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Snook

Update with improvement - At what point does hair loss require a vet visit?

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Snook   

I swear I've never known Justice to have as many issues as he seems to be developing in the past year. The bugger is getting old on me. I've posted this question on my FB page but I thought I'd post it here for advice too, since there's such a wealth of knowledge amongst you all. I'll also preface this by saying that I know I could just go straight to the vet but it's not urgent and I don't want to put Justice through a consultation if I don't have to. He loves his vet and cuddles with her but he's terrified once the examination starts, ever since he had to go in every second day to have the site of a mast cell tumour removal syringed because the drain wasn't working. Just in case it's relevant, he has another mast cell tumour I'm not having removed. Anyway, on with the issue.. 

 

Even for an old man, Justice's shedding seems like a lot to me but then I've never had a senior dog before. The amount in this picture was from about one minute of massaging along his back with the fingertips of one hand. I've put it next to a standard measuring tape to try and provide some scale. He leaves hair all over clothes whenever he brushes up against or sits on people and I don't even want to talk about what my car or the couch covers I'm constantly washing look like. A lot of the time when I've had him in my lap for a cuddle and pats I not only have hair like what's in the picture to throw in the bin but also have hair on my face and up my nose.

 

I know he never used to be like this when he was younger but I don't know how to tell whether it's just old age or whether he needs to see a vet? He had blood tests done a few months ago before he had surgery to remove a tooth and everything they tested for was within normal range but I don't know if he maybe needs to have his thyroid or something else hormonal tested?

 

2019-02-24_08-20-27

 

Edited by Snook

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RuralPug   

I wouldn't put him through a vet visit just because he is shedding a bit, unless his coat is getting so thin and brittle that his back and flanks are like belly skin. And he looked fine to me in the picture you posted the other day.

Can you think back to this time last year were you having the same problems? Many dogs "blow" their coat once or twice a year. Yes this can certainly happen with short coated dogs  too  although I do admit your hair sample above does look mostly topcoat without much undercoat in there.

And yes, some seniors can start to shed more heavily as they age, others do not. It can be tricky as increased hair loss can be a symptom of of quite a few different conditions but is rarely the only symptom in those cases.

The seniors I've had that did thin out in coat when they aged I suspect might have been having an old age thing of not being able to process some diet components as easily as they did when they were younger and I tended to increase the sardine portion of their diet to compensate.  If,  after 6 - 8 weeks of extra sardines their coat does not show a distinct improvement then I started thinking about when was their last seniors blood work up  and to book them in with the vet.

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Snook   

He doesn't have any bald patches and still has loads of hair, which is pretty amazing given how much he loses every day. 

 

He was like this all through winter as well, although does seem to be worse the last couple of months with all the heatwaves we're having. I'm. Not super clear on how to tell the difference just by looking at hair but it does seem to be top coat coming off, as it's coming out even just lightly running a hand over him or when he brushes up against you. 

 

Justice was switched from half of his meals coming from a mix of meaty bones/sardines, yoghurt, eggs and half kibble about 7 weeks ago to fully raw with the Big Dog Wellbeing BARF Patties, his sardine intake was increased to at least 4 times a week from roughly twice a week, and meaty bone intake reduced from 5 days a week to 2 to 3.i haven't seen any improvement in his coat in that time but his poos have improved significantly and adding a probiotic a couple of weeks ago has settled down gas issues. Which now makes me wonder.. since the gas issues started roughly a year ago too, whether they could be connected as part of not processing food as well in his old age? 

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Dogsfevr   

Its been a tough summer on dogs coats that amount of hair looks normal but as already mentioned looking at coat quality & potential issues is the key .
His health issues could certainly be playing havoc with his system .
My showdogs are shedding like crazy,they normally do it in mid December but dumping it now,talk at the show on the weekend was the crazy weather and how its really affecting coats this year

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Snook   
22 minutes ago, sandgrubber said:

My 14.5 year old Lab will fill a dustpan with the hair from a 15 minute rub :)

Oh.. lol. Well that makes me feel a bit better about the amount of hair Justice is losing. 

 

5 minutes ago, Dogsfevr said:

Its been a tough summer on dogs coats that amount of hair looks normal but as already mentioned looking at coat quality & potential issues is the key .
His health issues could certainly be playing havoc with his system .
My showdogs are shedding like crazy,they normally do it in mid December but dumping it now,talk at the show on the weekend was the crazy weather and how its really affecting coats this year

I suspect it being worse over the past couple of months could be heat related, as this summer has been ridiculously hot and we're at the beginning of another long heatwave, but he's bad all year round now. His coat used to be super soft and shiny when he was younger and I constantly got comments about how it was like petting a silky cat. It's quite dull and dry now (is getting worse but started a few years ago, probably somewhere in the months before the first mast cell tumour was found but no idea if they're connected) and hasn't improved, no matter how much I add in the way of eggs and fish, and I was giving him sardines in oil for a while for extra oils but went back to ones in water as part of managing his weight. He gets bathed once every four weeks when he's having his nails done by the groomer, although this has been going on for years and years and didn't use to present any noticeable issues in terms of stripping oils from his coat. Maybe I should reduce the frequency of the baths to just when he's been rolling in dirt (or revolting fish guts at the beach), since he's pretty clean most of the time as a primarily indoor dog?

