Posted by: Cat Lady | 2008/01/29

Abnormal Hair Loss In GSD

My deceased sister's German Shepherd Dog is losing hair like you won't believe. I have had him to the vet on previous occasions when the vet has given him a cortisone injection which at least stops him from scratching and crying at the same time. He had an injection about three weeks ago and the hair is dotted all over the house. I have him at the doggy beauty parlour once every 4 -6 weeks where he gets dipped and he gets his Frontline faithfully every 3-4 weeks. I am stricter with him than the others - they all get Frontlined but exactly once a month. Their bedding gets washed every week and their couches, chairs and baskets are hit with Dye Flea as well. I don't know what to do about him any longer - I also have a Rough Collie and she doesn't shed even a quarter of hair that he sheds. He gets brushed as well but I mustn't touch his sides because he growls at me. Seeing I didn't bring him up, I don't want to take chances as he has bitten me once already which required stitching - not his fault, my leg got in his way when he was reaching for somebody else's bowl who was teasing him. Iam getting to the stage that I am finding it very difficult to handle 6 dogs I also have now 15 cats - one passe away due to biliary complications last week. He loves his walks and otherwise he is a lovely dog. He has one other habit which I hate he chases my cats under the bedfrill at night. and whines. My longhaired Dachsie sleeps with us and so does ur 3 legged little dog and the Dachsie goes for him. The GSD sleeps next to my husbands side of the bed and her other dog who is a sweetie sleeps on my side. We have tried shutting him in the kitchen, laundry which leads outside but then he wakes the neighbours up at 3.00pm and when we close the outside doors, he bangs and whines against the doors until my husband relents and goes and watches TV with him in the morning at 4 or goes into the computer room to sleep. He has been to training and is otherwise a lovely dog - there is no question of putting him down. I promised my sister I would take care of her pets and I can't possibly do that -its a sacred tryst and besides even though he has these problems I do love him. What to do is the burning question? Anybody have any ideas?

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Our expert says:
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The steroid will stop itching temporarily. The cause of the hair shedding will need to be found for a specific treatment to be instituted.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2008/01/30

Yea, and they all shed in their own endearing little way, too - my best moulter was one who would shed all his winter fluff in about three days - you pulled of handfuls of loose fluff for a bit, preferably outside, and then he was all set for the summer.

Have you tried Tincture of Valerian as a sedative for your dog? It won't send him to sleep, but would take the stress off the drive, if that's what you end up having to do - just mention it to the vet in case he prescribes a tonic! If you want to try it - get it from a health shop or chemist with herbal stuff, and give him say 20 or 25 drops an hour or two ahead of time, and some more just as you leave - you can't overdose him, so don't worry about that.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Cat Lady | 2008/01/30

Hi Chill

No there apparently is no underlying cause and there is no weeping skijn but he scratches like mad. I actually put him on Ultra Dog - my dogs were on Montego and had no problems, hers were on Woof from Spar which I thought was rubbish and he had problems then too. I am going to see another vet in the practice who is more into dogs and horses - the other one is what I call "the cat and bird man" and he knows his onions there. Hopefully the horse and dog man will have an answer for me - we don't have a vetinerary specialist here in the Garden Route but we do have a homeopathetic vet in Sedgefield - question is how do I get him there as he hates long car drives and she is at least 45 minutes away. He does't react well to Clomicalm and Rescue seems to have no effect on him either. I will try the "dog and horse man first".
Thanks for the advice.

PS He is indeed a V ERY very hairy GSD and with the long haired Collie I have sworn that when they pass on I will never have a hairy dog again! I had GSD's when I lived in Cape Town for years and never had a problem with them. Give me a smooth Staffie any time or Rottie etc. Shame I feel quite guilty talking about them like that!

Reply to Cat Lady
Posted by: Chill | 2008/01/29

Sounds like you have your hands full!

What does your vet say about the hair loss? Also, is it so bad that there are bald patches? And if you part the hair, does the skin underneath look healthy, or is it red/inflamed/weepy looking?

One thing I can tell you for sure is that German Shepherds have an AWFUL lot of hair - they have a really thick and fluffy undercoat, and this can take months to get rid of - you can brush like crazy, but then next week pull off another whole load of fluff.

Let us know what your vet thinks - perhaps it could be time for a visit to a veterinary dermatologist! Skin conditions can be quite hard to diagnose, but when you do get the right diagnosis, it's such a relief to be able to apply the correct treatment, instead of groping in the dark.

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