Approach to alopecia in the dog

Dipl. ECVD
Duration : 25 min

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Alopecia is defined as the loss of hair in areas of the body where normal hair would be expected. Alopecia can represent a mere cosmetic problem with no risk to the patient, however, it can also occur as a consequence of an internal disease with potentially serious implications. As such, a methodical approach and an accurate diagnosis are prerequisites for the correct management of alopecia cases.

The first step in approaching alopecia is to assess whether the hair loss is primary and not associated with inflammation, or whether, on the contrary, it is due to self-trauma (broken hairs, erosions) or skin inflammation.

The clinical examination should, therefore, initially aim to identify signs of follicular inflammation and infection that must be differentiated from clinical alterations associated with non-inflammatory alopecic diseases. Erythema, papules, pustules, lichenification, self-trauma recognized by broken hairs, excoriations, erosions and ulcerations are suggestive of an inflammatory process associated with pruritus.

In the case of non-inflammatory alopecia, a mere cosmetic problem, with no risk to the patient, may be present, or the alopecia may be the manifestation of a systemic disease. In this case, there can be potentially serious consequences for the patient if the condition is not correctly identified and corrected.

With this class we intend to provide the appropriate tools for a correct identification of the clinical signs associated with the different types of alopecia, as well as for its correct diagnosis.