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Q&A: Why Is My Dog Losing Hair in Patches?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

The sudden appearance of bald patches on your dog can be caused by several different issues. Learn what they are and how to deal with them.

The sudden appearance of bald patches on your dog can be caused by several different issues. Learn what they are and how to deal with them.

What Are These Bald Patches on My Dog?

"My 11-month-old dog has bald patches that look like razor cuts and other red marks on his belly. What can I do?" —Penny

Hot Spots, Fleas, Mites, or Ringworm?

From your photos, your dog's bald patches could be due to several different issues. Here is a brief description of each, including which are treatable at home and which require veterinary care.

  • Hot Spots: One of the photos you sent looked moist, like "hot spots," which are easy to take care of. This is the best way to treat them at home.
  • Fleas: The photos of your dog's belly show what look like insect bites, which may be the cause of the hot spot on her shoulder area (if it is a hot spot). Do you use flea control? Have you found any black flaky material around her tail or underarms? (This is dried blood that the fleas pass after eating, and sometimes it is the only thing we see instead of the fleas.)
  • Mites: If you are sure it is not fleas, it looks like it might be mites. Mites are microscopic and can only be diagnosed by your veterinarian.
  • Ringworm: If it is not moist, it is possibly ringworm, an infection that can spread to your family. Your dog would need to be seen by your local veterinarian and the skin cultured to show this fungus.

If this is not just fleas and a hot spot, which might be taken care of at home, please take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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