Order the Club Magazine

Contact PCOC
Email Address
pcocwebinquiry@pcoc.net

dedicated to promoting and preserving the breed through responsible ownership, breeding and training

Black Skin Disease

 

American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation

three universities had research ongoing at the time this post was made

The AKC CHF will match funds donated to projects that come under its umbrella.

You must specify the type of research, or research project you wish to support with your donation.

 

About A Previously Approved Grant No. 2290: 
Mapping Canine X Chromosome Linked Alopecia: Gary Johnson, DVM, Ph.D., University of Missouri, Columbia


Lay Abstract: Many young Pomeranians develop a luxurious puppy or first hair coat which fails to shed and is not replaced by an adult coat. As the puppy coat ages it breaks off and falls out and can result in a dog that is hairless over much of its body. This disease is sometimes called black skin disease, coat funk or woolly coat. It also occurs in Keeshonden and Alaskan Malamutes. Although females can have the disease, it is much more common in males. This suggests, but does not prove, that the mutation responsible for the disease is on the X chromosome. We propose to determine if a DNA marker from the canine x chromosome associates with the disease. If so, this marker could then be used to distinguish genetically normal puppies from puppies that are likely to develop the disease. This marker could also identify female puppies that will not develop the disease but are likely to pass the disease on to the next generation.

The application was approved for funding in the amount of $18,000 pending support from clubs and/or individuals in the amount of $13,500.

 

Update June 2008 : The AKC-CHF Grant 2290 officially drew to close before 2007. Using the existing technology at that time, Dr. Johnson could come to no conclusions about Alopecia X.  However, there have been recent advancements of technology and further developments of mapping the canine genome.  Dr. Johnson, the AKC-CHF, and the PCT remain open to putting together future continued studies of Alopecia X.

 

Presently, Dr. Leeb at the University of Bern, Switzerland is preparing blood samples to undergo DNA studies commencing in 2009. The leading laboratory with the state of the art technology will be used at the Broad Institute in Massachusetts. This is the same lab that Dr. Elaine Ostrander’s group conducts the NIH canine genome project.   The cost of this study will have to be covered by a combination of sources. These include but are not limited to the AKC-Canine Health Foundation and the

Pomeranian Charitable Trust.

 

Considering the elusive nature of this coat condition, it is wise to encourage as many scientists as possible into studying it. We are not able to predict who will be the one to first make headway into finding any answers. To check what is currently happening with studies relating to Alopecia X and their funding, please refer to the Pomeranian Charitable Trust website referenced below.

 

Your financial donations to the AKC-CHF can be donor designated for Pomeranians. Your financial donations to the PCT will be solely used for Pomeranians but can be further designated for Alopecia X research. PCT funds have the flexibility to be donated through the AKC-CHF to be then matched in amount by them and can be made in combination of other breeds with similar concerns. This is necessary to cover studies costing very large amounts. Or the PCT could opt to spend some of their funds directly on needed incidentals of the researchers which are not covered by the type of grants that CHF make.

 

Many thanks for this update to

Marge Kranzfelder

PCT Trustee, APC Board Advisor (as former President)

 

Marge can be contacted at kranzmar@hotmail.com  or 831-623-9265.  

 

 

Pomeranian Charitable Trust

This is an especially informative site for new Pom people just first hearing about Alopecia X

but also a place for any new information to appear for veteran Pom people.

The PCT supports research taking place under the AKC CHF umbrella.

 

 

A Synopsis of the American Pomeranian Club’s Involvement with the Black Skin Disease in the Pomeranian Breed

When the American Pomeranian Club formed a Health and Genetics Committee several years ago, the committee was given "the alopecia problem" as its primary charge. Not that it is our only concern, but APC felt it was the most troublesome problem peculiar to our breed. We have chosen to officially use "Severe Hair Loss Syndrome" as its nomenclature since we don't know how many similar conditions with various causes there might be and we didn't want it to be confused with conditions other breeds call "black skin disease," such as that found in dachshunds.

 

We had to establish an attitude change among our breeders. Following Dr. Carmen Battaglia's advice, we offered this doctrine: Once a problem is noted generally throughout the breed, it is pointless to look backward to find "a culprit" and finger point. One must go forward and breed out the problem. Have the conviction that whatever humans have bred into a Breed has the capability of being bred out of that Breed.

 

The outpouring of generosity of fund raising at our last two Nationals has indicated we have advanced greatly on this open mindedness. It has been heartening that our Canadian friends have been so generous in financial support offered by the  Portage Legacy Project. The serious breed competition of the Canadians has been matched by their genuine concern for the Breed.

 

The American Kennel Club - Canine Health Foundation put together a grant offer combining several Nordic breeds which seem to display this problem similarly. This combined funding is going to Dr. Gary Johnson at University of Missouri to search for DNA research. Dr. Johnson is a leading DNA researcher who also is a dog fancier himself. He has established DNA breakthroughs in other breeds. He is also conducting research on epilepsy. He is particular suspicious that the Severe Hair Loss Syndrome might be located on the X chromosome.  The Canine Health Foundation matches a percentage of funds donated through the breeds' Parent Clubs. (The American Pomeranian Club is a Parent Club of the AKC.)

 

Finding a DNA marker would enable the breeders to conquer this problem. However, it is not the whole solution. The University of Missouri is the "DNA specialist". We also need answers about morphology and clinical treatment. Recently, APC has heard that Dr. Linda Frank is interested in addressing these concerns at the University of Tennessee .We are attempting to establish a dialogue among these two universities. Since communication does not readily exist among the scientific researchers in general, we are also trying to establish communication with researchers in Great Britain .

 

The APC Board has decided it was time to establish a separate charitable foundation to support all these functions more readily. Until this is complete, we will continue to funnel our financial support through the AKC Canine Health Foundation.

 

How can breeders personally help? The study at the University of Missouri needs Pomeranian blood samples for DNA purposes. Liz Hansen is the project coordinator at the University of Missouri . Since we still have not established whether Pom alopecia has one or more causes, she has also put together a survey which is easy to fill out. Forms and instructions for either the survey or blood samples can be downloaded from their website www.CanineGeneticDiseases.net. They need DNA samples from both affected and unaffected dogs, but related samples of three generations are especially needed.

 

She suggested sending in blood samples the same time that blood is drawn for heart worm testing. Instead of blood, they could also use tissue samples taken at time of any needed surgery such as spay or neutering. One advantage of participating in the study is that they would not charge for DNA testing of that individual once a test is established. The commercial rights to this test is their incentive for the research. But think of it this way, they must be committed to the possibility that they can establish this test. That is positive for our mutual purpose.

 

Liz Hansen can be contacted at HansenL@missouri.edu or by calling 573-884-3712

 

Marge Kranzfelder

APC Health & Genetics Chair

APC Board Member

APC AKC Delegate

 

If I can be of further assistance, I can be contacted at

kranzmar@hollinet.com or 831-623-9265.  


Click here to see what BSD looks like in an otherwise absolutely gorgeous Pomeranian

http://www.mbfonline.com/bsdauction/rocky.htm  


Alopecia X Research Project in Europe
--------------------------------------------------------

There is a new research project on Alopecia X in Europe.
Research is done by Prof. Dr. Tasso Leeb at the Institute of Genetics, University of Berne, Switzerland.

He is looking for the genetic marker for the coat loss problem Alopecia X

(also known as Black Skin Disease in Pomeranians) and has already started

collecting blood samples of affected dogs.
Prof. Dr. Leeb and his team are looking for samples of affected dogs and their close relatives.

Any participation is greatly appreciated.
The study is not restricted to Pomeranians, but will include dogs of any other affected breeds.

Information for participating is on their website:

ENGLISH:
Research project on Alopecia X

>>> Alopecia X has been described in several breeds including Keeshonds,
Pomeranians, Alaskan Malamutes, Chow Chows and Miniature Poodles. Affected
animals suffer from hair loss, which usually starts at the neck and body of
the animal, whereas the head and front legs are typically spared.
Additionally, darkening of the affected skin areas may also be observed.
Symptoms typically show up between 1-5 years of age.
We would like to investigate the genetic causes of Alopecia X. For our
research we need DNA samples from affected dogs as well as their healthy
relatives. If you would like to participate in our research project, please
follow the instructions shown below. <<<

http://www.genetics.unibe.ch/content/rubrik/alopecia_x/index_eng.html


The balance of this page is comprised of several papers on this topic. Most of the articles are by Veterinarians, but there are also articles by others knowledgeable in the Pomeranian breed, or on this topic. If you know of an article that could aid our understanding of this topic, we'd love to hear from you. Thanks to Laurie Kinsman (Pomeranian breeder and member of the PCOC), for agreeing to type the articles that are reproduced here. Just click on any of the titles below to view that article.

