Canine Recurrent Flank Alopecia

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  • #62939
    *Nat*
    Member

    Ok as most of you know Piper suffers with bald/thinning patches on her sides, found this –

    http://www.dermvet.com/caninesfalopecia.htm

    I’m now 99% sure that this is what Piper has as it is bad this time of year! She has no other symptoms of disease and here are some pictures of her at the moment –

    [img width=468 height=352]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p99/Dobeymad/piperssides002.jpg[/img]
    [img width=468 height=352]http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p99/Dobeymad/piperssides001.jpg[/img]

    Ok, so I’ve looked up Melatonin – this is what I found –

    Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating the body’s biological clock. Most commonly used to regulate sleep, the antioxidant properties in Melatonin also help prevent illnesses commonly related to ageing, such as heart disease and cataracts.

    Anyone know how to give this to dogs, how much and when etc  ??? Anyone know of the best place to buy it  ???

    #85770
    *Nat*
    Member

    Found this too and the Dobermann is mentioned as one of the breeds who are recognised to suffer with it.

    Seasonal flank alopecia Seasonal flank alopecia (Canine Recurrent Flank Alopecia – CRFA) is a cyclical or episodic follicular disease that occurs when daylight begins to shorten (fall of the year) with progression through the winter. A typical history describes the development of patchy alopecia and hyper-pigmentation on the lateral thorax and flanks that can be unilateral or bilateral. Lesions may ultimately involve the entire lateral thorax, abdomen and rump regions. Margins of the affected areas are “geographic” in appearance with sharply demarcated borders. Spontaneous regrowth of hair may occur as the hours of daylight lengthen (spring). With each season the pattern of hair loss returns, may be more prolonged than the last and the dog may fail to completely regrow hair before the next episode. Seasonal flank alopecia has been reported in numerous breeds but is recognized most frequently in Boxers, English Bulldogs, Airedales, Schnauzers, Doberman Pinschers and Bouvier des Flanders. Although age of onset is typically between 3-5 years, the condition can occur at any age. There is no sex predilection.

    Causes and pathogenesisThe cause of CRFA is unknown. The seasonal and reoccurring pattern along with response to melatonin supplementation suggest that photoperiod and melatonin play a role. This theory is supported by the fact that in Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia and New Zealand, where seasons are the reverse of that in the Northern Hemisphere, the onset of CRFA occurs the reverse of what is seen in the Northern Hemisphere but corresponds to seasonal changes in light: dark periods.

    Melatonin, a hormone synthesized in the pineal gland, is involved in neuroendocrine control of photoperiod-dependent molting and hair growth in many mammals, but the mechanism by which this occurs is not clear. There is a synergistic effect of prolactin, another photo dependent hormone, and melatonin. Regulation of seasonal shedding is thought to be one important effect of these hormones at the level of the hair follicle. Melatonin secretion occurs as an inverse function of day length and is produced primarily at night. When days are longer (spring/summer), melatonin concentrations go down and prolactin goes up initiating the spring molt with growth of a summer coat. As days get shorter the opposite occurs initiating growth of a winter coat. In dogs with seasonal flank alopecia this cycle is believed to be disordered.

    Diagnosis and treatmentHistory, breed, clinical signs and elimination of endocrine causes of symmetrical alopecia (hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism) place CRFA high on the differential diagnoses list. Skin biopsies show an atrophic and dysplastic follicular pattern with follicular hyperkeratosis that takes on the appearance of “witches feet”.

    Treatment options are limited. Response to melatonin supplementation orally or via subcutaneous implants seems to be beneficial, although the cyclical nature of the disease can make it difficult to prove. Controlled studies have not been done to provide the necessary support for this treatment. The dose is empirical (6-12 mg 8-12h PO) and response variable. Melatonin is unlikely to affect a cure but may reduce the severity of lesions that develop or at least reduce the course of the clinical cycle. Since melatonin has been shown to regulate reproductive events in some animals, it should not be used in breeding animals.

    Light therapy (regulating the amount of artificial light) has been reported to be helpful in some dogs. The dog is exposed to 15-16 hours of “daylight” via a 100-200 watt incandescent bulb. Light therapy that starts in September and continues through the spring may prevent the condition. Of course benign neglect (no treatment) is also a viable option in these otherwise healthy dogs.

