Siberian huskies are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. However, hair loss among this energetic breed is a common occurrence. Huskies typically experience hair loss for a few reasons. Fortunately, most huskies recover from these conditions with treatment.
Hair loss typically occurs for a reason, so a veterinarian should examine a husky that is experiencing this symptom. There are certain conditions that can cause hair loss in all breeds of dogs, including the husky, and there are also conditions that cause hair loss that are primarily seen in huskies. A veterinarian should perform diagnostic testing to identify the source of the hair loss in the dog and will devise a treatment plan based on the findings.
Types of hair loss include spots of hair missing throughout the husky's body or large patches of baldness. Dr. B. Sweeney of Pet Place states that zinc responsive dermatosis will cause hair loss and crusting around the husky's eyes, mouth, ears and genital areas. Along with hair loss, the remaining hair's texture and colour can change.
According to the Siberian Husky Health Foundation, many huskies experience hair loss because of zinc responsive dermatosis. This condition typically occurs when the husky eats an inadequate diet or its intestines are unable to absorb zinc. Follicular dysplasia is another cause of hair loss among huskies. Follicular dysplasia typically causes the husky to lose hair on its trunk and can leave the remaining hair crimped and red-tinged. Other issues that can cause hair loss in all breeds of dogs include mange, allergies, hormonal problems and fungus.
Skin biopsies are often used to determine the cause of hair loss in huskies. Biopsies can identify if the hair loss is indeed caused by zinc responsive dermatosis or follicular dysplasia. The doctor may perform skin scrapings to check for mites that cause mange or may run a culture to look for fungus. If hypothyroidism is suspected as a reason for hair loss, the doctor will likely perform blood tests.
Treatment for hair loss depends on the cause. Huskies with zinc responsive dermatitis usually respond well to zinc supplementation and easily-digestible diets that contain high-quality meats. Follicular dysplasia is typically treated with fatty acid supplements and shampoos; however, the hair loss and coat changes are often permanent. Mange is treated with insecticides, while allergies are often remedied with antihistamines. Huskies with hypothyroidism are given medication to regulate the amount of hormone the thyroid gland produces, while fungus is typically treated with lotions and oral medications that kill the organism.