 

List of Titles


Growth Hormone-Responsive Alopecia in Dogs

by Clinon D. Lothrop Jr., DVM, PhD; and Lynn P. Schmeltrel, DMV

Canine Growth Hormone-Responsive Dermatitis

by Clinon D. Lothrop Jr., DVM, PhD

Malassezia Pachydermatitis and Associated Dermatitis:

One Cause of Severe Hair Loss

by Charlotte Creed

Pathophysiology of Canine Growth Hormone Responsive Alopecia

by Clinton D. Lothrop, Jr., DVM, PhD

Virkon Germicidal Skin Cleanser proven effective against Malassezia Pachydermatis and Staphylococcus Intermedius

source: www.antecint.co.uk

More on Black Skin Disease

Article/Letters as  printed by the PCOC in the September 1997 Club Newsletter  


Growth Hormone-Responsive Alopecia in Dogs

ABSOLUTE GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY IS NOT PRESENT IN ALL CASES

Reprinted from Veterinary Medicine Report St. Louis Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 81 & 83, Jan.,1990 (Copyright ã 1990, by The C.V. Mosby Company) 

Clinton D. Lothrop Jr., DVM, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Practice, University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Lynn P. Schmeltrel, DMV, Diplomate, ACVD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Department of Urban Studies, University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville, Tennessee

Growth hormone-responsive alopecia of adult dogs is apparently a syndrome of multiple causes.  A true growth hormone deficiency is not present in all dogs with this disease.  Adrenal and gonadal steroid hormones and their biosynthetic precursors contribute to hair loss seen in dogs with this syndrome.  The exact cause(s) of this syndrome are likely to differ in the various breeds affected and must be defined before appropriate and rational treatment modalities can be developed.


Canine GH-responsive alopecia is an acquired alopecia of adult dogs.1-5  Its primary characteristics are a loss of primary hairs with retention of secondary hairs.  This disease is seen most frequently in the Pomeranian, poodle, chow chow, samoyed, keeshonden, and American water spaniel breeds.  The alopecia can occur in dogs of any age but often develops at puberty.  Dogs with this syndrome are not dwarfed in stature, do not have signs of systemic illness , and have normal thyroid and adrenal function tests.  There is no proof of genetic inheritance of this syndrome, but the predisposition of certain breeds suggests hereditary influences.

Siegel6 first described canine GH-responsive alopecia in 1977.  Siegel coined the term pseudo-Cushing’s syndrome to describe this disorder because the alopecia was similar to that seen in dogs that had Cushing’s syndrome.  The alopecia also resembles that seen with pituitary dwarfs, which may account for the initial suspicion of adult-onset GH deficiency in dogs with trunical alopecia but normal thyroid and adrenal function.

GH-responsive alopecia can be diagnosed by measuring serum GH concentrations before and after stimulation with an a-adrenergic agonist (clonidine, xylazine) or GH-releasing factor.1,7 The absence of a significant increase in serum GH concentration suggest GH-responsive alopecia. Treatment is by subcutaneous administration of human, porcine, or bovine GH for 4 to 6 weeks.1,8

Ninety-five dogs with possible adult-onset GH-responsive alopecia that had normal adrenal and thyroid function were evaluated with a GH responsive test (Table 1).  Only 63 of 95 dogs had a decreased GH response (Table 1).1   The 32 dogs with a normal GH response had the typical moderate to severe trunical alopecia and hyperpigmentation, as did the 63 dogs with a decreased GH response.  The normal GH response in some dogs suggests that a GH deficiency is not always associated with this dermatitis.  Furthermore, serum levels of somatomedin C, which is produced in response to GH and should be deceased in dogs with true GH deficiency, were not decreased in dogs with an abnormal GH response.1

Table 1.  GH-Response in 95 Dogs With

Possible GH-Responsive Alopecia

Breed

Normal

Diminished

Poodle (n=14)

2

12

Pomeranian (n=15)

0

15

Chow Chow (n=19)

14

5

Amer. Water Spaniel (n=4)

2

2

Keeshond (n=4)

3

1

Samoyed (n=4)

1

3

Mixed Breed (n=4)

1

3

Other Breeds (n=31)

9

22

TOTAL

32

63

 

Source: Lothrop CD Jr., Compend Cont Ed 1996:  10:1348-1352

 

                               

 

 

 

 

 

Castration has corrected the alopecia in some intact male dogs, even though reproductive hormone levels and testicular histopathologic findings are not abnormal.  Other male dogs (both intact and castrate) have responded, albeit often temporarily, to testosterone replacement.  Thus we conclude that, although dogs may respond to GH supplementation with hair regrowth, an absolute GH deficiency is not present in all dogs with this syndrome.

The Pomeranian breed is reported to have an increased incidence of GH-responsive alopecia.  However, both normal Pomeranians and Pomeranians with GH-responsive alopecia have a decreased GH response to the a-adrenergic agonist xylazine and to GH-releasing factor.9 Since normal and affected Pomeranians have decreased GH levels relative to other breeds of dogs, the role of GH deficiency in affected Pomeranians is not clear.  Furthermore, affected Pomeranians apparently have a non-classic “late-onset” deficiency of the adrenal enzyme 21-hydrozylase.  The partial deficiency of 21-hydroxylase causes an overproduction of steroid presursors such as progesterone, 17-hydorxyprogrestrone, androsternedlone, and dehydrooephandrosterone sulfate.9  Elevated serum adrenal androgens have been associated with male pattern baldness in women.10,11  The elevated adrenal progestins and androgens may contribute to the alopecia seen in affected Pomeranians.  The adrenolytic agent o.p. DDD has to date been used successfully to treat at least two Pomeranians with this syndrome, confirming a role for the adrenal gland in the pathogensis of this syndrome in Pomeranians.

In summary, GH-responsive alopecia is an endocrine alopecia of adult dogs of unknown cause.  Although an absolute GH deficiency may be present in some dogs with this syndrome, it is unlikely to be the primary cause of hair loss in some breeds.  More likely, multiple causes result in a similar clinical syndrome.

References:

  1. Lothrop, CD Jr., Pathophysiology of growth hormone responsive dermatosis. Compend Cont Educ Pract Vet 1988:10:1346-1352.

  2. Eigenmann JE, Patterson DF. Growth hormone deficiency in the mature dog. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1984:20:741
  3. Parker Scott DW. Growth hormone-responsive alopecia in the mature dog: a discussion of 13 cases. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1986:22:467.
  4. Scott DW, Walton DK. Hyposomatotropism in the mature dog: a discussion of 22 cases. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1986:22:67.
  5. Campbell KL. Growth hormone-related disorders in dogs. Compend Cont Educ Pract Vet 1988:10(4):477-482.
  6. Siegel ET. Endocrine diseases of the dog. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1977
  7. Hampshire J. Altszuler N. Clonidine or zylazine as provocative tests for growth hormone secretion in the dog. Am J Vet Res 1981:42:1073
  8. Eigenmann JE. Growth hormone-deficient disorders associated with alopecia in the dog. In: Kirk RW, ed. Current veterinary therapy  IX. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co., 1966:1015.
  9. Schmeltzel LP, Lothrop CD Jr. Evaluation of hormonal abnormalities in normal coated Pomeranians and Pomeranians with growth hormone responsive dermatosis. Proceedings AAVD, 1988:29-30
  10. Nelson D. The acirenal cortex: physiological function and disease. In: Smith LH, ed. Major problems in internal medicine. Vol. XVII. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co., 1980.
  11. Kasick JM, Bergfeid WF, Steck WD, etal. Adrenal androgenic female-pattern alopecia: sex hormones and the balding woman. Cleve Clin Q 1983:50:111-122.

Back to List of Titles

Canine Growth Hormone-Responsive Dermatitis

Clinton D. Lothrop Jr., DVM, PhD, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Canine growth hormone-responsive dermatosis, first described by Siegel in 1977, is a rare endocrine alopecia of mature dogs.  The primary clinical features of this syndrome are bilaterally symmetric alopecia and hyperpigmentation occurring mainly on the trunk, caudal thighs, collar area, pinna, and tail, while sparing the head and legs.  The alopecia is characterized y a retention of the secondary hairs (undercoat) with a loss of primary hairs (guard).  Siegel coined the term pseudo-Cushing’s syndrome to describe this disorder, because the alopecia resembles that in Cushing’s syndrome.  However, dogs with uncomplicated growth hormone-responsive dermatosis have normal hemograms, serum chemistries, urinalyses, and normal results of adrenal and thyroid function tests.  Skin biopsies from dogs with growth hormone-responsive dermatosis are characterized by histopathologic changes consistent with an endocrine dermatosis; orthokeratotic epidermal thinning, follicular ketarosis and telogenization, and subaceous gland atrophy.  Decreased dermal elastin content has been suggested to be a histopatholgic abnormality specific for growth hormone-responsive dermatosis but is routinely seen only in dogs that have clinical signs for at least 2 years.  In addition, a decreased dermal elastin content can rarely be seen in other catabolic endocrine skin disorders, such as diabetes mellitus and hyperadrenocorticism.

