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Pomeranian Losing Hair? Causes of Pomeranian Hair Loss.

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Is Your Pomeranian Losing Hair? 

Find out why Pomeranian losing hair. Lists major causes of hair loss (alopecia) in dogs and treatments available.

Lots of diseases and other medical issues can cause dogs to lose some of their hair. Some reasons may be regarded as “normal,” whilst others may indicate that your Pomeranian has a serious disease.

Pomeranian Puppies
Pomeranian Puppies

Listed in the table below are the majority of ailments that cause dogs to lose hair, even a few that are rare. This comprehensive list enables you to appreciate why a vet may be unable to diagnose a problem quickly and he must perform numerous diagnostic tests.

The conditions that are underlined within this table are the most common problems. However, geographic locations may cause some of the results to vary.

 

Condition Description Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment
Acanthosis Nigricans. Dachshunds may inherit this form.  A secondary form is usually caused by hormonal abnormalities, friction or hyper-sensitivities. The skin colour grows darker. (In its secondary form – see scratching and hair loss.) Physical examination and history. In its secondary form, tests need to be run to find the underlying cause. Primary – no treatment. Secondary – treat the underlying disease. In many cases vitamin E supplements and steroids may be used.
Acral lick dermatitis (neurodermatitis). Dogs that lick themselves can cause self-trauma. Possible causes include boredom, anxiety and stress (e.g., new member in the home). Licking can become an obsession. Red, hairless, raised lesions may appear, generally on the dog’s legs. If it’s a chronic problem it will drain. Exclude other possible causes. History is essential. Relieve the underlying cause – anxiety or stress. Use an Elizabethan collar to stop him licking. The use of behaviour modifying medication could become necessary.
Adrenal sex hormone responsive dermatosis. This problem is most commonly found in Samoyeds, Chows, Pomeranians and Keeshonden. The loss of hair begins on the tail, the back of the dog’s neck and the rear of the thighs. Then it slowly moves to the dog’s body.  The skin darkens and the coat looks like a puppy’s coat. Biopsy done to rule out other potential causes. Mitotane is one option.
Irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. A dog may experience an allergic reaction after multiple exposures to any of the following: Antibiotics that are applied to the dog’s skin; Metals such as nickel; Rubber, plastic and wool; chemicals including carpet deodorisers\ and dyes;  inflammation due to poison ivy and other similar substances. Blisters or bumps and red skin in parts of the dog’s skin with minimal hair. Direct exposure to any of the offending substances. Itching and hair loss in chronic cases. Patch test, exclusion trials. Prevent the dog’s exposure to the contact irritant or allergen within his normal environment. Antihistamines and steroids are used.  
Alopecia areata. It’s believed to be a disorder of the immune system. Hair loss patches, particularly on the neck, body and head but no itchiness.   Using a microscope to examine the hairs and then do a biopsy. The recovery will be spontaneous.
Atopy (allergic inhalant dermatitis). The dog can have an allergic reaction if he inhales house dust, pollen, mould and mites.   Hair loss, redness, itchiness, inflamed ears and licking of paws. The development of hot spots or infections may occur.   Intradermal or blood tests to look for allergies. Reduce exposure to the allergens. Other methods include: biotin, immunotherapy, shampoos, fatty acid supplements, antihistamines and steroids.  
Bacterial infection (pyoderma). See Folliculitis. This often happens because of a different problem such as: hormonal problems, parasites or allergies.        
Black hair follicular dysplasia/alopecia/dystrophy. Rare hereditary disease in dogs with hair of multiple colours; more common in Bearded Collies, Basset Hounds, Salukis, Beagles, Dachshunds, and Pointers Loss of dark or black hair only; symptoms appear between 3 and 6 weeks of age; sometimes scaling Clinical signs, biopsy Shampoos for scaling if necessary
Calluses. Caused by chronic pressure and is more prevalent in big dog breeds.   Hairless, thick, raised spots above bony pressure points (e.g., the elbows). Secondary infections may occur.   History and clinical signs. Give your dog better, softer bedding and padding around the problem area.