    #85771
    *Nat*
    Member

    Right just had a conversation with the lady who did Pipers heart scan and her blood test results are back – the preliminary results were fine but they re-did the Thryroid one as it came back a low normal! Apparently the level should be between 7 and 14 and Pipers is 6.8 so I’ve been advised to get her a thyroid panel done in a months time, all the info is being sent to my vet. Apparently if she is confirmed as having Hypothyroid then she’ll have to go on tablets but I’ve been warned this is overdiagnosed so need to be careful, don’t want her going on tablets if not necessary!!  :-\ So one of the side effects of thyroid problems is hair loss  :-\  Although Piper isn’t showing any other signs of low thyroid i.e weight gain and lethargy!

    Will keep you posted  ::)

    #85772
    Justine&Rafe
    Member

    Really sorry – Nat did I post something on here??  I wrote a big long thing re photoperiod and melatonin (as it is something I have studied in my degree) and I thought I posted it… and it isn’t here… Weeeeeiiirrrd…

    Just a point re light (that I’d put in my other post which is lost in the ether clearly!) normal daylight is an intensity of 50000 lux.  Ordinary indoor light averages between a puny 100-1000 lux.

    Light boxes (of the type used to treat SAD) are usually in the range of 10000 lux, which it seems has the ability to reverse low photoperiod effects in humans, and so, one would assume in dogs. 

    Point being, light therapy would need to be with a high intensity bulb, just leaving your dog indoors with the light on until late at night would not provide enough light intensity to have an effect on the melatonin levels, and hence, coat loss.

    #85773
    *Nat*
    Member

    Thanks for that  🙂 Am going to get the thyroid test done again in a month or so and see what the results are, if normal I shall maybe look into the melatonin as a supplement.  🙂

    #85774
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Hi Nat
    It’s not always black and white side effects of thyroid problems can be hair loss weight etc.
    Beardies have a predisposition for Hypothyroidism most never have hair loss or put on weight etc.
    Careful breeders always get a thyoid checked before breeding them we send out stuff for testing to Dr Jean Dodds in the states
    Hope she’s OK she does look a bit bald even thought its a dobie thing
    Val

    #85775
    *Nat*
    Member

    Thanks Val  :-* the lady who did her heart scan said the vets usually send the blood off to somewhere in the states for testing!

    What would you do Val – would you get the test done again in a month or so then if all is ok try the Melatonin?  :-\

    #85776
    Sweetypye
    Member

    melatonin is not easily available in the UK you would have to order it via the net, I would check with your vet first……………

    #85777
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The lady will be sending them to Jean Dodds she is worlds best and very very helpful
    If she was mine I would wait for the retest Melatonin sales are illegal in many countries,  the sale of it is prohibited in Germany.
    My Molly (rescue beardie) had thyroid problems it’s only a little pill as small as the birth pill (last time I saw one) and they were not expensive
    Val

    #85778
    Anonymous
    Guest

    PS I read somewhere haven’t a clue where that it’s an offence to send it in the mail in the State
    Val

    #85779
    *Nat*
    Member

    Ok thanks, will get the retest done  🙂

    #85780

    interesting her coat looks exactly the same as a springer i do, suddenly for no reason his coat started thinning – in symetrical patches, like Pipers she had extensive tests including thyroid and vet said all clear everything diagnosed symetrical alopecia and his hair did grow back……….

    And not sure if Val knows more but no dog ive seen with thyroid/suspected thyroiad had hair loss like that  ???

    #85781
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I have never seen a beardie with a thyroid lose hair like that, other dogs I have seen looking dull and depressed and they have been tested and came back with a thyroid problem, it affects different dogs in different ways.
    Beacon Health in America do a lot of work on this and other problems because it’s immune related very common in some poodle and the PWD it can be found in a dog pedigree or mongrel but as usual it’s left to the breeders to do something about it so Beacon Health carry the biggest database on the study they also work with Jean Dodd
    Val
    Val

    [quote author=SuzAndTheDiva link=topic=13502.msg258206#msg258206 date=1232485934]
    interesting her coat looks exactly the same as a springer i do, suddenly for no reason his coat started thinning – in symetrical patches, like Pipers she had extensive tests including thyroid and vet said all clear everything diagnosed symetrical alopecia and his hair did grow back……….

    And not sure if Val knows more but no dog ive seen with thyroid/suspected thyroiad had hair loss like that  ???
    [/quote]

    #85782

    mmm is what i wondered, any dog ive seen with thyroid has been yep dul or if clipped sometimes doesnt grow back right……

    #85783
    *Nat*
    Member

    She’s not got any other side effects but then the result was a low normal so maybe not enough to affect her – she’s far from dull  ::) ;D

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