Growth hormone-responsive dermatosis occurs predominantly in Pomeranians, chow chow, poodle, water spaniel, keeshond, and Samoyed breeds but can occur in any breed of dog.  The age of onset of growth hormone-responsive dermatosis is most commonly between 1 and 2 years but can occur at any age.  There appears to be an increased incidence in male dogs of certain breeds.  The hallmark of growth hormone-responsive is the correction of integumentary abnormalities with growth hormone replacement.  Growth hormone-responsive dermatosis has been suggested to be due to growth hormone deficiency occurring in the adult dog, but the pathogenesis of this syndrome has yet to be defined.  Necropsy results for two dogs with grown hormone-responsive dermatosis showed moderate atrophy of the pituitary gland in one case.  There is no proof of a genetic inheritance of this syndrome, but the predisposition of certain breeds suggests there may be hereditary influences.

Endocrine alopecia and dwarfism occur with growth hormone deficiency in the immature dog.  Pituitary dwarfism occurs most commonly in the German shepherd and Carnelian Bear Dogs and appears to be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.  This disorder differs from adult-onset growth hormone responsive dermatosis in that partial to complete deficiencies of adrenocorticotropin, thyrotropin, and gonadotropins are found along with the somatotropin deficiency.  Pituitary dwarfs often appear normal until 2 or 3 months of age, at which time failure to grow is noticed.  The hair coat often remains short because of inadequate development of primary hairs.  The typical truncal alopecia and hyperpigmentation develop in dwarf dogs with growth hormone deficiency.  Most dwarf dogs have a colloid-filled pituitary cyst at necropsy, with secondary changes in other endocrine glands.  The alopecia of dwarf dogs will respond to growth hormone supplementation, but longitudinal bone growth and increased stature do not occur owing to closure of the growth plates.  If concurrent hypothyroidism is present, thyroxine replacement is necessary to obtain optimal results.  Although the endocrine alopecia in dwarf dogs and dogs with adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dematosis responds to growth hormone supplementation, the presence of multiple pituitary abnormalities in dwarf dogs and differences in pituitary histopathology in these two syndromes suggests that the pathogenesis of these syndromes may be different. 

DIAGNOSIS OF GROWTH HORMONE DEFICIENCY

The diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency can be confirmed by measurement of serum or plasma growth hormone.  Measurement of a basal growth hormone concentration is inadequate to correctly diagnose growth hormone deficiency, since many normal dogs have a low basal growth hormone concentration.  Therefore, a growth hormone response test should be performed using the alpha-adrenergic agonist clonidine (10mg/kg).  These agents stimulate growth hormone release by inducing production of endogenous growth hormone releasing factor (GRF).  Alternatively, human GRF (1 to 5 mg/kg) can be used to stimulate growth hormone production.  To perform a growth hormone response test, 2 to 4 ml of blood should be collected before at 15, 30, 45, 60 and 120 min after intravenous administration of either clonidine, xylazine, or CGR.  After collection, the blood should be promptly centrifuged and the plasma (EDTA) or serum frozen at -20°C until assayed for growth hormone.  Homologous canine growth hormone radioimmunoassays are used to determine the plasma or serum growth hormone concentration.  The absence of a significant increase in the plasma or serum growth hormone concentration is consistent with the diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency.

Both clonidine and xylazine are potent hypotensive agents and should be used cautiously.  Side effects, at the recommended doses, range from mild drowsiness and bradycardia to complete collapse, and last from 15 to 60 min.  If necessary, atropine can be used to correct the bradycardia and the alpha-adrenergic antagonists phentolamine or yohimbine can be used to antagonize the hypotensive and hyperadrenocorticism effects of clonidine and xylazine.  Hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism should be ruled out with appropriate thyroid and adrenal function tests prior to performing a growth hormone response test in a dog with suspected adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis, since these disorders can potentially induce a reversible growth hormone deficiency.

CLINICAL FINDINGS IN ADULT-ONSET GROWTH HORMONE-RESPONSIVE DERMATAOSIS

A growth hormone response test (using either xylazine or GRF as a provocative stimulus) was eveluated in 95 dogs with suspected adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis.  All animals were in apparent normal health, except for the typical moderate to severe truncal alopecia and hyperpigmentation.  Thyroid and adrenal function test results were determined to be normal in each animal.  A complete or partial lack of a growth hormone response was observed in 63 of the 95 animals (Table 1).  A total of 32 breeds of dogs were represented in the 95 animals suspected of having adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis.  Several breeds of dogs appeared to be predisposed to adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis, including the chow chow, poodle, Pomeranian, water spaniel, keeshond, and Samoyed.

Table 1. Reproductive Status and Growth Hormone Levels in 95 Dogs With Suspected Growth Hormone-Responsive Dermatosis

 

      R e p r o d u c t I v e    S t a t u s **

 

 

 

Breed*

M

MC

F

FS

Normal

Diminished

 

Poodle( n=14)

5

4

1

4

2

12

 

Pomeranian (n = 15)

7

3

1

4

0

15

 

Chow chow (n = 19)

9

4

1

5

14

5

 

Water spaniel (n = 4)

0

0

1

3

2

2

 

Keeshond (n = 4)

1

1

1

1

3

1

 

Samoyed (n = 4)

2

1

0

1

1

3

 

Mixed breed (n = 4)

1

0

1

2

1

3

 

Other breeds (n = 31)

14

3

7

7

9

22

 

Total

39

16

13

27

32

63

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*n = the number of different animals evaluated.

 

 

 

 

** M, male; MC, male castrated; F, female; FS, female spayed  

These results suggest a decreased risk in intact female dogs and an increased incidence in male dogs of the poodle, chow chow, Pomeranian, and Samoyed breeds.  The finding of normal growth hormone response test results in 32 of 95 animals with suspected adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis suggests that a true growth hormone deficiency may not be present in some dogs with this syndrome of clinical alopecia.  This is particularly true in the chow chow and keeshond breeds.  Although these dogs usually respond to growth hormone supplementation, other causes of the alopecia must be considered.

 TREATMENT

Treatment of adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis is by subcutaneous growth hormone administration.  Human, porcine, and bovine growth hormone are effective in treatment.  Ovine growth hormone was not effective in treating dogs, one of which subsequently responded to bovine growth hormone.  Growth hormone should be administered at a dose of 0.1 U/kg three times per week for 4 to 6weeks.

Alternatively, dogs can be treated with 2 to 5 U(<14 kg body weight) or 5.0 units (>14 kg body weight) growth hormone administered every other day for 10 treatments.  Hair growth should be seen within 4 to 5 weeks after completion of therapy with either treatment protocol.

 Growth hormone is diabetogenic in all species, and dogs treated with exogenous growth hormone can potentially develop transient or permanent diabetes mellitus.  A fasting blood glucose level should be determined prior to and at weekly intervals during growth hormone supplementation.  Growth hormone therapy should be stopped if persistent hyperglycemia develops, or else permanent diabetes mellitus may occur.  Remission of clinical signs following growth hormone therapy is variable and ranges from 6 months to more than 3 years.

Growth hormone-responsive dermatosis is an endocrine alopecia of adult dogs of undefined etiology.  Although most dogs respond to growth hormone replacement, it is unlikely that a true growth hormone deficiency exists in all dogs diagnosed as having adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis.  Therefore, new treatment modalities will likely be developed as the etiologies of this syndrome are defined.

References and Supplemental Reading

Eigenmann, J. E.: Diagnosis and treatment of dwarfism in a German shepherd dog            

J. Am. Animal Hosp. Assoc. 17:796, 1961

 

Eigenmann, J. E.: Growth Hormone and insulin=like growth factor 1 in the dog: Clinical and Experimental investigations.  Domest Anim. Endocrinol 2:1, 1963

 

Eigenmann, J. E.:  Growth hormone-dificient disorders associated with alopeica in the dog    In Kirk, R.W. (ed.) Current Verterinary Therapy IX, Philadelphia, W. B. Saunders Co.,     1966, p. 1015

Back to List of Titles

Malassezia Pachydermatitis and Associated Dermatitis:

One Cause of Severe Hair Loss

by Charlotte Creed

Malassezia yeasts are associated with inflammation of the ear canal, areas of the skin that can rub together (i.e. neck, groin, arm pit), and generalized seborrheic dermatitis  in dogs.

 Dr. Warren Jourbet, my veterinarian, has been working with what they call the “black skin” in show Persian cats.  The conditions are similar to the ones we label as Severe Hair Loss Syndrome.  He has consulted with Dr. Karen Morriello, a board certified dermatologist associated with several veterinary medical schools.  Dr. Jourbert related that although Malassezia was mentioned in veterinarian school, it has been just recently recognized as a cause of severe hair loss and therefore been frequently overlooked during diagnosis.  Dr. Jourbert contacted the veterinary school to find out how to culture this particular yeast.