Castration responsive dermatosis. Most commonly done in dogs that aren’t neutered. Also carried out on Keeshonden, Chows, Alaskan Malamutes, Pomeranians, Samoyeds and miniature poodles.   Coat resembles a “puppy coat.” Hair colour may start to fade and skin may go a darker colour. Severe scaling. The neck and genital regions have symmetrical loss of hair. History and complete physical examination. Rule out other possible causes. Test blood to determine hormone levels. Castration.
Chemotherapy. Hair loss caused by chemotherapy is a big worry for owners of dogs with cancer.   Dogs who have hair that continuously grows (e.g. Maltese and Poodles) can lose hair. It’s possible for whiskers to be lost as well. History. No treatment. Once the dog has finished with chemotherapy, his hair will grow back but it may be different in texture and/or colour.
Cheyletiella (rabbit fur mite) mange. Infected with the Cheyletiella mite. Scaliness and itchiness. If it’s severe, hair loss may also happen. The mite is almost impossible to find so a microscopic exam and scraping of the skin is essential. Pyrethrin and Permethrin (Do NOT use permethrin on cats.)
Colour dilution/mutant alopecia. It’s a hereditary problem in dogs with fawn or blue (diluted black) coloured coats. It’s most commonly found in Great Danes, Whippets, Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Dobermans and Greyhounds. At around 6 months of age, the hair on some dogs with fawn and blue coloured coats begin to thin out. Secondary folliculitis may also develop. Breed, colour of the coat and history. No treatment. Avoid harsh shampoos and too much grooming. Protect the skin as much as possible to help Stop secondary bacterial infections.
Congenital hypotrichosis. Congenital lack of hair. Puppies are born and have minimal or no hair. The small amount they have is gone by the time they’re 4 months old.   Physical examination and then a biopsy. None.
Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism). Corticosteroids are the cause. It occurs if the amount in the dog’s body is increased naturally or due to prolonged use or high doses. Skin thinning out, hair loss  easy bruising, hyper-pigmentation, comedones (black heads), seborrhoea, lethargy, calcinosis cutis, a potbellied look and a rise in urination and thirst. CBC, chemistry panel, urinalysis and tests for adrenal gland functionality. If caused by glandular tumours,  removing the tumour through surgical means. If caused by use of steroids, a slow weaning off the steroids.
Cyclic (cicatricle) alopecia; seasonal flank alopecia. At some points in the year, the hair growth cycle stops. Skin may darken in colour and symmetrical loss of hair with defined borders, generally on the flanks and back. Clinical signs, biopsy and history. None.
Demodectic mange (red mange, puppy mange). Infection with the Demodex mite – occurs when the immune system is deficient Hair loss, scaliness, redness, pustules, ulcers, sometimes itching, darkening of the skin Skin scraping and microscopic examination No Steroids! Amitraz (Mitaban) dips.
Dermatomyositis. Certain breeds are more likely to contract this condition. Causes aren’t known. It’s made worse by UV lighting and trauma.   Loss of hair, scaling, redness, crusting and muscles involved with chewing start atrophying and scarring on the tail, ears and face.     Skin biopsy. Minimise the exposure to UV lighting and trauma, fatty acids, vitamin E, short term usage of prednisone or oxpentoxifylline. Some cases are too severe to respond to any treatment so euthanasia may be considered.
    Diabetes mellitus (Type 2 diabetes).     Unusual immunity causes dogs with diabetes to be susceptible to infections and a myriad of other skin issues.         Thinning and loss of hair, recurring bacterial infections, Seborrhoea and infections. Unregulated dogs may have other diseases and conditions and may also develop xanthoma or epidermal metabolic necrosis.     Blood tests.     Insulin and changes to his diet.
Drug or injection reaction. A rare skin reaction when a drug is given, topically or orally. More common with sulphonamides, penicillins and cephalosporins, and generally happens within the first fortnight of using the drug. Varies widely and can include: redness, ulcers, hair loss, draining wounds, itchiness and swelling papules. History of drug use, biopsy and symptoms. Stop using the problem drug and treat symptoms as they appear.
Epidermal metabolic necrosis (necrolytic migratory erythema, hepatocutaneous disease). It’s a rare skin disease that occurs in older dogs. Skin lesions may appear in dogs that have specific diseases including: diabetes, liver disease and certain pancreatic tumours. Red areas that sometimes have ulcers, crusts and loss of hair. The foot pads may become thickened. Biopsy and ascertain the underlying disease. Poor prognosis. Treat the identified underlying disease and offer support therapy.
