, hence the label "castration responsive alopecia." You need to start by spaying female unspayed dogs and neutering intact male dogs.
Sterilization has various health benefits, whether the dog has lost hair or not. A lot of dogs will regain their hair (but that may not be permanent) so this is the first place to begin. It’s wiser than investing in confusing, complicated diagnostics.
Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion
Another Pomeranian BSD option is dermabrasion and microdermabrasion performed by a specialist Vet.
Treating an Adrenal Imbalance: Lysodren And Trilostane
Lysodren, an (off label medicine also known as mitotane or o, p'-DDD) is usually selected to treat Cushing's disease, where the adrenal gland produces too many cortisone-type hormones.
Lysodren erodes the adrenal gland’s outer layers to control how much cortisone is produced.
If the adrenal gland becomes over-eroded, electrolyte imbalances can happen which may become being permanent (although you can treat them).
The adrenal gland also creates sex hormones so Lysodren aids Alopecia X as it’s able to prevent the hormones being produced by eroding the section that creates them.
Alopecia X Pomeranians may not have Cushing’s disease or excessive amounts of cortisone.
Therefore, if you treat your dog with Lysodren, he may end up with a cortisone deficiency and/or the more serious issue - Addison’s disease, an adrenal gland deficiency.
Signs of a reaction to Lysodren may include diarrhea, vomiting, and listlessness. Your dog should have regular blood tests to manage the levels of cortisone while he’s on Lysodren.
Cushing’s disease can also be treated with Trilostane. Trilostane is an FDA-approved treatment of Cushing disease (pituitary-dependent Cushing disease). It’s also handy for Alopecia X if the dog has adrenal gland hyperplasia.
However, it’s critical to remember that this drug can also lead to a dangerously low level of adrenal steroids. It has been shown to help regrow hair in some cases, despite the potential risks.
Growth Hormone Treatments
There used to be a time when people believed this would cause a growth hormone deficiency. After all, the only effective way to use it is via injection.
The product is genetically engineered and, although sometimes unavailable commercially, it can be purchased through academic channels.
Blood sugars need to be checked regularly as this medication can cause diabetes. If you use a six-week course of therapy, the positive results may last a couple of years.
There are a variety of other medications that can affect the adrenal hormones and there have been mixed results when used to treat an Alopecia X Pomeranian. These other choices include cimetidine, leuprolide, anipryl, prednisone, and ketoconazole.
A vet hormone called Deslorelin prevents testosterone and estrogen production and vets commonly use it as a timing method for ovulating mares.
The product is an implant and has been tested recently as a treatment for Alopecia X. During the first three-month period, three-quarters of the male dogs had regrowth of hair.
No such luck for spayed females. In the first full testing year, there weren’t any side effects so it may become a useful treatment for intact male dogs.
Black Skin Disease Pomeranian Treatment Tips
Don’t quit too early. The majority of Pomeranians take 1-2 months before a change occurs and three months for a dramatic difference to appear.
If your vet won’t approve melatonin, or it makes your Pomeranian too drowsy, still carry on with the other steps.
Work hard to avoid everything that may cause his skin and coat any irritation.
Never let him lay on scratchy rugs and hard floors. Instead, a soft baby blanket or doggie bed will work. Don’t allow your dog to roll around on grass that’s coarse, and other similar places.
Does Pomeranian Hair Grow Back?
It is important to note some Pomeranians may regrow their coat, but may in the future have another bout of coat loss issues. It has been noted that BSD Pomeranians do not usually recoat a second time.
Caring for Dog With Pomeranian Fur Loss
We do not have a cure for Pomeranian black skin disease. There does appear to many reasons for Pomeranian fur loss.
Loving owners can do many things to ensure the comfort and well being of their little dog during any periods of Pomeranian alopecia X Pom.
Pomeranian Black Skin Disease Care Tips
It is important for owners of dogs with Pomeranian fur loss to know their much loved little dogs is not in any pain. Owners need to provide a certain level of care to ensure his comfort and well being.
Your Pomeranian's exposed skin will need to be protected from the elements.
Warm clothing in winter is a must. During the summer months protect your Pomeranian from the sun with sunblock lotion and lightweight summer clothing.
Care must be taken to keep his exposed skin in good condition with regular bathing and oiling.
A Pomeranian with fur loss should not be itchy unless the cause of the coat loss is a mite infection or the skin is not be cared for appropriately.
The Hormone Profile Of The University Of Tennessee
When researching effective therapies for Alopecia X, one possibility to consider is offered by Tennessee University. It’s is called the “Adrenal Sex Hormone panel.”
The experts do this particular test by first taking a baseline blood panel. Then a pituitary hormone (ACTH) is administered. An hour later, a second blood sample is drawn and used as a comparison.
The samples are sent to Tennessee to evaluate various adrenal sex hormones.
Black Skin Disease in Pomeranians Final Thoughts:
Pomeranian Alopecia X is one of those canine conditions that cause immense frustration now and will continue to do so for many years.
Studies continue and eventual progress will be made but it will certainly take a long time.
Detailed above are the present Pomeranian black skin disease treatment and Pomeranian Alopecia X treatment options. Patience is necessary, as the coat won't grow back immediately.
As a caring Pom parent, each option may necessitate exploring for a time period of 6 to 9 months.
N.B. This article regarding Pomeranian health issues has been written in consultation with our resident Veterinary Doctor:
Dr. Muqeet Mushtaq
DVM, University of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, 2019
MSc. (Hons.) (Animal Breeding & Genetics), University of Agriculture Faisalabad, 2021
Disclaimer: The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your dog. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on ANY website.
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References and Further Reading:
Denise Leo, The Pomeranian Handbook.