 I had taken two seven-year old dogs to him for hair loss.  They had not had any previous hair problems.  I also had a male and a female that seemed to be in early stages of this problem.  Their symptoms appeared similar to cats Dr. Jourbert was studying and treating.  They were diagnosed with the yeast infection Malassezia. 

Unless you look closely and frequently at your animal’s skin through the coat, it is easy to miss the beginning stages.  Usually hair loss first gets your attention.  Some symptoms include itching (the dogs may scratch or rub their backs or lie down and roll in the grass excessively).  There may be a yellow, oily,  dander material on the skin.  There may be a small reddish bump, ring worm like spot, small crusty, dark brown area, or black spots or area.  Where these sign occur, the hair is damaged and eventually lost.  It usually appears first under the arm pit, neck, chest, back legs, buttocks (areas where dampness is likely to occur) and then progresses over the entire dog.  As in other sources of major hair loss, further darkening of the exposed skin results. 

The following is the recommended treatment that Dr. Jourbert found successful for both dogs and cats.  Consult your Vet before using these as proper diagnosis is always appropriate.  Be alert for any possible allergic reactions. 

Treatment 

Administer 1/3 capsule of 100 mg Sporonox daily for 2 weeks.  Continue this dosage twice per week if needed.  Do not breed any animal presently under treatment.

 Bathe all dogs, those affected and unaffected 2 or 3 times weekly in a sulfur or anti-fungal shampoo suggested below.  Make sure all the skin appears clean.  Rinse them thoroughly.

 After the bath, use one of the dips listed below.  Allow the dip to dry on the coat, but it is very important to be sure the dog is thoroughly dried.  Yeast or fungus thrive in a damp (highly humid) environment.

Because of the seriousness of this condition and treatment, it is important to return to your Vet in two weeks for a progress check. 

Shampoo 

·         SULF-OXYDEX SHAMPOO

Antibacterial-Benzoyle Peroxide 2.5%

Micronized Sulfur      Pharmaceutical

·         HEXADENE SHAMPOO

Anti-fungal-Chorhexidin Gluconate 2%

Allerderm

·        CHOLORHEXIDINE GLUCONATE

2% Anti-fungal

Allerderm 

·         MALACETIC SHAMPOO

Acetic Acid 2% - Boric Acid 2%

Dermapet 

I feel that Malacetic is the most effective as it was recently formulated specifically for the treatment of this yeast.  My next preference is Nisoral.

 Dips 

·         CHLOROX - 6-8 oz per gallon of water

·         CHLORHEXIDERM – Scrub 3-4 oz per gallon of water

·         RESICHLOR – conditioner – anti-fungal (Excellent results) 

Related Staph Infection 

Once the skin is broken down by this yeast infection, a staph infection is likely to develop.  I had to treat every dog in my kennel twice daily for three weeks for staph.  There were different stages of the yeast and staph on all my dogs.  It is contagious, however, it appears that different dogs’ immune systems reacted differently.  Other factors that affect the severity include age, other non-related illness, estrus cycles, males’ reaction to females in season, and humidity of weather. 

Treatment (recommended by Dr. Jourbert) for Staph:

Cephalexin 250 mg – 1 cc / 5 pounds twice daily for 3 weeks

Another suggestion for immune system support by Marge Kranzfelder was a dietary change.  I changed to Nutro’s Optichoice with a supplement of raw meat.  IF YOU CHOOSE TO USE RAW MEAT, RATHER THAN COOKED, BE AWARE OF THE RISK OF ECOLI AND THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS THEREOF. 

Yeast Infection By Charlotte Creed

Added to the procedure: 

·         Thoroughly saturate the entire dog with Goop (hand cleaner).  Use Goop only – NO SUBSTITUTES

·         Then wash the Goop off with Dawn dish detergent Soap (mixed 1/3 soap to 2/3 water.  I use the antibacterial form.  Probably any of the detergents would work.

·         Follow this up with a bath with one of the above soaps, dips or Resichlor.

·         Also, I am disinfecting my grooming utensils between each dog.

Amazingly, within a couple of weeks, normal hair was growing on both dogs at the same rate and in another one in the early stages.  Dr. Jourbert believes getting the skin clean is a must.  Goop helps accomplish this.

I took the dogs to Dr. Jourbert and what he saw amazed him.  He said “This is normal, healthy hair just as if you had clipped them down and it is growing back, not at all like you see with true elephant skin.” 

Hair is coming in – almost overnight—it is healthy in appearance, feel, and color.  I really believe that we have identified ONE of the causes—and it is treatable.

I will have these dogs at the show in Dallas and would like for anyone interested to see them and discuss the issue.  Again, we must talk and share information.  Research and education with an open mind is the answer. 

Dr. Warren Jourbert         (318) 448-0219 

Back to List of Titles

Virkon Germicidal Skin Cleaser proven effective against Malassezia Pachydermatis and Staphylococcus Intermedius

Independent efficacy tests have show Virkon Germicidal Skin Cleanser to be effective against Staphylococcus intermedius – the causal organism of many bacterial skin diseases in dogs, and Malassezia pachydermatis– implicated in a variety of canine fungal diseases.

 Mark Blackwell MA VetMB MRCVS, Animal Health director, Marketing and International Sales of Virkon’s manufacturer Antec International, says that tests using the AOAC Protocol have demonstrated efficacy against the Staph. intermedius organism at a dilution rate of 1:200.  Tests using the European Suspension Test Method have demonstrated efficacy against Malassezia at 1:100. 

“These results build on the already wide range of organisms against which Virkon Germicidal Skin Cleanser is effective” he ads.  “These include Pseudomonas spp, Proteus spp, Trichophyton spp and Microsporum spp.”  The latter two are the causative organisms of “Ringworm”.

 Staph. intermedius is a frequent cause of canine pyoderma and seborrhoea, while Malassezia pachydermatis, a yeast-like fungus, is commonly implicated in canine ear inflammations, where it occurs in mixed infections, not only with Staph. spp, but also Streptococci  and yeasts.  It can also inhabit skin folds and penetrate hair follicles, causing hair loss and intense itching.

 Mr. Blackwell says that Virkon Germicidal Skin Cleanser, which is non-irritant and has a low toxicity, can pay a valuable role in the management of canine pyoderma, seborrhoea, and problems caused by M pachydermatis when used as a topical adjunct to therapy.   It removes cellular debris and degreases the skin, and also reduces or eliminates surface bacteria and fungi on and around lesions.  He adds that in cases of recurrent pyoderma, Virkon Germicidal Skin Cleanser can also be used between outbreaks to reduce surface bacterial and fungal contamination and decrease the likelihood of a relapse.

 For more information, visit their website www.antecint.co.uk

Back to List of Titles

Pathophysiology of Canine Growth Hormone Responsive Alopecia

Clinton D. Lothrop, Jr., DVM, PhD, Department of Environmental Practice,  College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 


The 37th Annual Gaines Symposium

Problems in Small Animal Endocrinology 

Sponsored by Quaker, maker of Gaines, Ken-L Ration, Cycle and Puss ‘N Boots


KEY FACTS:

  • Growth hormone-responsive dermatosis occur primarily in chow chows, Pomeranians, samoyeds, keeshonden, and poodles.
  • A true growth hormone deficiency is not  present in all dogs with this clinical   disorder.
  • Treatment may include testosterone administration, castration, or growth hormone administration.


Bilateral symmetrical alopecia is a characteristic of canine endocrine dermatosis.  Canine endocrine dermatosis include hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, reproductive hormone imbalances and grown hormone-responsive dermatosis.1  Hyperadrenocorticism, hypothyroidism, and growth hormone-responsive dermatosis have known breed predilections, however, because all of these endocrinopathies can produce a bilaterally symmetrical alopecia, hormone function testing is often required to determine the cause of the alopecia.

Canine growth hormone-responsive alopecia, first described by Siegel in 1977, is a rare endocrine alopecia of mature dogs.2  The primary clinical features of this syndrome are bilaterally symmetrical alopecia and hyperpigmentation occurring mainly on the trunk, caudal thighs, collar area, pinnae, and tail while sparing the head and legs.3-6  The alopecia is characterized by a retention of the secondary hairs (undercoat) with a loss of primary (guard) hairs. Siegel coined the term pseudo-Cushing’s syndrome to describe this disorder because the alopecia resembles that of Cushing’s syndrome; however, dogs with uncomplicated growth hormone-responsive alopecias have normal hemograms, serum chemistries and urinalyses and normal adrenal and thyroid function tests.  Skin biopsy specimens from dogs with growth hormone-responsive alopecia are characterized by histopathologic changes consistent with an endocrine dermatosis, such as orthokeratotic hyperkeratosis, epidermal melanosis, dermal and epidermal thinning, follicular keratosis and telogenization, and sebecious gland atrophy.  Decreased amounts of elastin in the skin have been suggested to be a histopathologic abnormality specific for growth hormone-responsive alopecia but are not seen in all cases.  In addition, a decreased elastin content in the skin can be seen in dogs with other endocrine disorders that cause catabolism of the skin (e.g. diabetes mellitus and hyperadrenocorticism).