Erythema multiform. Overly sensitive reaction to drugs or infections. Maybe caused by cancer or numerous other diseases “Bulls-eye” lesions, hair loss and vesicles around the groin, mouth, ears and axilla. Fever may develop. Depression and ulcers may also develop. Clinical signs, skin biopsy and history. Rule out diseases that can cause similar signs. Remove or treat the underlying cause.
Estrogen responsive dermatosis (ovarian imbalance type II). More typical in boxers and dachshunds as well as young dogs that have been spayed.   Hair loss originates in the flanks and genital region and move forward. The coat is similar to a puppy and the hair colour could fade. History and a physical examination. Rule out other options. Response to therapy. Estrogen replacement therapy. WARNING – can have severe side effects.
Flea allergy dermatitis (flea bite hypersensitivity). Severe reaction to a flea’s saliva. Crusts, scales, loss of hair, redness, intense itchiness and papules. Sometimes hotspots or infections may occur. Reaction to intradermal testing and fleas are present.   Use flea control methods in the environment and on the dog himself. Antihistamines and steroidal use to ease the itchiness.
Follicular dystrophy/alopecia/ dysplasia (abnormal development or growth of hair). See Congenital hypotrichosis, Colour dilution/mutant alopecia, black hair follicular dystrophy/alopecia, Follicular dysplasia (non-colour linked). It’s congenital in certain breeds which increases the risk. It may be acquired when a dog is much older from cancer drugs, hormonal imbalances, infections and other diseases. Loss of hair, sometimes only a specific colour and scaling may appear as well.   Breed, clinical signs and skin biopsy. If it’s an acquired disease, treat the underlying reason. If it’s congenital, treat secondary issues including: scaling or infections.  
Follicular dystrophy/dysplasia (non-colour linked). Hair loss in patches experienced by dog breeds such as the: boxer, Siberian Husky, Airedale, Doberman Pinscher, Portuguese Water Dog, Irish Water Spaniel, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Boxer and Curly Coated Retriever.   In Dobermans, hair loss is over the dog’s lumbar area. The Huskies have a reddish colour to their hair and some hair is lost. In Terriers and Boxers, the skin could be hyper-pigmented and the lumbar area will lose hair. Spaniels and Retrievers lose guard hair on their trunks and backs. The secondary hairs are lighter and duller in colours. Breed and biopsy. None.  
Folliculitis. Hair follicles may become infected, sometimes with staph bacteria. Symptoms generally appear on the dog’s body in places with minimal hair –e.g., the abdomen.     Pustules in the follicles break open to create: annular, target and bull’s-eye lesions with centres that are crusty. There may be a darkening or red effect on the dog’s periphery and epidermal “collarettes” that look like scaly skin rings. It may cause itchiness. Breeds with short coats can develop tufts of hair which then fall out. Breeds with longer coats may contract seborrhoea. Cultures, scraping of the skin and biopsies. Antibiotics for a month minimum. Keep giving your dog the drugs for at least 10 days after it seems cured. If it returns, try to determine the underlying cause. It may be a hormonal imbalance or an allergy.  
Food allergies. Allergic to something in his food. Inflamed ears, licking paws, redness, itchiness and loss of hair. Hot spots or infections may develop. Try different foods and watch for his reactions so you can eliminate certain foods and hopefully discover the allergens. Change the dog’s diet.
Granulomas. Infections are one cause. The dog’s reaction to foreign matter such as plant materials, suture, material, other regular irritants or unknown reasons.     Varied sizes of firm, solid nodules. If the cause is foreign bodies, they’ll sometimes have draining tracts. Your dog may get ulcers, lose his hair, or have secondary infections. Clinical signs, history, biopsies and possible  exploratory surgery. Surgical procedure to remove whatever foreign body is in your pet’s body. If it’s plant material, there may be extensive tracts that could require major surgery. If it’s an infection, use antibiotics. Also treat other underlying causes.
Growth hormone responsive alopecia. Isn’t well understood. Believed to be due to an enzyme deficiency. The second option is a decrease in adrenal hormones, allowing certain other hormones to amass in the body. Common in: Poodles, Samoyeds, Chow Chows, Keeshonden and Pomeranians. Generally appears when a dog is under two years old. Loss of hair on the tail, neck and back of the thighs. Skin turns a darker colour. Hormonal blood testing. Hormone supplements, growth hormones or neuter the animal.    
Hair loss during pregnancy and nursing, (‘blowing her coat,’ telogen effluvium). Excessive shedding may also happen during other stressful times including surgery or sickness. Widespread, sudden loss of hair. Clinical signs and history. Hair will eventually return. Treat underlying causes.
