Alopecia and dermatosis are skin and hair disorders related to an imbalance of reproductive hormones. More specifically, alopecia is characterized by a loss of hair leading to baldness, and dermatosis is characterized by a diseased condition of the skin. There are a lot of reasons for why a dog would have these types of reactions, but if all indications point to an imbalance in hormones related to reproductive functioning, your veterinarian will try supplemental therapy to either lower or raise hormone levels to a normal amount. Identification of hormone related alopecia and/or dermatosis is assured when the conditions spontaneously resolve after the use of reproductive hormone therapy.
Symptoms and Types
Affected animals are categorized, and treated, according to the measurable amount of reproductive hormones being produced in the body:
Estrogen-responsive - ovarian imbalance II in females - rare
Too much estrogen - ovarian imbalance I in females - rare
Too much estrogen – in intact male dogs with testicular tumors
Too much androgen (male reproductive hormone) - associated with testicular tumors in intact, non-neutered males
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, including a background history of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have preceded this condition. Your veterinarian will then perform a thorough physical exam on your dog, including a biochemical profile, a complete blood count, a urinalysis, and an electrolyte panel. Serum sex hormone tests will often return as normal in affected dogs. A skin biopsycan illustrate abnormal sex hormone receptors in the skin.
X-ray, ultrasonography, and laparoscopy (using a small camera to examine the interior of the abdomen) imaging can be used for detection of ovarian abnormalities, testicular disorders and cancer.
An adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH) stimulation test, and an adrenal reproductive hormone test may be performed to measure the functional capability of the adrenal gland, and to be sure that it is specifically producing reproductive hormones. And a Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) response test can demonstrate the response of the cells in the testes and ovaries to gonadotropinhormones. Specifically, the hormones that produce testosterone, primarily.
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