Growth hormone-responsive alopecia occurs predominantly in Pomeranians, chow chows, poodles, American water spaniels, keeshonden and Samoyeds but can occur in dogs of any breed .  The age of onset of growth hormone-responsive alopecia is most commonly between one and two years of age, but the disorder can occur at any age.  The incidence is apparently higher in male dogs of certain breeds.  The pathognomonic sign of growth hormone-responsive alopecia is the correction of integumentary abnormalities with growth hormone administration.  Growth hormone-responsive alopecia has been attributed to growth hormone deficiency in adult dogs, but the pathogenesis of this syndrome has not been determined.  Necropsy of two dogs with growth hormone-responsive alopecia demonstrated moderate atrophy of the hypophysis in one dog and no hypophyseal abnormalities in the second.5  There is no proof of a genetic inheritance of this syndrome, but the breed predisposition suggests hereditary influences.

Diagnosis of Grow Hormone Deficiency

Measurement of a basal concentration of growth hormone is inadequate for diagnosis of growth hormone deficiency because many normal dogs have a low basal growth hormone concentration.  Therefore, a growth hormone response test should be performed using the a-adrenergic agonist clonidine hydrochloride (10mg/kg) or in structural analog xylazine hydrochloride (100 to 300 mg/kg).7 These agents stimulate release of growth hormone by inducing production of endogenous growth hormone-releasing factor.  As an alternative, human growth hormone-releasing factor (1 to 5 mg/kg) can be used to stimulate production of growth hormone.8  To perform a growth hormone response test, 2 to 4 ml of blood should be collected before and 15, 30, 45, 60 and 120 minutes after intravenous administration of clonidine hydrochloride, xylazine hydorchloride or growth hormone-releasing factor  The blood should be centrifuged promptlyand the plasma or serum kept frozen at -20°C until it is assayed for growth hormone.  Homologous canine growth hormone radioimmuoassays are used to determine the concentration of growth hormone in plasma or serum.  The absence of a significant increase in the growth hormone concentration is the plasma or serum after prevocative stimulation is consistent with the diagnonis of growth hormone deficiency.

Clonidine hydrochloride and xylazine hydrochloride are potent hypotensive agents and should be used cautiously.  At the recommended doses, side effects range from mild drowsiness and bradycardia to complete collapse and last from 15 to 60 minutes.  If necessary, atropine can be used to correct the bradycardia, and the a-adrenergic antigonists phentolamine or yohimbine can be used to antagonize the hypertensive effects of clonidine hydrochlorize and xylazine hydrochloride.  Hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism should be ruled out with appropriate thyroid and adrenal function tests before a growth hormone response test is performed in a dog with possible adult-onset growth hormone-responsive alopecia because the disorders sometime induce a reversible hormone deficiency.9,10 

Breed Predisposition in Adult-Onset Growth Hormone-Responsive Alopecia

A growth hormone response test (using either xylazine hydrochloride or growth hormone-releasing factor as a provocative stimulus) was evaluated in 95 dogs with possible adult-onset growth hormone-responsive dermatosis. All animals were apparently in normal health except for the typical moderate to severe alopecia on the torso and hyperpigmentation of the affected skin.  Thyroid and adrenal function tests were normal for each animal.  A complete or partial lack of a growth hormone response was observed in 63 of the 95 animals.  A total of 32 breeds of dogs were represented in the 95 animals with possible adult-onset growth hormone-responsive alopecia.  As in previous studies, several breeds of dogs (including chow chows, poodles, Pomeranians, American water spaniels, keeshonden and Samoyeds) seemed to be predisposed to adult-onset growth hormone-responsive alopecia (Table I).

The finding of normal growth hormone response tests in 32 of 95 animals with possible adult-onset growth hormone-responsive alopecias suggests that a true growth hormone deficiency may not be present in some dogs with this syndrome (particularly in chow chows and keeshonden) even though dogs with a normal growth hormone response test respond to growth hormone supplementation.  Somatomedine C or insulinlike growth factor 1 (SMC/IGF=1), a bepatic insulinlike peptide produced in response to growth hormone, was normal in chow chows, Pomeranians, and poodles wit growth hormone-responsive alopecia (Table II).  The lower somatomedin C concentration in Pomeranians and poodles is probably attributable to the small size of these breeds rather than to a growth hormone deficiency.  Therefore, other causes of alopecia should be considered in these dogs.

TABLE I

Growth Hormone Response in 95 Dogs with

Possible Growth Hormone-Responsive Alopecia 

Breed

Normal

Diminished

 

 

 

Poodle (n = 14)

2

12

Pomeranian (n = 15)

0

15

Chow chow (n = 19)

14

5

American water spaniel (n = 4)

2

2

Keeshond (n = 4)

3

1

Samoyed (n = 4)

1

3

Mixed breed (n = 4)

1

3

Other breeds (n = 31)

9

22

 

 

 

Total

32

63

 

 

 

Table II

Somatomedia C Concentration 

in Dogs With Growth Hormone-Responsive Alopecia  

Breed

 

Somatomedin C*

(mU/ml)

 

 

 

Chow chow (n = 8)

 

1075.5 ± 442.5

Pomeranian (n = 5)

 

 245.8 ± 131.5

Poodle (n = 3)

 

384.6 ± 211.7

Normal Dogs (n = 8)

 

779.7 ± 193.7

  * Data are summarized as mean ± standard deviation and were determined as described.  The normal values are for mixed-breed dogs (10 to 25 kg).  

Treatment

Treatment of adult-onset growth hormone-responsive alopecia is by subcutaneous  administration of growth hormone.  Human, porcine, and bovine growth hormone are effective in treatment.  In one study, none of the seven dogs that received ovine growth hormone responded:  one of these dogs subsequently responded to bovine growth hormone. Growth hormone should be administered subcutaneously at a dosage of  0.1 IU/kg three times per week for four to six weeks.10   Dogs also can be treated with 2 to 5 IU (dogs with less than 14 kg of body weight) or 5 IU (dogs with more than 14 kg of body weight) of growth hormone administered every other day for 10 treatments.13 Hair growth should be seen within four to six weeks after completion of therapy with either treatment protocol.

Growth hormone is diabetogenic in all species, and dogs treated with exogenous growth hormone can develop transient or permanent diabetes mellitus.  A fasting blood glucose should be determined before and weekly during growth hormone supplementation.  Growth hormone therapy should be stopped if persistent hyperglycemia develops, otherwise permanent diabetes mellitus may occur.  Remission of clinical signs after growth hormone therapy varies and ranges from six months to more than three years.

Bilateral symmetrical alopecia in some intact male dogs has improved after castration.  The dog in Figure 1C developed a completely normal haircoat by nine weeks after castration (Figure 3).  Other male dogs, either intact or castrated, have responded to supplementation with methyltestosterone (1mg/kg administered orally every other day for two to three weeks then reduced to twice weekly; the maximum dose should not exceed 30 mg.)  It is not known why castration results in normal hair regrowth in some male dogs; but the regrowth might be related to correction of reproductive hormone imbalances or excessive secretion of inactive steroid precursors.  Testosterone may, however, directlyu stimulate the germinal cells of the hair follicles.  Alternative treatments to growth hormone supplementation for female dogs with growth hormone-responsive alopecia have not been described. 

Summary

Growth hormone-responsive alopecia occurs in adult dogs and is an endocrine alopecia of undetermined cause.  Although most dogs respond to growth hormone replacement, it is unlikely that a true growth hormone deficiency exists in all dogs with adult-onset growth hormone-responsive alopecia.  Therefore, new treatments modalities will likely be developed as the causes of this syndrome are better defined. 

REFERENCES


1 Mutler GH, Kirk, RW, Scott DW; Small Animal Dermatology, ad 3, Philidelphia, WB Saunders Co. 1983, pp 492-560

 2 Siegel, ET: Endocrine Diseases of the Dog, Philadelphia, Les & Fibiger, 1977

 3 Eigenmann, JE, Patterson, DF:  Growth Hormone Deficiency in the mature dog, JAAHA20:741, 1984

 4 Parker WH, Scott DW: Growth hormone-responsive alopecia in the mature dog: A discussion of 13 cases. JAAHA22:467, 1986

 5 Scott, DW, Walton, DK: Hyposomatropism in the mature dog: A discussion of 22 cases. JAAHA22:467, 1986

 6 Campbell KL: Growth hormone-related disorders in dogs.  Compend Contin Educ Pract Vet 10(4):477-482,  1988

 7 Hampshire, J, Altszuier N; Clonodine or xyzaline as provocative tests for growth hormone secretion in the dog. Am J Vet Res 42: 1073, 1981

8 Lothrup, CD Jr; Growth hormone response to growth hormone releasing factor in normal and suspected growth hormone deficient dogs.  Proc AVC1M: 14-42, 1986

 9 Peterson ME, Altszuier, N.:  Suppression of growth hormone secretion in spontaneous   canine hyderadrenocorticism and its reversal after treatment, Am J Vet Res 42:1881, 1981. 

