PET OF THE WEEK: Why Is My Dog Losing Its Hair?

Skin problems are one of the most common things seen at the Department of Agriculture Veterinary Clinic, located in the Sen. Daniel Inouye Industrial Park- Tafuna. It is part of the American Samoan Government and run under the Department of Agriculture, headed by Director Filifaatali Michael U. Fuiava. 

Often people think there is one simple thing that causes dogs to lose their hair and be itchy, but in actuality, there is a multitude of diseases and conditions that affect dog’s skin and hair. The vast majority of these conditions are treatable and curable.

MANGE: Mange is a common term used to describe small microscopic mites that live in the hair follicles. Here in American Samoa we see two kinds of mange mites. 

One is SARCOPTIC mange, which is a contagious mite, spread via contact between dogs. This mite is treated with injections of ivermectin, and can be cured. DEMODECTIC mange is non contagious, and common in adolescent dogs. This mite requires a longer treatment, but is also curable.  

FLEAS, TICKS, and LICE:  These parasites are visible and live by sucking dog’s blood. There are topical and oral treatments available to prevent and treat these bugs. 

Here on island, over the counter flea and tick collars and sprays do not tend to work as well as they used to, because the insects have developed resistance to many common medications. 

ALLERGIC DERMATITIS:  As the weather turns hotter, and plants start blooming, we see many itchy dogs at the vet clinic with allergies. Dogs manifest allergic symptoms by developing itchy skin and ears. When the skin gets red and unhealthy, bacteria and yeast that live normally on the skin have the opportunity to cause infections, and dogs develop bacterial and yeast infections. Allergies in dogs can be frustrating and chronic, but the symptoms are treatable. 

Seen in the photos is Bunny that came to the Vet Clinic as a puppy and had lost all of her hair. She was found on the side of the road. 

After a couple weeks and some simple treatment, Bunny grew all of her hair back and was adopted by her foster family. Bunny had sarcoptic mange, and was treated with 2 injections, two weeks apart. 

If your dog is itchy and losing its hair, WE CAN HELP! 

Determining what kind of treatment your dog needs requires a visit to the vet clinic. We are available from Monday through Friday, from 7:30 AM to 4 pm. An examination costs $20. Some medications may require additional charges.

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