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HELP - My Boxer's losing his hair!

frogprincess
May 22nd, 2008, 12:05 AM
Hello everyone....I'm new to this forum and this is my first post. I am the proud parent of two 2 year old male boxers who are litter mates...Alex and Sam. In 1996 we rescued our first Boxer, Leo (he was apparently a Mastiff/Boxer as he had a huge chest, stood about 35" tall and weighed in at a very muscular 90 lbs), from the humane shelter and were privileged to share our lives with him until his death from old age in 2007.
We bought Alex and Sam from a local breeder and they are from a really good bloodline, their parents are great dogs and they have brought us great joy and helped to fill the void left after the death of our big boy Leo. We've never had any health problems until recently when Sam started having thinning hair on his left flank and then losing the hair in that spot. This happened literally, overnight. We took him to our vet and his first reaction was thyroid. Took blood...normal range is 6.1 and Sam's was 2.1. Have had him on 0.8 mg Thyro-Tabs twice/daily since April 11th. Our vet said to give it at least six weeks to see any improvement. Okay...six weeks have passed and no improvement and seems to be losing in more spots. No scales, scabs or scratching, so don't think it's mits. Leo had a bad case of scabies (brought home by my husband from his travels believe it or not) and this isn't at all the same thing. The hair isn't coming out in clumps, just seems to be falling out one hair at a time. And his skin is black underneath. Have read on other forums that it may be seasonal alopecia. Any ideas? Next vet appt is this week and our vet (who's also a friend and loves our boys) welcomes any research I do. Would really appreciate any insight. Oh....Sam hasn't gained or lost weight....isn't drinking water (not Cushing's don't think).....hasn't changed his dog food (been on same since birth...great stuff that we buy at vet's office only).....no changes in anything. Thanks for taking the time to read this epistle. Sorry it's so long. Won't make it a habit. FrogPrincess

clm
May 22nd, 2008, 05:51 AM
The continued hair loss and black skin underneath still sounds like thyroid to me, but your vet will certainly be able to tell you if you need to increase his medication.

Our fist dog had thyroid issues and the skin problems that go with it. He lost his belly fur and his skin was black where he lost the fur. No hair loss anywhere else, but the belly fur never did come back, but being on his belly it wasn't noticable anyway.
He would develop hot spots on different areas and had dryish skin and weight issues because of the thyroid problems as well.

Cindy

t.pettet
May 22nd, 2008, 07:37 PM
My pom was diagnosed with thyroid deficiency and her coat thinned out but her skin didn't discolor.

Dr Lee
May 22nd, 2008, 08:10 PM
Sam started having thinning hair on his left flank and then losing the hair in that spot. This happened literally, overnight. ... Took blood...normal range is 6.1 and Sam's was 2.1. Have had him on 0.8 mg Thyro-Tabs twice/daily since April 11th. No scales, scabs or scratching, so don't think it's mites..... Have read on other forums that it may be seasonal alopecia. Any ideas? Oh....Sam hasn't gained or lost weight....isn't drinking water (not Cushing's don't think).....hasn't changed his dog food (been on same since birth...great stuff that we buy at vet's office only).....no changes in anything.

A few questions on the thyroid test.
What thyroid test was performed? Was it a standard total T4 (TT4)? Most laboratories have this as a normal range as 2.0-4.0 ug/dl (our lab is 1.0-4.0). Also this acceptable for a screening test but for diagnosis when this test is low, it is generally preferred to follow with a free T4 by ED (Equilibrium Dialysis) whose referrence range is 8 - 40 PMOL/ML and sometimes with a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). The standard T4 total can show false positives - anything as simple as not feeling 100%, any other disease, stress, etc.. can falsely lower this test making it look like hypothyroidism. This is called a sick euthyroid result. Thus a T4ED and often a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test are also performed at the same time as a method to distinguish sick euthyroidism from true hypothyroidism. Were these done? If the these other tests were done, then hypothyroidism should be considered to be present. If not, then I would be concerned that a 2.1 on a T4 total is borderline and may not necessarily establish a diagnosis. Also once we place a patient on thyroid supplementation, we are going to suppress any existing thyroid gland tissue. This will alter normal function for months after stopping medication. It is also unusual, but not unheard of, to have a two year old dog with hypothyroidism. Also there is a typical pattern of hair loss with hypothyroidism which is very symmetric.