10 Eigenmann, JE: Growth hormone-deficient disorders associated with alopecia in the dog. In Kirk, RW (ed): Current Veterinary Therapy IX,  Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co., 1986,  p. 1015.

 11 Eigenmann, JE, Patterson, DF, Froesch, ER: Body size parallels insulin-like growth factor I levels but not growth hormone secretory capacity.  Acta Endocrinol (Copeah)106:448, 1984.    

12 Randolph JF, Miller CL, Cummings JF, Lothrop, CD Jr: Delayed growth in two German  Shepherd littermates with normal growth hormone, thyroxine and cortisol determinations   JAVMA, in press                

13 Scott DW:  Growth hormone-related dermatoses in the dog.  In Kirk, RW (ed): Current Veterinary Therapy VIII.  Philadelphia. WB Saunders Co., 1982, p. 852

Back to List of Titles

More on Black Skin Disease

(Article/Letters as  printed by the PCOC in the September 1997 Club Newsletter)

From Diana Downey/email: ZQLJ23A@prodigy.com   

There are many things which can cause Alopecia: Hypothyroidism; Cushing’s Disease; Addison’s Disease; contact and/or generalized allergies; excessive female estrogen (usually found in recently neutered males); stress; fleas; mites; mange; unknown (usually labeled “Black Skin Disease).  Some of these problems are genetic, some are familial, and some are neither.

Interestingly, many of these conditions affect males much more often than females.  You must rule out all other possibilities via skin and blood test before you can label a dog with “black skin disease”.  Also, be aware that hypothyroidism will increase the dog’s chances of having allergies and other diseases as the thyroid is an important part of the immune system.  I have rescued dogs with several of these problems and most have been returned to good health and decent (if not improved) coat through proper diagnosis and treatment.

One of my dogs in fact, a finished champion, began to show thinning hair on his back end along with definite hair loss on his hocks and chest.  He later began to rip his coat out in swaths from behind his ears and eventually came to look fairly “bare butted” with the skin turning dark on his butt and thighs.  The skin was being darkened by exposure to the sun (it stayed pink on his chest) and most labeled him as having “black skin disease”-wrong!

My vet determined that because his hair loss pattern began with his hocks and chest as well as his butt, that he must have some sort of contact dermatitis-but to what?  I noticed that he really started to tear at himself when ever he was in contact with anything which had been flea sprayed.  After testing him on several carpet flea sprays and flea shampoos, it became obvious that he was allergic to pyrethrum.  Anything that contained pyrethrum was an irritant!  Removing pyrethrum from his domain stopped his coat tearing but did not regenerate coat.  I tried several food additives but nothing worked until Dianne Johnson recommended Lip-A-Derm (in most pet stores and catalogs).  This renewed coat at a remarkable rate especially around the ears and hocks but did not seem to do much for his chest and butt.

I should add here that my dogs were primarily kept in indoor runs bedded with cedar shavings.  When I moved to Opal, VA my dogs finally had a huge grassy yard to play in so there was no need for indoor runs.  Within two months of moving there, my dog grew back all his chest and almost all of his butt hair!  When I told my story to Jackie Rayner one day, she remarked that she had always had coat problems with Poms when kept in any environment with any woody fibre bedding (pine shavings, cedar shavings, straw, etc….).

After that, several others confirmed Jackie’s assessment of woody fibre bedding causing skin problems in their Poms!  I hope all this helps.  Don’t give up but do keep a detailed log of all tests and noticeable improvements and periods of deterioration.  We should know soon whether Dr. Foil or some other vet will be back on the case for the APC’s research without your dog ever leaving home.

I can see why your confused.  According to Dr. Foil (get a copy of her lecture on Pom Skin disease from the Louisiana specialty), “Pom Skin Disease” or “Black Skin Disease” is an unknown.  We don’t know what causes it and we don’t know what cures it.  The only thing that we do know is that it is familial and is suspected to be genetic.  She says that a dog should not be labeled as having “BSD” until all other possibilities have been systematically ruled out.  Dogs suspected as having BSD have been neutered for ages without previous extensive testing and yes, most all have returned to full coat.  The problem with this method is that hormone problems cannot be rules out because they were not tested for prior to the neutering.

Neutering will cause a decrease in testosterone over time and that may be why the coat renews.  On the other hand, some dogs acquire Alopecia after being neutered.  This is usually due to excessive female estrogen (due to the lowered testosterone to balance the estrogen) and is characterized by hair loss, excessively oily skin which smells, and usually very waxy ears. 

 On the subject of thyroid, some dogs do not respond well to synthetic thyroid (Thyroxine, soloxine) and must be placed on natural thyroid.  Natural thyroid is not as easy to dose because it is somewhat variable in every pill.  I have a dog whose thyroid levels actually got lower when put on synthetic thyroid but bounced back on natural thyroid.  Allergens – most dogs acquire allergies at or around the age of 2.  The allergen may have been present all its life (as in my dog’s case) but they are only now allergic to it.  Most allergies start out as contact (or localized) allergies causing itching in only a few places at first.  With repeated exposure to the allergen, all dogs get generalized dermatitis.   This means that they scratch their entire body, as their whole system is now out of whack, no matter what body part is in actual contact.  And don’t forget inhalants. 

Addison’s and Cushing’s diseases both cause shortened life spans in dogs (and other mammals) but many can live well for years.  They are characterized by hair loss along with a thickening and darkening of the skin all over with a definite cracking pattern.  They are often called “Elephant Skin Disease”. 

Bev mentioned Nizoral shampoo.  This is a shampoo made to treat human ringworm but I have heard several stories of it helping dogs with Alopecia even though skin scraping have proven that they do not have ringworm.  Unfortunately the benefits of Nizoral are usually short-lived and the dogs return to their original coatless state.  I have also heard of many dogs being helped with repeated tar/sulphur shampoos and their coat regeneration seems to be permanent. 

 As you can see, one can make an occupation of studying Alopecia.  Alopecia is the generic term and Black Skin Disease should only be used when all other options have been ruled out.  One interesting fact about Black Skin Disease is that most breeders have already determined that it is genetic (th scientist are more conservative and call it familial).  Those that I know of who have tried to track it have all tracked it back to one Pom, named A-Lil Mischief’s Towntalk (3-55).   My vet, agrees that it is very possible that there was a gene mutation in one dog which may have caused the problem.  Only through breeders being honest with other breeders, and open with the researchers, will we ever really know the cause of this disease, find a test for it, and cure it.  Hopefully, we’re on the right track with Dr. Foil.

 

From Dolly Trauner/email: HPDG39A@prodigy.com   

Alopecia is the scientific term for the loss of the hair.  Pomeranian hair loss is now commonly referred to as genetic Alopecia – along with Keeshonds, Chows, Akitas, and service breeds.  In Poms, it is referred to as “Black-Skin,” or “SHL.”  This syndrome was discussed in an article by Dean Hebert for the Pom Reader a while ago.  SHL is currently being researched by Dr. Foil, a Dermatology Specialist for LSU.

There are many generic names for “Black Skin,” also known as “Pseudo-Cushings’s”.  “SHL” which stands for “Severe Hair Loss,” also called “False Hypothyroidism”.  Shampoos, ointments, medications, bat spit, incantations, may work – or not work!  Poms, and other breeds, have hair-loss on the back, loins, buttocks and hind legs.  Most hair loss from contact dermatitis or other allergic reactions cover any part of the dog’s body including the face, this is not a form of “black skin.” 

 

From Happeth Jones/email: XGQQ40A@prodigy.com   

The problem was rampant in my line of dogs so much I have had to stop breeding Poms.   I would go to another vet.  Black skin disease does not cause death of a dog or much skin problems.  The skin usually thickens rather than getting thinner.  Was your dog checked for hormone problems?  Alopecia just means loss of hair but there are quite a few conditions that can cause loss of hair.  It now sounds like your are describing the classical black skin disease.  Since you are already giving him the tar and sulfur shampoos mix up the following and apply to the bald areas after he is dry from his bath.  Then mid week apply again.  Once a week give him the tar and sulfur shampoo and re-apply the ointment.  I have gotten coat on two dogs with this method.

