As soon as you see your dog losing hair, you must take action. That’s because alopecia itself may not be the sole problem. Sometimes, alopecia might be a symptom of a serious condition.
Diagnosing your dog’s alopecia is important for two reasons. One, it’s important to stop the hair loss. Two, is vital for the health of your pet.
Our article will highlight two things. One, how veterinarians diagnose alopecia. Two, how veterinarians identify the underlying conditions related to it. To summarize, you will have a better idea of what to expect at a vet visit.
Entrust Your Dog to the Veterinarian
Many of alopecia’s symptoms are fairly obvious. The bald spots, the irritated patches of skin, and the textural changes in your dog’s coat are pretty hard to miss.
The point is that you may be able to tell quickly that your pet has alopecia. Does that mean that a consultation with the veterinarian is no longer necessary? That is far from the case.
Even if you can recognize the symptoms of alopecia immediately, you are still not equipped to manage it, let alone treat it. Your pet needs the kind of expertise that only a veterinarian can provide.
Searching for Fleas
Now that you and your dog are at the veterinary clinic, the diagnostic process can begin. The goal of your veterinarian will be to first identify the root cause of the alopecia. As part of that process, the veterinarian may start searching for fleas.
In a previous article, we noted that a type of alopecia known as pyoderma is the result of your dog licking, scratching, or biting an area too much. Your dog may be doing that because they have fleas.
The veterinarian will seek those fleas out and work out a plan to remove them.
Depending on your pet’s symptoms, the veterinarian may decide that searching for fleas is not enough. They may need to take a closer look at your pet.
To do that, they may test your dog’s hair follicles. Those hair follicles can offer valuable insight into your pet’s condition.
Blood tests may also be performed to figure out why your dog has alopecia. Since this involves using a needle, your dog may have to be sedated before the sample can be taken.
According to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the results of a blood test searching for allergens may be available after two to three weeks.
One other test that a veterinarian can perform to understand the cause of your dog’s alopecia is a skin test. Typically, this type of test involves scraping your dog’s skin and checking the samples closely for parasites.
In search of an explanation for your dog’s case of alopecia, the veterinarian may perform a biopsy. A biopsy involves taking a small amount of tissue from your dog’s body. Biopsies aren’t painful so you don’t have to worry about your dog.
A Combination of Tests
Lastly, the veterinarian may decide that conducting different tests is the best way to identify and confirm the reason behind your dog’s alopecia. They have to do that in certain cases to get as much information as possible.
The different tests may vary in terms of how much information they provide. That’s why running multiple tests is helpful in some cases.
Do not hesitate to bring your dog to the veterinarian if they develop alopecia. If their alopecia is caused by an underlying condition, an early diagnosis can stop that issue from getting any worse.
We at TAILored Pet Services can watch over your other furry friends as you take your dog to the veterinarian. Contact us at 425-923-7791 or visit our website if you want to make use of our services.