Since a dog’s hair coat serves as protection against the elements of nature, severe hair loss can increase your dog’s exposure and susceptibility to the harmful effects of extreme weather changes. Furthermore, alopecia may also just be the tip of the iceberg, signaling a more serious health condition.
Aside from the absence of hair, the skin of the affected areas also manifests abnormal signs such as reddening and dry scales.
When you bring your pug to your veterinarian for examination and diagnosis, be prepared to be asked specific questions including—the duration of the alopecia, the severity of the hair loss, occurrence of hair re-growth, presence of itching, and medications that have been used to treat the condition and whether there was any alleviation.
After getting a complete history, a thorough physical examination will be performed with special attention to the area where alopecia is evident. Your vet will take note of the pattern, the appearance of the affected area, and whether the hair easily comes out or not. In order to eliminate the possibility of fleas and other ectoparasites, a flea comb may be run through the dog’s body.
Aside from physical examination, there are specific diagnostic tests which can be used to establish the cause of the hair loss. These tests include —
Skin scrapings: Microscopic examination of skin scrapings may reveal the presence of mange mites and other parasites that colonize the skin.
Skin Biopsy: A microscopic examination of the skin which is conducted by a pathologist in an effort to establish the type of alopecia present.
Trichogram: A microscopic examination of the fallen hairs to know if the hair has simply fallen out or has been pulled out based on the hair structures which are still intact or absent.
Fungal Culture: This test is done to establish the presence of ringworm.
The treatment is aimed at the underlying cause of the alopecia.
In order to prevent and or alleviate the existing condition, regular grooming is very important in order to keep the dog free from fleas. In periods of extreme environmental temperatures, dogs with widespread alopecia may need to wear a sweater during winter as a form of protection against the cold weather. During summer, the dog should stay indoors or applied with sunscreen to prevent from sunburn.