 Also one of my boys, (that’s Clipper Marie) was neutered and this brought him into magnificent coat except for one bald spot on the rear and the ointment is bringing coat back in this spot.  The neutering does not work on all Poms but does with some and in my case it worked.  Here is the ointment.  Go to a drug store and buy flowers of Sulfur.  (this recipe may be on the bottle) then put the sulfur through the flour sifter to get out the lumps and mix one part sulfur with six parts lard.  This makes a nice yellow clean ointment.  This is what you rub on the bald spots.  This method only works though on the bald areas as it is too thick to apply to the hair so it is not good for the thinning areas.  If you need to apply to thinning areas there is a messier harder more effective method that Sue Goddard told me about and I have used successfully in the past.  I have forgotten the measurements however so you would have to call her for the recipe. 

           

From Jane Manuszak-Lucido/email: GNSN54A@prodigy.com 

Before we determined one of my males was allergic to Ethoxyquin, he was losing hair and his skin was flaky and turning dark due to sun exposure.  I heard about putting baby oil on him and letting it soak for 45 min., then washing him in Palmolive dish soap to get out the oil.  What this does is cleans out the pores that can get clogged up.  This, in conjunction with feeding only food preserved with Vitamin E brought his coat completely back and he has kept his coat completely ever since.  You may want to see what preservatives are in the food, but I believe Ethoxyquin is no longer being used.  Another product to try is called Nioxin shampoo, which is purchased from a beauty supply house.  This is used to bring back hair growth on humans by cleaning out clogged pores.  The baby oil method would also be good for dry skin and the itching that was complained about on one of the *P posters. 

 

From Mary Allen/email: MFXG02C@prodigy.com  

There is a subject “Cushings Disease” that you might want to investigate.  I have a little boy – 6 years old – that I assumed was a “skin condition” because several of his relatives were so diagnosed (not by any veterinary test that I could find out about, though, at least in most of the cases).  Anyway, he did recoat spontaneously a couple of years ago, without my doing anything at all.  He had to be shaved a while back and the hair did not grow back.  I had just read the discussion on Cushings and thought “what the ‘ell?” and had him tested by the ACTH stimulation test.  That was very indicative.  His stimulation was very high, and my vet feels that the diagnosis can be made.  We are going to start him on Lysodren just as soon as I get back from NY – I have to be here because the first few days of this treatment are critical.  I have heard of several “skin condition” dogs recoating when treated with Nizoral.  This is an antifungal agent, but it is considered quite a dangerous medication because one of its side-effects is the suppression of the adrenal cortex – the site of cortisol production.  Of course, Cushing is caused by an “excessive” production of cortisol, which is why the Nizoral works on some dogs, not because the “condition” was caused by a fungus. 

 

Another Case of Hair Loss  

From Jonathan Simon/email:   jonathan.s.simon@USPPL.mail.abb.com  

            Our four-year-old neutered male Pomeranian is gradually losing his fur (but is otherwise healthy). It is most noticeable on the back of his legs, rump and back.  The skin underneath is rather black instead of pink.  Our vet thought he might have low thyroid levels and gave him a supplement but this hasn’t helped.  Has anyone else experience this problem and found a solution?   

 

From Kara Greenwood/email: Greenwo@nbnet.nb.ca   

The hair loss you describe is called “The Condition”.  This affects the dogs hair only and not his health.  It is a hereditary condition usually passed through the male as females with the condition can’t usually get pregnant.  The “condition” affects dogs that have a very soft, cottony coat as puppies, with little or no guard hairs.  If you are not aware of the signs you don’t know your dog has it until he is anywhere from 1 to 5 years of age when he will loose his hair.  Hair loss starts at the base of the tail, back legs and moves up the back.  He will keep the hair on his feet and head and a little around his ruff.  As far as the vet is concerned, save your money.  Although there is research being done, there is no known cure. They’ll want to do skin tests, thyroid tests and will blame it on allergies. When the skin turns really black and has lost all hair treat these areas with cream to keep them from cracking.  Sometimes at about 7 or 8 years of age the hair will grow back on its own. Don’t forget the sunscreen.    

         

From Sheila R Sheffield/email: sshefie@mailer.fsu.edu   

It may be a fungus.  If there is an odor with it, it is likely to be fungus.  However, Muffin has both fungus and allergies.  Shampooing with Selsun Blue people dandruff shampoo helps-also give 500 units Vitamin E.  Muffin also test for thyroid ($52 test), but it was negative.  


Copyright 1996, by Susann Philbrook 

This material may be distributed freely by non-profit groups. The material MAY NOT be reprinted in any form for commercial use without permission. Please do not copy the information into your site, instead, link.

How Corinne from Canada Successfully Brought Ginger's Coat Back

Ginger was spayed as soon as she was old enough. As for clearing up her black skin disease (BSD) . . . well, that was kind of a fluke. I was watching a program on TV last summer that was talking about women's skin care and it said that the best thing a woman could ever put on her face was pure olive oil, not manufactured products. So I thought to myself . . . couldn't hurt my dog! So what I did was I started rubbing Ginger down with olive oil wherever she was missing her fur. I would let it sit for a day or two (covering her up in her flannel pj's so my furniture wouldn't get covered). Then I would give her a bath with organic pet shampoo and rub her skin roughly with a loofa (that I'd normally use in the shower) and her skin would exfoliate. The sink would be full of specks of black skin! It would literally peel off. I brushed her every day and black bits of dead skin would come off on the brush. I kept repeating the olive oil process and wherever the skin sluffed off, new fur would start growing. It started  in patches and eventually filled in. She is in full blossom now! She just needs a little more fullness to her tail but that's coming. Her whole body is 100% beautiful fur. I got my baby girl back! I think it was September when I started this and she had her coat back in little over a month and it was just as thick as ever by November. This was a shot in the dark that worked. I'd love to know if it would work for others. Ginger went at least two or three years looking a little like a mutant! We loved her anyways and she acquired quite a wardrobe.

Hope this helps other dogs
~ Ginger and Corinne

If you try this, and it works for you, could you please let us know
as Corinne has asked us to let her know if this treatment works for other dogs.
Email: pcocwebinquiry@pcoc.net

 

How Patricia from Australia
successfully brought back coat on a BSD dog using a natural ointment

We live in Sydney, Australia and have a 7 year old Pomeranian, Simba, who started to develop the black skin disease about 18 months ago and in trying to research the problem came across your web site. Therefore I thought you and your readers would be interested in results we have had to cure this.

The first signs appeared in his tail as your article stated. The vet suggested all of the things many of your readers had said they would, so as he was otherwise healthy we didn't proceed with any tests other than a thyroid test which we had done prior to finding your site.

Then we noticed it was appearing across his shoulders and it slowly began to spread to the rest of his body. By accident we discovered a remedy, when last September, 2004, he was savaged by a Staffy cross Pit-Bull [how he was rescued from that attack is another story] and a neighbor suggested that we try Lucas' Papaw Ointment to help heal the wounds, it is a product for all sorts of skin abrasions and open wounds for humans produced here but she had used it on her dogs for rashes and cuts with success. Well it worked for Simba too, with excellent results the wounds, although deep, healed fast and left no scaring. It was several weeks later however that I noticed his fur was growing back in this area and the black skin was beginning to flake off. I helped this along by gently scrapping it off with my nails, which he enjoyed because he thought I was just giving him a good scratch !. It then dawned on me that this was where I had been applying the Papaw ointment and to prove to myself that this might be the case I started to apply it to the left shoulder area, sure enough I started to get results there also. Once the black skin was disappearing the fur growth was rapid, he now has his long fur coat back and once again we also have our ' fur ball' back ! The black skin has now completely gone from his body and the fur has started to return on his tail.

I have taken photos of before and after, a couple of which I attach.

I was praising this product to my cousin who lives in Canada and is very involved with dogs and dog shows, she mentioned a friend whose dog suffers from ' hot spots' so I said I would send some over as it is not available for sale in Canada or the USA, although permitted if sent for private use by someone from Australia, this I did and the report last week was that although her friend had tried everything else to elevate this problem for her Poodle, the Papaw Ointment has been successful. If anyone is interested for us to provide further information we'd be more than pleased to so.

Here's hoping others can benefit also.....
Cheers, Patricia,Pilar & 'Simba'.

And in January 2006, we received the following email:

My 9 year old Pom had been losing his fur for about 3 years, I'd almost given up all hope of it growing back. Then I read with interest this article about papaw ointment, I sent off for some through the internet, gave it a try, it was about £19.00 although the cost was not an issue. I put it on him for about 4 weeks and nothing happened so i stopped using it. T hen about 4 weeks later i noticed that his fur was growing back and 2 months later it is still growing!!!! lovely soft and strong, I'm not sure if the ointment had anything to do with it but I'm sure it did. I'd just like to say thank you for the info you passed on and hope this may be of some help to other Pom owners in the same situation. It is freezing here in England at the moment so Bugsy will have to keep his little coat on for a while longer, I think he has become quite attached to it!!! Once again thank you.


