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Alopecia X

Alopecia X is a cosmetic dermatological problem that occurs in breeds with plush fur (Pomeranian , Alaska Malamute , Chow Chow and Kiyshaund ). The disease is described in Miniature and Toy Poodles.

In veterinary literature, this disease occurs under many different names – adrenal sex hormone imbalance, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, biopsy responsive alopecia, castration responsive dermatosis, adult onset hyposomatotropism, growth hormone responsive dermatosis, pseudo – Cushin’’s disease, follicular arrest of plush – coated breeds, hair cycle arrest. The variety of names reflects the various treatment options that are developed and help in some cases of Alopecia X. According to recent scientific data, the cause is local dysregulation of follicular receptors , which leads to the arrest of the growth cycle of the hair.

It was found that the disease is a genetic predisposition and is inherited. Usually develops in immature dogs aged between 2 and 5 years old, but the age range is between 1 and 10 years.

Clinical signs are of dermatological nature and remind for endocrine problem , such as loss of hair covering most of the body without affecting  of  the head and end parts of the paws .
In the beginning the owners may notice hair loss in places where the leash contacts the skin, thinning fur , loss of coat . The coat of the animal begins to remind ” baby hair ” or look discolored. Some dogs with complete loss of hair showed a strong hyperpigmentation of the skin, it is believed that is a reaction by exposure to sunlight . Characteristically there is growth of hair in places of skin biopsy or operative wounds.

Except for the cosmetic effect of the disease , the animals show no other clinical signs and no evidence of systemic pathological changes.

Diagnosis of this disease is placed on the basis of exclusion. The main diseases that should be excluded from the list of differential diagnoses are hyperadrenocorticism , hypothyroidism, hiperestrogenizam , seasonal alopecia and other breed – specific diseases of the hair cycle. After excluding systemic diseases , skin biopsy can show off disease and inflammatory diseases such as seborrhea adenitis and folliculitis.

Your veterinarian will require a complete blood count with biochemical profile of blood , urine testing and screening tests for thyroid and adrenal gland.

The treatment of this problem has many options and different opinions of experts. In uncastrated animals, castration is recommended as a first step, many dogs have partial or full growth of hair after the procedure. The effect, however may not last long.

Melatonin is a dietary supplement of which between 30 and 40% of the dogs responded favorably with the partial to complete germination of coat and is completely safe. It is contraindicated in diabetes, because it can lead to insulin resistance.

Other options for treating the disease are adding growth hormone, products – mitotane, trilostane and methyltestosterone. Tthe effectiveness of them is different in various clinical studies published to date.

Since Alopecia X is pure cosmetic problem therapy may not be undertaken!

This is our patient Puhcho who was diagnosed with Alopecia X. He is 4 years old Pomeranian Spitz.He came to us with a complaint about a number of problems with the hair , the latter dates back about six months. There is a loss of hair in the pelvic limbs, back, abdomen and sides of the chest. In the places where there is no fur, the skin of Puhcho is hyperpigmented (a darker color). Samples for dermatophytes (skin fungus ), and parasitic causes were negative. Clinical examination found that Puhcho is cryptorchid (one testicle was retained ). Surgery was performed to remove the retained testicle and was initiated therapy with the hormone melatonin for the cosmetic condition of Puhcho. One month after initiation of therapy there is evidence of growth of hair on the affected area.

Check-ups are done every two months but clearly visible results are expected after at least 6-8 months.