SEASONAL FLANK ALOPECIA
ALSO CALLED "CANINE FLANK ALOPECIA," "CYCLIC FLANK ALOPECIA," AND "RECURRENT FLANK ALOPECIA"
WHAT IS THIS?
(original graphic by marvistavet.com)
Seasonal flank alopecia is exactly what it sounds like, though it helps to know that the word "alopecia" means hair loss. With seasonal flank alopecia, a dog loses hair in the flank area on a seasonal basis. Different dogs seem to choose different seasons to lose their hair (fall and spring are popular) and when the season changes the hair generally grows back. Sometimes a dog will skip a season only to lose hair again the next year. Most affected dogs are Boxers, Airedales, and English bulldogs though numerous other breeds have been affected.
The hair loss is generally confined to the flanks (area just ahead of the rear legs) though sometimes the bridge of the nose is involved. The skin typically is darkly pigmented in the areas of hair loss. Both flanks are generally affected symmetrically and sometimes there is skin infection present in the balding areas. Sometimes the hair re-grows in a different color than the original hair. Some dogs never re-grow their hair.
Diagnosis is generally made by the classic appearance of the pigmented bald spot and the the history of recurrence. Diagnosis can be confirmed with skin biopsy if more confirmation is desired.
WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?
At the present time no one knows why this occurs. It is felt to relate to the effects that daylight cycle and light exposure have on the pineal gland. Breed predisposition suggests a genetic factor as well. Dogs of any age can be affected but the average age is about 4 years.
IS THERE TREATMENT?
Page last updated: 2/22/2021