Histiocytosis. Several types. Malignant: cancer that affects the dog’s internal organs and skin. Systemic: rare disease affecting internal organs and skin. Cutaneous: Benign disease that affects skin. Hair loss and nodules caused in all cases. Systemic and malignant forms have ulcers, too.       Fine needle aspiration or biopsy.   Malignant: nothing effective. Might need to think about euthanasia. Systemic: responds poorly to chemotherapy drugs. Cutaneous: corticosteroids. It’s common to have a relapse, particularly in, Shar-Peis.
Hyperestrogenism (ovarian imbalance type I). Rare disease. Female dogs have too much estrogen. May be due to ovarian cancer. Symmetrical Hair loss and it can be pulled out easily. Skin darkens in colour. Enlarged vulva and nipples. In rare cases also itchiness and Seborrhoea. Physical assessment and history. Eliminate other hail loss causes. Measure the levels of estrogen in the blood. Spay the dog. Look to see if the lungs have metastasised.
Hypothyroidism. Reduced thyroid hormone production. The number one hormonal disease that affects dogs’ skin.   Loss of hair. Brittle, dry hair. Seborrhoea. Secondary yeast and bacterial infections. Lethargy, slow heartbeat, obesity, skin pigment might change. CBC, chemistry panel and test the function of the thyroid gland.   Must be given thyroid supplements for the rest of his life.
Injection site alopecia. Loss of hair at an injection site where a vaccine or medication has been used. Skin can thicken. Cats may develop ulcers. Hair loss happens a few months after such an injection. That area may also become hyper-pigmented. Physical exam and history. Nothing. This is a permanent problem.
Interstitial cell tumour. Tumour on the testicle. Might not change skin colour. See seborrhoea if any changes to the skin. Hair loss on the trunk. Perianal glands and the tail gland become enlarged. Skin pigment may increase. Biopsy. Anti-seborrheic shampoos or castration.
Kerion. A complication of a ringworm infection. Loss of hair, nodules and numerous draining tracts. Other ringworm indicators may be invisible to the naked eye. Culture and a biopsy. Clip the affected area and use shampoo and topical treatment.  Possibly need systemic treatment with Iitraconazole or ketoconazole.
Leishmaniasis. The cause is a parasite of blood cells. Might be transmitted to humans who then succumb to a severe form of the disease. Loss of hair, ulcers on the ears and nose and scaling Sometimes nodules appear as well as other signs unrelated to the skin. Blood tests. Identify the problem organism in either the blood or via a biopsy.   Because people get a severe form of the disease and dogs can’t be cured, euthanasia is usually the best choice.  
Lice. Several types of lice cause an infection. Hair loss, itchiness, rough coat hair and crusts. Discovering nits or lice on the skin or in the hair. Pyrethrin, ivermectin (off-label use*), Permethrin. (DON’T use permethrin on cats.)
Malassezia. Usually follows a different underlying disease. Greasy scales, hair loss, redness and itchiness. If it’s chronic, hyper-pigmentation may occur. Skin scraping, smears, microscopic exams and cultures. The underlying disease has to be treated. Miconazole shampoos or oral ketoconazole.
Nasal solar dermatitis See solar dermatitis. See solar dermatitis      
Pattern alopecia (pattern baldness). Three types. Loss of hair may happen on the ears of Dachshunds (aka pinnal alopecia). It may occur on tails, thighs and necks of Portuguese Water Dogs and American Water Spaniels. Back of the thighs, and abdomen, of Greyhounds, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds and Whippets. Lost hair in the described areas. History, breed and biopsy. Nothing.
Pelodera dermatitis. Caused by non-parasitic worms living in straw and other types of organic materials. The larvae cause the problem accidentally.   Affect parts of the skin that touch the ground. Redness, intense itching, scales, crusts, loss of hair and papules. Microscopic exam and scraping of the skin. Remove the bedding. Use a mild antibacterial shampoo. If necessary, ease the itching with steroids.  
Pituitary dwarfism. Hereditary problem where the pituitary gland can’t make the necessary hormones. Young puppies don’t grow. Dogs keep their puppy coat. This condition causes loss of hair on most of the body as well as scales, thin skin and secondary infections. Special blood tests to detect specific hormones. Hormone replacement therapy.
Post-clipping alopecia. Hair might not grow back as soon as it has been clipped. The animals that it can affect can’t be predicted but it’s more common in dogs with thick undercoats such as Chows and Huskies. Ongoing lack of new hair growth after being clipped (e.g. for surgical procedures.)   History. None. However, hair generally grows back but can take up to two years.
