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Old December 3rd, 2008, 09:29 AM
carole_t carole_t is offline
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Alopecia X (black skin)

Alopecia X (black skin)?? I have 3 dogs of the Nordic breed.. I want to know what the connection is between spay/neuter and Alopecia X..I have female dogs and 2 out of 3 times I've had one of these dogs spay.. I end up up with Alopecia X .. It's always the same sequence of events,it starts about 1 1/2 years after a spay..Their hair got like wool,their skin got black spots like they had bruises.. I shave the dog down and their hair never grows back.. I've spent plenty of money having one of the dogs tested so I know for sure thats what they have.. whats the connection between the spay and the adrenal gland.I choose not to medicate them because its strictly a cosmetic condition..
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 09:44 AM
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Are you sure the shaving isn't part of the problem with the coats? It's my understanding that shaving a double-coated dog like a husky is just asking for permanent coat issues, including poor re-growth...

I've never heard of spaying causing this...is it a heritable condition, could it have come from the line?
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Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
Gracie - Mutterooski X - scary smart (9)
Jaida - GSD - tripod trainwreck and gentle soul (4)
Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 09:54 AM
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Interesting, just did some googling: (from http://marvistavet.com/html/body_alopecia_x.html)

It says here that spaying can actually be a "cure" for allopecia X in some cases. For spayed dogs, it might be treatable using melatonin (a supplement, not a medication) or hormone therapy...
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This condition was named “Alopecia X” in order to reflect the lack of knowledge surrounding this condition and its causes. Given that there are numerous therapies that work for some cases and not for others and that many of these therapies seem to be in complete opposition, it may be that Alopecia X is not one disease but several and we simply do not know how to distinguish them.

Alopecia X has goes by many names:

Black Skin Disease

Growth Hormone Responsive Alopecia

Castration responsive Alopecia

The Cold Funk

Follicular Dysplasia of the Siberian Husky

Post-clipping Alopecia

Adrenal Sex Hormone Alopecia
The term “Alopecia” is simply the medical word for hair loss. The many other terms surrounding this hormonal condition simply reflect the bits and pieces of knowledge we have regarding this condition and its many potential therapies. This web page attempts to create an update of what is currently believed about this confusing condition.

THE TYPICAL PATIENT

The typical Alopecia X patient is a spitz or Nordic breed such as a Chow Chow, Pomeranian, Alaskan Malamute, Elkhound, or similar. Poodles have also been over-represented. Hair loss begins in early adulthood, usually by age 3 years. First the long primary hairs go leaving a fuzzy puppy-like coat but eventually that goes, too. The bald skin pigments, is not itchy, and usually does not get infected.

Part of the problem is that all hormone-based hair losses can look exactly live this so some testing is needed to determine which of several conditions is present. Expect your veterinarian to begin with:

A blood panel

A urinalysis

Some kind of thyroid testing

Some kind of adrenal hormone testing

A skin biopsy
The purpose of this rather broad testing is to rule out diseases that look like Alopecia X but for which well-defined treatment protocols exist. This means that two conditions must absolutely be ruled out before proceeding the trial and error process of Alopecia X treatment:

CUSHINGS DISEASE

HYPOTHYROIDISM
STEP TWO: STERILIZATION

Alopecia X seems to be a sex hormone imbalance in at least some cases and did not earn the name “castration responsive alopecia” for nothing. For this reason, the first step in treatment is to sterilize the patient; unspayed females should be spayed, intact males should be neutered. There are health benefits to sterilization regardless of whether or not there is a hair loss issue and many animals will grow their hair back (though possibly not permanently) so this is where we start rather than investing in complex and confusing diagnostics.

STEP TWO FOR ANIMALS ALREADY STERILIZED

What if the pet is already neutered or if several months have gone by after one has followed the above recommendation and no hair has regrown? The next simple therapy to try is oral melatonin.

Melatonin can be obtained in 3mg tablets at most health food stores or vitamin retail outlets. Approximately 50% of dogs will show some response within 6-8 weeks. One gives the medication for at least two or three months before giving up but if hair regrowth occurs, one continues the medication until hair growth seems to have plateaued. After maximal hair regrowth has been achieved, the dose is gradually tapered down to a weekly dose over several months. Some dogs can ultimately discontinue medication though one should know that if one discontinues the medication and the hair falls out again the condition may not be melatonin responsive a second time.

Melatonin has been used as a sleep aide. Some owners find the sedating side effect to be unacceptable.

Since melatonin is a nutritional supplement, rather than a prescription medication, the FDA does not insist on the same quality control it does for drugs. There may be tremendous differences in the amount of melatonin contained in pills between brands.
If neither sterilization nor melatonin has been fruitful and we know the dog does not have Cushing’s disease or Hypothyroidism, then one should realize that the therapies left to still try have potential harmful side effects. One should consider this:

ALOPECIA X IS A COSMETIC CONDITION.

IT MAY MAKE THE DOG LOOK FUNNY,
BUT IT DOES NOT CAUSE HARM.

One will need to weigh the potential side effects of therapy against the appearance of the pet. That said, there are other therapies that can be attempted.

THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE HORMONE PROFILE

One option in the pursuit effective Alopecia X therapy is the Adrenal Sex Hormone panel available at the University of Tennessee. This test is done by drawing a baseline blood panel, administering a pituitary hormone called ACTH, and drawing a second blood sample an hour later to compare. Samples are shipped to Tennessee for evaluation for numerous adrenal sex hormones. The results show not only what hormones respond abnormally but the university will make suggestions as to which therapy might be likely to work. Testing is not inexpensive and results can take several weeks to obtain but may help in selecting what therapy makes sense to try next.

METHYLTESTOSTERONE THERAPY

If melatonin is a failure, methyltestosterone supplementation is the next step. One has presumably done a baseline blood panel when ruling out Cushing’s disease and Hypothyroidism and on testosterone supplementation, chemistry should periodically be monitored as this hormone can be toxic to the liver. The medication is typically given once a day and can lead to an increase in aggressive behavior.

ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE: LYSODREN

Lysodren (also called “mitotane” or “OP’ddd”) is normally used in the treatment of Cushing’s disease which is an excess production of cortisone-type hormones by the adrenal gland. Lysodren acts by eroding the outer layers of the adrenal gland to control cortisone produced by these layers. If the adrenal gland is over-eroded, problems with electrolyte imbalance can occur and potentially these problems can be permanent (though they are treatable). Lysodren helps with Alopecia X because the adrenal gland also produces sex hormones and lysodren is able to stop the production of these hormones by eroding the part of the adrenal gland that produces them.

It is important to realize that dogs with Alopecia X do not have Cushing’s disease and thus do not have an excess of cortisone. Treating these dogs with lysodren can lead to a cortisone deficiency or, more seriously, the adrenal steroid deficiency called Addison’s Disease. Signs of lysodren reaction include: listlessness, vomiting, and diarrhea. One should expect periodic blood testing to monitor the cortisone levels being maintained by the patient on lysodren.

GROWTH HORMONE

There was a time when this condition was believed to represent a deficiency of growth hormone. Growth hormone is not effective unless given as an injection. It is a genetically engineered product which is often not commercially available but may be obtained through academic sources. Administration can cause diabetes so blood sugars must be monitored. A six week course of therapy may produce results that lasts several years.

There are other drugs that have influence on adrenal hormones and they have been used in the treatment of Alopecia X with mixed results. These other options include: prednisone, anipryl , ketoconazole, leuprolide, and cimetidine. Alopecia X is a frustrating condition and will remain frustrating for years to come. Research is on-going and progress comes gradually.
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Owned by:
Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
Gracie - Mutterooski X - scary smart (9)
Jaida - GSD - tripod trainwreck and gentle soul (4)
Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
__________
Boo, our Matriarch (August 1 1992 - March 29 2011)
Riley and Molly
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 11:11 AM
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clm clm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carole_t View Post
Alopecia X (black skin)?? I have 3 dogs of the Nordic breed.. I want to know what the connection is between spay/neuter and Alopecia X..I have female dogs and 2 out of 3 times I've had one of these dogs spay.. I end up up with Alopecia X .. It's always the same sequence of events,it starts about 1 1/2 years after a spay..Their hair got like wool,their skin got black spots like they had bruises.. I shave the dog down and their hair never grows back.. I've spent plenty of money having one of the dogs tested so I know for sure thats what they have.. whats the connection between the spay and the adrenal gland.I choose not to medicate them because its strictly a cosmetic condition..
I too would be more inclined to think it's linked to the breeding of the dogs and not the spaying. If you got them from a breeder I would be asking them questions about it.
Why are you shaving down your dogs? Double coated arctic breeds should not be shaved.

Cindy
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 01:44 PM
carole_t carole_t is offline
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spay (black skin)

if a spay job can fix it why can't it cause it..it has something to do with the adrenal glands.. I shaved them down because their hair fell out in patches they had poodle puffs of hair all over the place and it just didn't look right .. I didn't shave them down until their hair started falling out
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 02:40 PM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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OK. Interesting stuff. Much googling and slogging through endocriney technical abstracts. This is pretty much the only thing I found that described a link between spays and adrenal function in dogs...

From: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm...date=&pageID=2
This is quite recent (Jan '08)

Adrenal steroid profiles reveal that adrenal tumors in dogs, cats and ferrets have a variety of secretory patterns, with serum cortisol levels often being normal. In ferrets, mice, rats, guinea pigs and hamsters, sex steroid-producing adrenocortical tumors occur following gonadectomy, in association with the significant increase in serum gonadotropin levels that develop.

The elevated luteinizing-hormone (LH) level that occurs following gonadectomy leads to neoplastic transformation and expression of LH hormone receptors on sex steroid-producing adrenocortical cells in ferrets and rodents. In spayed female dogs, plasma gonadotropin levels post-gonadectomy rise to levels 10 times what they were pre-gonadectomy, providing evidence of the strong and continuous LH stimulus that possibly plays a role in adrenocortical tumor development.

ETA: abnormal adrenal activity, as you know, is linked to hair loss.
__________________
Owned by:
Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
Gracie - Mutterooski X - scary smart (9)
Jaida - GSD - tripod trainwreck and gentle soul (4)
Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
__________
Boo, our Matriarch (August 1 1992 - March 29 2011)
Riley and Molly
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