Mites.
Actually demodecosis would be one of the concerns that I would have based upon your story. The demodex mite is a mite that is normally in dog skin (some humans too). In some dogs their immune system becomes hypersensitive to the mite and hair loss occurs. With this mite, there is typically little to no itching and no associated scabs, etc... It is also not from a contagious source, as most dogs have it from birth. While this usually occurs younger, there are dogs which can get this at 2 years of age. Also underyling diseases (usually in adult onset, dogs older than 6) can trigger this disease; diseases such as hypothyroidism. This is tested by a simple skin scrape - takes about ten minutes.

Seasonal alopecia.
This disease is usually associated with a large amount of itching but still a possibility I suppose. Also this is usually associated with itching and hair loss on both sides of the patient.

Cushings disease.
Due to the age and history, this seems very unlikely. A simple blood test can tell if this is suspected or not. Usually the values we are looking for are run with a basic panel which may have been included with the thyroid test. Also because this is an endocrine disease, like hypothyroidism, the hair loss is usually symmetric.

Additional ideas.
Some other possiblities for acute areas of hair loss: ringworm (dermatophytosis), topical irritation, topical allergen, bacterial infection, metabolic or endocrine disorders, heavy stress, primary dermatopathy, etc...

I hope that helps. Do you have any pictures? Can you post a copy of the blood test? Take care. :pawprint:

gaerwen
May 23rd, 2008, 02:51 PM
Our boxer has allergies, it could be a developed allergy to grass, his food-even thought he has been on it for a while--
Id get all the other stuff checked, then work on allergens. Boxers are prone to allergies I understand. Try something grain free for him. Good luck!

mastifflover
May 23rd, 2008, 03:00 PM
I was going to also suggest a grain free diet. His thyroid medicine may need to be adjusted also. We need pics of your cuties

KAINE
October 21st, 2009, 01:34 PM
Hi... Im very worried about my boy... he has 2 spots where his hair has fallen out and the skin is dry... its look like all you need to do it put cream on it and the dry skin should go away... not sure what is causing him to lose his hair and give him dry spots... i havn't changed his food or treats... he hasn't been in a different place... he loved being outside and running around... he hasn't gained or lost any weight... he still eats like he always has and drink also... he doesn't seem to both the dry spots... any ideas on what it may be?... im taking him to the vet tomorrow and just woundering if anyone could get me any pointers before i do... the lady at the vet office said they may need to do a skin graph... and it could be a bug or a reaction to something... if anyone could give me some advice that would be great!!!

thank you so much for taking the time to read my worries...

bendyfoot
October 21st, 2009, 01:39 PM
Is it just small, roundish spots? Is he itchy at all?

A few things come to mind..demodex mange or ringworm. Both buggies can cause patches of hair loss. By "skin graph" they probably meant "scraping", which is basically when they scrape of bit of the upper layer of skin to get a sample that they can look at under the microscope (mange would show up this way) or culture on a plate (ringworm, which is actually a fungus, would show up that way). My youngest dog had demodex, it didn't bother her at all, and was easily treated with medication (although you have to treat for several months usually to completely clear it up).

It could also be allergies (food or environment, but usually there are other signs of irritation/itchiness, etc):2cents:

cclayton
February 19th, 2011, 08:58 PM
My 2 year old Boxer developed fist sized spots on both sides of his hips where his hair was thinning and the skin was black. This stayed this way for a few months. Then, within a week it spread all over his back. He now has a lot of hair loss and black areas. The vet did a test for hyperthyroidism & it was borderline. He also thought it could possibly be seasonal alopecia. If I am able to post a photo I will. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=1179588445&aid=98129#!/photo.php?fbid=1800407128171&set=a.1724758477002.98129.1179588445&theater

Broozer's mama
March 13th, 2012, 07:22 AM
I am new to this forum too.. I searched the Internet to find out if other Boxers were losing their hair. My big baby Broozer started losing his hair a few months back. It started around his ears but he is now losing it down his back and even on his shoulders. The vet checked his thyroid level too and it was fine. It seems to be getting worse. He is so pretty that I hate for him to lose his hair. I changed his food thinking that might help, but nothing yet.

MaxaLisa
March 19th, 2012, 04:19 AM
cclayton, If the thyroid is borderline, the dog should be treated since there are symptoms.

Broozer's M., get a copy of the thyroid results and look and see what was tested.

A thyroid test should include free T4, free T3, and very important to include TgAA also. Interpreting results can also be tricky.