Pressure sores (decubital ulcers). Lesions appear on bony areas such as the elbows. More common in bigger recumbent dogs.   Begins as hairless red areas and soon after that it becomes draining ulcers, which can get infected.   Clinical signs and a biopsy. Keep the affected area(s) clean and prevent urine contact. Antibiotics and donut bandages for padding around the area but not directly over the ulcer. Prevent ulcers by turning your dog every two hours. Surgery may be indicated.
Pyoderma-superficial.          
Ringworm. Infection caused by several fungi types. Crusty areas, scaliness, hair loss, vesicles, itchiness and pustules. A Kerion (draining nodule) may develop. Culture. Miconazole and lime sulfur dips. Oral griseofulvin or Iitraconazole.
Sarcoptic mange. Infected with the Sarcoptes mite. Self-trauma and intense itching. Loss of hair, scales, crusts and papules. Mite is very hard to find. Scrape skin and microscopic exam.   Amitraz (Mitaban) dips. (off-label use.*) Ivermectin. (off-label use.*)
Schnauzer comedo syndrome. Rare and only in Miniature Schnauzers. Comedones (black heads) on the back and some mild itching. Possible secondary infection, small crusts and thinning of the hair. Breed, clinical signs and a skin biopsy. Long-term use of anti-seborrheic shampoos. Retinoids and antibiotics may be used.
Sebaceous adenitis. An unknown cause destroys the sebaceous glands. Some breeds are more susceptible than others. Breeds with short hair: Hair loss in circular areas with a fine scale. Breeds with long hair:   Hair loss is more widely spread and also scales appear. The hair mats simply. Itchiness can occur in all breeds. Breed, clinical signs and a skin biopsy. Fatty acid supplementation and antiseborrhoeic shampoos. Retinoids and steroids for the more severe cases.
Seborrhoea. Can be primary (genes) or secondary causes. The latter occur as a result of other diseases, allergies or hypothyroidism. Scales. Some breeds may have an oily or dry coat. Odour and hair loss may be a result of scratching. Scrape skin and do blood tests to determine underlying reason. Treat underlying cause if it’s discovered. Fatty acid supplementation and use of antiseborrhoeic shampoos.
Sertoli cell tumour. Middle-aged dogs can get testicular tumours.   Male dogs can take on sexual characteristics of female dogs. Increased hair loss, red area on the prepuce. Physical examination. Castration.
Solar dermatosis. Skin reacts to sunshine, especially if it’s unpigmented. Most commonly appears on the nose of Shelties, Collies and other similar breeds. Hail loss, redness and scaling on the ears and nose. Later ulcers and crusts can form. Breed, history, physical examination and a skin biopsy. Avoid more exposure to sunshine, particularly between 9am – 3pm. Use sunblock or steroids. Apply black ink or tattoo the nose.  
Tail dock neuroma. Nerve regrows after symptoms caused by tail docking. The docking site has a nodule which itches and causes self-mutilation, hyper-pigmentation and hair loss. History and symptoms Surgical removal.
Tail gland hyperplasia. At the top of the tail near the base is a sebaceous gland. That gland becomes bigger. Common in unneutered dogs and is secondary to other issues including hypothyroidism. Hair loss, crusts, oily and hyper-pigmentation occurs over the gland. Clinical signs; and search for the underlying cause. Treat the underlying cause. Castration may be a good idea and surgery may be required to remove it.  
Testosterone responsive dermatosis (hypo-androgenism). Most commonly found in Afghans and neutered older dogs.   Dry coat, scaly, dull, Seborrhoea, loss of hair in the anal and genital regions and progresses onto the dog’s trunk. History and physical exam. Rule out other causes. Response to therapy. Testosterone replacement therapy.
Vitamin A responsive dermatosis. Might not be caused by low levels of vitamin A but can respond if the amount used is increased. Most commonly found in Cocker Spaniels. Seborrhoea, smell, hair easily pulled out, thick feet pads & thick scales on abdomen and chest, particularly around the nipple area. Breed, clinical signs and biopsy of the skin. Permanent vitamin A treatment.
Zinc responsive dermatosis. Three types: 1. Malamutes and Huskies. 2. In fast growing puppies in big breeds. 3. In English Bull Terriers. Loss of hair, scaliness, redness, crustiness and oily skin (sometimes). Secondary bacterial infections are common to all three types. Breed, history, physical examination and a skin biopsy. Fix dietary deficiencies, use medicated shampoos and treat secondary infections.

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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: Denise Leo, The Pomeranian handbook.

The Pomeranian Handbook

 
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