Follicular Dysplasia in Dogs
Definition of Follicular Dysplasia
Follicular dysplasia, also called canine recurrent flank alopecia, cyclic flank alopecia, color dilution alopecia, blue Doberman syndrome and black hair follicular dysplasia, is a general term for a non-inflammatory condition that involves abnormal development of hair follicles, which are the depressions in the skin that contain the roots from which hair grows. All forms of canine follicular dysplasia are considered to be hereditary; there are no other reported causes for this disorder. The effects of follicular dysplasia primarily involve hair loss and poor coat condition, which usually don’t seem to bother affected dogs. They are mainly cosmetic concerns for owners, unless the dog develops skin infections, irritation or sunburns from prolonged exposure to the elements. In most cases, dogs with this follicular dysplasia are born with a normal coat that gradually thins over time, especially on the underbelly and ear flaps.
There is evidence that canine follicular dysplasia – including symmetrical pattern alopecia (symmetrical hair loss), black hair follicular dysplasia, canine recurrent flank alopecia, alopecia X, and color dilution alopecia, among others - has a significant hereditary component, especially in certain breeds. Canine follicular dysplasia is a term that encompasses a number of hair-loss-related disorders. Color dilution alopecia (CDA) is genetically seen in certain breeds with dilute coat colors, such as blue Great Danes, Yorkshire Terriers,
Dogs with follicular dysplasia typically do not suffer any adverse effects from their condition. The only time that they may be itchy or distressed is if their hair loss is significant and they develop secondary infections, sunburn or other irritation of their skin.There are two general forms of canine follicular dysplasia: that which affects the ventrum of the dog (its belly area) and that which affects its ears (pinnae). In most cases, dogs are born
The diagnosis of follicular dysplasia is made primarily based upon the breed, the dog’s history and the veterinarian’s physical examination of the animal. External parasite infestation, such as that caused by the mites that cause demodectic mange, among others, must be ruled out as a cause of hair loss. Hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’s Disease), as well as other endocrine disorders, must also be ruled out as a cause of a dog’s hair loss. Of course,
The treatment for canine follicular dysplasia, in whatever form it presents, is largely supportive and involves medical management rather than a “cure”. The goals of treatment are to restore hair growth if possible and to prevent secondary bacterial infections in or around the hair follicles. Some reports suggest that administration of melatonin may stimulate hair regrowth and/or shorten the duration of hair loss, although most of these reports are anecdotal and not supported by definitive