Plymbox
May 1st, 2012, 05:06 AM
Hi,I came to this forum looking for answers to the above problem.I have a 3yr old female pedigree boxer dog that we have had since she was a baby.:lovestruck:
In December last year the hair on RHS (right hand side) began thinning,shortly after it became a bald patch.The skin under where the hair had been has become black.We took her to the vets and she had a thyroid test which has shown that she has an under-active thyroid for which she is on Thyroxyl tablets 0.5mg twice a day.After a month the hair was not showing any sign of returning so the vet added a kelp seaweed tablet suppliment to help with coat problems.:dog:
Recently she has had skin scrapings done to check for bacteria & fungal infections to see if that could be why the hair has not returned.Both were negative.She is now also on another suppliment called Complederm which is a greasy looking liquid that goes on her food.Due to her allergies she is now back on her allergy medication too.She also has a vet prescribed diet for a sensitive tummy.:dog:
The skin specialist now thinks that the hair loss may be season flank alopecia but it may also be due to the thyoid problem.Thank god I took out pet insurance.We return to the vets wednesday 2nd may.
Let me know how you all get on.Good luck to all:dog::dog::pawprint:

MaxaLisa
May 1st, 2012, 09:33 PM
Hi,I came to this forum looking for answers to the above problem.I have a 3yr old female pedigree boxer dog that we have had since she was a baby.:lovestruck:
In December last year the hair on RHS (right hand side) began thinning,shortly after it became a bald patch.The skin under where the hair had been has become black.We took her to the vets and she had a thyroid test which has shown that she has an under-active thyroid for which she is on Thyroxyl tablets 0.5mg twice a day.After a month the hair was not showing any sign of returning so the vet added a kelp seaweed tablet suppliment to help with coat problems.:dog:
Recently she has had skin scrapings done to check for bacteria & fungal infections to see if that could be why the hair has not returned.Both were negative.She is now also on another suppliment called Complederm which is a greasy looking liquid that goes on her food.Due to her allergies she is now back on her allergy medication too.She also has a vet prescribed diet for a sensitive tummy.:dog:
The skin specialist now thinks that the hair loss may be season flank alopecia but it may also be due to the thyoid problem.Thank god I took out pet insurance.We return to the vets wednesday 2nd may.
Let me know how you all get on.Good luck to all:dog::dog::pawprint:

That dose of thyroid is about right for a 45-50 pound dog, is that about the weight of your boxer?

If the thyroid is low from autoimmune thyroiditis, too much kelp can boost the thyroid and cause a greater autoimmune response. I think a little bit is a good thing, but I would be careful of a lot.

I might look into Alopecia X, which is treated with melatonin and fresh ground flaxseeds. Your skin doc should know more. Good luck!

Plymbox
May 14th, 2012, 08:37 AM
On my last visit to the skin specialist last week I brought up the subject of Melatonin therapy for dogs with hair loss.She said that she has not used it.I did however come away with another bag of potions.We now have a medicated shampoo & a fragrant oatmeal spray (Derm Allay) to help moisturise her skin & condition her coat which she doesn't like as it smells like antibac hand-wash.I had previously been applying a hypoallergenic moisturiser to the bald patches which had started to become less black.:dog:When it is very sunny I use a childs factor 50 sun cream so that the skin doesn't get burnt as she likes to sunbathe.I am hoping that if the skin is not as dark & dry then the hair may return easier.:confused:My dog weighs 32K (70.5lbs/5st)she is still on the kelp tablets,pirriton for allergies,steroid tablet for allergic sores,antibiotics for the same,thyroid tablets & suppliments in her food.:eek:I now carry an extra bag just for the potions & pills for her.Thankfully she likes taking her tablets as I wrap them in small pieces of ham.I tried other methods but she would always end up spitting the tablets out.
Does anyone have a boxer dog that has been treated with melatonin as I would like to be able to try again with the skin specialist with some possitive reports?I am getting desperate as I would like her coat to be recovered by the summer.

MaxaLisa
May 16th, 2012, 04:05 AM
It is very possible that your dog's thyroid is being slightly undertreated. I would have a free T4 test done, no sooner than 6 hours post-pill, and the value should be in the very upper level of the range, might even be slightly elevated. If this is not the case, then the thyroid is being undertreated.

I've only seen one dog treated with melatonin therapy, it was a small dog, and it was years ago.