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Panto   
7 hours ago, Snook said:

He doesn't have any bald patches and still has loads of hair, which is pretty amazing given how much he loses every day. 

 

He was like this all through winter as well, although does seem to be worse the last couple of months with all the heatwaves we're having. I'm. Not super clear on how to tell the difference just by looking at hair but it does seem to be top coat coming off, as it's coming out even just lightly running a hand over him or when he brushes up against you. 

 

Justice was switched from half of his meals coming from a mix of meaty bones/sardines, yoghurt, eggs and half kibble about 7 weeks ago to fully raw with the Big Dog Wellbeing BARF Patties, his sardine intake was increased to at least 4 times a week from roughly twice a week, and meaty bone intake reduced from 5 days a week to 2 to 3.i haven't seen any improvement in his coat in that time but his poos have improved significantly and adding a probiotic a couple of weeks ago has settled down gas issues. Which now makes me wonder.. since the gas issues started roughly a year ago too, whether they could be connected as part of not processing food as well in his old age? 

I think this in combination with the extra hot summer seems to be reasonable. 

When I change my own diet, it's over a couple of months I start to see changes. I view this as his body adjusting to the production of good (better?) body oils, follicle health / hair growth, and the old hair and follicles making way for the good/new ones, so the old ones need to make way. Have you changed anything in his grooming routine, ie the sort of brush you use, frequency of brushing etc? 

 

eta: just saw your comment RE the groomer. I don't feel my comment holds much value given that and the timeline - if it did more frequent brushing to help with the follicle stimulation is what would make sense. How are his paws, are they drier than usual? 

Edited by Panto
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Snook   
1 hour ago, Panto said:

I think this in combination with the extra hot summer seems to be reasonable. 

When I change my own diet, it's over a couple of months I start to see changes. I view this as his body adjusting to the production of good (better?) body oils, follicle health / hair growth, and the old hair and follicles making way for the good/new ones, so the old ones need to make way. Have you changed anything in his grooming routine, ie the sort of brush you use, frequency of brushing etc? 

 

eta: just saw your comment RE the groomer. I don't feel my comment holds much value given that and the timeline - if it did more frequent brushing to help with the follicle stimulation is what would make sense. How are his paws, are they drier than usual? 

That could make sense. I hadn't thought about it as making room for new, healthier growth. I must admit that I'm terrible and don't brush him between grooming appointments. I haven't noticed any changes to his oaws but I just gave them a rub and they feel normal and not too dry. Would dry paws be indicative of bigger health issues going on? 

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Panto   
1 hour ago, Snook said:

That could make sense. I hadn't thought about it as making room for new, healthier growth. I must admit that I'm terrible and don't brush him between grooming appointments. I haven't noticed any changes to his oaws but I just gave them a rub and they feel normal and not too dry. Would dry paws be indicative of bigger health issues going on? 

I don't think so necessarily but if it was a dry skin issue leading to hair loss I theorised that the paws would be quite dry too. 

I love the photo of the big feller in your new profile pic. 

 

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Snook   

Yes, that would make sense. 

 

Awww.. Thanks. It was taken on a recent walk. :)

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Malamum   

Nothing to panic about now but significant hair loss is one of the symptoms of Cushings disease (Indy got this when he was about 11).  Again, I wouldn’t jump straight to that conclusion but just something to be aware of if you think the hair loss is getting worse or if he starts to develop balding patches.   It’s just something I would keep an eye on, given his age. 

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Snook   
2 hours ago, Malamum said:

Nothing to panic about now but significant hair loss is one of the symptoms of Cushings disease (Indy got this when he was about 11).  Again, I wouldn’t jump straight to that conclusion but just something to be aware of if you think the hair loss is getting worse or if he starts to develop balding patches.   It’s just something I would keep an eye on, given his age. 

Thank you. I'll keep that in mind and continue monitoring his hair loss. 

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Snook   

I thought I'd post an update as I changed Justice's food three weeks ago and it seems to have had an impact on his hair loss. About 7 weeks before I first started this thread, I'd put him on to Big Dog Wellbeing BARF Patties, which he was doing great on, but it didn't have any impact on his hair loss. He'd been on that ever since but 3 weeks ago I decided to swap it for the Big Dog Sensitive Skin BARF Patties, to see if it helped with dry patches of skin that were flaking off of his lower back any time he was given back scratches. It seems to have cleared that up almost completely and the amount of hair he's shedding has reduced significantly. I realise the latter is probably also connected to the change to cooler weather, although he was still shedding quite a lot through last winter, so I'm more inclined to put most of it down to the food. Anyway, I thought I'd share in case it's helpful to anyone else whose dog has dry, flaky skin or is shedding excessively. 

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