Here are the before and after pictures Patricia sent me:

 

If you would like to communicate with Patricia directly we can put you in touch or
if you try this, and it works for you, could you please let us know
as Patricia has asked us to let her know if this treatment works for other dogs.
Email: pcocwebinquiry@pcoc.net

Another Success Story

To all Pom lovers,
I just have to share my JOY with all lovers of Poms. My little prize puppy of 3 1/2 lbs. had a beautiful baby coat, then the adult coat didn't come in. His hind quarters then his neck showed signs of the Black Skin, a vet/Dog Judge confirmed it was the Black Skin disease.

 The breeder suggested tar shampoo, the vet had no answers, so I started reading about hair problems in humans. (I figured I was going to address the matter from the inside out) So off to the local health store, I came home with a bottle of certified organic flax oil, then I changed his dog food, back to a puppy selection of the new Natural Choice Ultra. It's claim are: Nature's very best ingredients, complete antioxidant protection for a healthy immune system, and
> guaranteed healthier skin and coat. I next went to my pharmacist and got some lanolin cream. I rubbed his coat/ skin with that as his hair was dry and brittle (appeared dead to me) Next week I gave him a bath and combed out all the dead puppy uncoat, etc (he looked awful) Then I started him on the new food with a tablespoon of flax oil on it
> everyday (he loved it) 

Within 2 weeks his whole persona changed, he was active and very happy. Then to my surprise I could see new hair
coming in!! And yes today after 3 months of treatment he is looking GREAT. The back hind quarters are the slowest to fill in, but has small fuzz growing so I am hopeful. His coat is alive and shiny and he is one happy little man, and I am one happy Mom. Please share this with your readers and hopefully they will have the same success.
Hope Kruse-
Vernon, BC
(Formerly showed and raised Poms 15 years ago)

You may email Hope at: hkruse@propertyguys.com 

Roberta writes:

 I have a true story - happening at my home right now - I will copy what I sent to another lady - this is a senior rescue that we took in. Read it and see if you want to put it on the website.


At the first of September 2005 we brought home a rescue - actually I inherited him. I had trimmed him in January 2005 - he has always carried a massive coat. He is a BIS dog, BISS dog, so he is not just the normal pet store puppy. He had been a spoiled, loved little boy, then his mistress got very ill, passed away in July 2004. Her husband kept this little boy, then he got ill, not feeling up to keeping up with the dogs (he had kept 2). I trimmed him like I said in January 2005, down to about 2 inches all over the body. His owner took him to a groomer who clipped him down to the skin in May 2005. He was kenneled for a month or so in July and August 2005. When a friend of his owner took him from the kennel in late August he was filthy. His coat had not grown back - I firmly believe dirty skin and improper diet will not allow coat growth. He was being fed cat treats, Pedigree puppy food (junk food), and when we picked him up mid September 2005 he was a terrible mess. No coat, blackened skin and coughing. I took him to our vet because didn't like the sound of his cough, but was told was probably allergies and to wait until cold weather to see how he did. And that his condition WAS NOT BLACK SKIN DISEASE. So, home we went, I bathed him (still am doing this) every other day with Tarrific Shampoo, then a medicated shampoo. Brushing him good, blackened dead skin flakes off all the time. He gets brushed thoroughly daily. I also give him a proper diet, along with Omega 3-6-9 oil daily. 


I am happy (no - read that ecstatic!!) to be able to say - he has coat on his body - about an inch long - guard hairs along with undercoat coming in - AND his new skin is coming in pink. He has been on no medication during this time - it has only been about 6 weeks since I have been treating this condition - and feel it has been caused by incorrect diet, dirty skin, and a lack of the love he had always known. I should add that at no time did his skin feel tough or like the proverbial elephant skin that is associated with BSD.

Roberta Malott, Pondside Toys
http://members.tripod.com/pondsidepoms/  Email: rmalott1@ciaccess.com 


And in another email from Carolann Hamilton, we are told of a client of hers who is successfully bringing back the coat on her BSD Pomeranian Romeo by following a regimen of natural care/treatment  recommended by Carolann. Here is a letter she received from this client (reprinted here with permission): 

 

Black Skin Disease...

I don't even know how to sum up how wonderful and special you are Carolann! You are absolute in your knowledge of homeopathic treatments and diet and very dedicated, compassionate and patient as a consultant. I am so relieved and happy to have found someone that cares 110% about what she does and is totally there for you as a client. In a matter of 6 months, with your guidance I have a whole new, playful and healthy little darling. I searched for one year for information or some guided help in the dreaded black skin disease. My Romeo had seizures up to 6 times a year, foul breath, gurgly stomach, no appetite, and was developing a serious case of black skin disease. For the seizures he was put on Phenobarbital. Within 1 month he started losing all of his hair, what was left was brittle and his skin was turning a dark grey. He was turning into such a sick little dog all around. I believed he maybe had 1 more year with me at the rate he was deteriorating in health. I came across you Carolann through a pom website and I gave it a whirl...and a whirlwind it was! You were there for Romeo right away and gave him such dedication for months. You have been extremely patient in giving him a whole new diet and homeopathic remedies to take all of the toxins out of his toxic system. Within 1 month I saw huge positive changes. Within 3 months he was a healthy dog!! Clear eyes, fabulous appetite, normal doggie breath, no gurgly stomach or burping and the seizures seem to be almost gone. Almost a year later, his skin is now a healthy pink, his hair is growing at a very rapid rate into a soft and lush fur and he is most of all happy and playful, and I feel like a great Mommy!! Carolann, I can't thank you enough, and I will only use your guidance and knowledge next time from puppy hood!

 

Ali Glick, Delray Beach FL USA


You can contact Carolann for further information as follows:

Princess Healthy Canine Consulting
Carolann Hamilton
Canine Health and Nutrition Consultant

askcarolann@healthycanine.ca 
www.healthycanine.ca 

 

The following are before and after pictures of Romeo

BEFORE (taken just after the coat began to grow)

 

AFTER (still a work in progress)

Yet another Success Story

I have what I hope will prove to be some very exciting news in regards to helping our BSD babies.  I have a 9 yr old male who was finally diagnosed with BSD about a year ago.  We fought for a long time with thyroid because that's what they felt was his problem.  Then we found he also had walking dandruff and was treated successfully for that.  To no avail he still was nearly coatless for more than 6 months.  After 2 yrs I finally conceeded that it was truly BSD.  As a wound care nurse I was introduced to a new line of products this spring.  REMEDY.  

We have several wonderful skin care products in this line that are doing remarkable things for people who have severe skin issues.  One of the samples I was given was called Remedy foaming body wash.  These products bind with the skin on a cellular level and help repair damaged skin.  I had one sample that did not get used so I brought it home in the hopes it would help my naked baby gain some coat so that I didn't have to worry so about exposure to the elements.  Well, boy howdy was I shocked.

I started treating him with weekly baths mid May.  I took him to the Greeley shows last weekend to show people what an amazing recovery he is making.  He started recoating right away.  He is getting it back just the reverse of how he lost it.  Body coat is normal texture and almost as good as when he was showing.  He is a Ch by the way, my very first.  It is now August and the only place he does not have hair is a small strip at the base of his tail and down each thigh.  Even these are continuing to grow hair at an amazing rate.  His color started out very pale but it now turning a nice rich orange. 

He is an orange sable.  I am going to try to keep this going for some time with his progress but I felt it was such a remarkable change that I needed to share it with any of you who would wish to try the same thing.  I felt that due to the long exposure to the sun and other elements that there had to be skin damage is why I tried and I feel that I hit a key.  I will continue to monitor and report his progress or regression.  I know several have had dogs recoat and then lose it so will be sure to report that also.  I don't think it is going to happen.

If you would like to purchase and try this product it is available online.  Look up Remedy skin products and request Remedy foaming body wash.  I also use the remedy skin repair cream between baths just to help keep the sun from doing any more damage to his skin.  The products are very reasonable to purchase.  I hope some of you do try it and have the same success as I have had.  It would be wonderful to not have to worry about our babies so much.  It is always hard to see a nice dog without his reigning glory.

Wishing all of you good luck if you try it.

Thanks

"Carol Wittrock" <cwittrock@netcommander.com>

Back to List of Titles


Order the Grooming Video

© Copyright 2000
Pomeranian Club of Canada
All Rights Reserved

Home Page Email Us •  About the Club Club Executive Code of Ethics Club Magazine Join the Club Renew Your Membership List of Club Members Club Events Top Poms About PomeraniansPom Rescue

CKC Breed Standard Breed Education Articles/Information Pom Archives Puppy Stuff Pom Links PCOC Specialty Reports Breeder Referral Ads Stud Dog Referral Ads Web-Ad Rates/Fees