Causes of Canine Follicular Dysplasia
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, Dachshunds, Italian Greyhounds, Greyhounds, Whippets, Chihuahuas and Doberman Pinschers. Recently, so-called “silver Labrador Retrievers” have been diagnosed with color dilution alopecia, as have German Shepherd Dogs. Genetics are also attributed to black hair follicular dysplasia (BHFD), which is seen in some multi-colored breeds, such as the Bassett Hound and Saluki, and also in some solid colored dogs which are primarily black. Pattern alopecia also has a genetic component and is seen primarily in short-haired dogs such as Chihuahuas, Miniature Pinschers, Greyhounds, Whippets, Boston Terriers, Boxers and Dachshunds. Basically, it appears that all forms of follicular dysplasia and/or pattern baldness in domestic dogs are probably genetic in origin. There is no other reported cause for this disorder in dogs.
Preventing Follicular Dysplasia
Because this disorder is largely genetic in origin, there is no realistic way to prevent it, other than removing affected animals from the breeding pool.
The effects of canine follicular dysplasia usually do not bother affected dogs. This is largely a cosmetic condition rather than a medical one, unless secondary infections or sunburn occur as a result of the hair loss.