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Is he scratching it out or is it falling out?

Is the hair falling out from infection or demodicosis?

Are the hair follicles no longer cycling?

What conditions are associated with the hair cycle abnormalities?

What is Alopecia X?

How is Alopecia X diagnosed?

How do we treat Alopecia X?

What do we know about the hair cycle in dogs?

Dr. Linda A. Frank
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-4544
Tel: (865) 974-8387 (ET) Email:



How do we treat Alopecia X?

As the name Castration-Responsive Alopecia implies, some dogs will regrow hair following neutering of the male dog or spaying of the female dog. Therefore, this is usually recommended first. You need to give the coat a few months to see if it will regrow before proceeding with other treatments.

Another treatment that works in about 30-40% of dogs is oral melatonin. This can be purchased over-the-counter. This is a very safe treatment; however, it can affect a diabetic dog. Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of having your veterinarian first rule out any other diseases that can affect other systems before assuming your dog has Alopecia X.

Other treatments that have been used include growth hormone, as one of the earlier names implies, and drugs that alter the adrenal glands’ production of cortisol and sex hormones. Some of these treatments have potentially serious side effects and require careful thought before using.

Basically, each of these treatments, in one way or another, start the hair follicle cycle up again, but probably for only one cycle. So, as you can see, there is no “one” treatment that works for all dogs with Alopecia X. In addition, after the hair regrows, many of these dogs will have their hair fall out again. This can occur as early as 1 month after stopping treatment or after 3 to 5 years.

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