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Does anyone have a setter that is going bald?

Tara started moulting excessively about a month ago.  Yes well, we expect this at this time of year, especially where the climate is a little warmer than UK.  This is crazy though.  All her fur is coming out in handfuls and her back looks like a worn out carpet.  Add this to the fact that she is terribly thin with IBD and you can guess what she looks like.  The vet says it's an allergy and she does have quite a few nasty scabby spots but she doesn't scratch excessively.  I've got her on anti-histamines and spot her every week with a homeopathic remedy that's supposed to sooth the skin.  Food is Exclusion and Orijen (half and half as I'm introducing the latter gradually) and the vet assures me that this isn't the problem.  It seems that it's grass, pollen etc.  She's happy and energetic enough at the moment but if this goes on she will be completely bald. 

 

Anyone out there with a similiar problem and/or any suggestions?

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Is she neutered?
Could it be hormonal?
She was spayed two years ago. I don't think it's hormonal although she had problems a few years back after a year on contraception. She never did come into season again properly, although there were a couple of faulty seasons. The vet suspected metritis. She had a course of injections to solve the problems which had very unpleasant side effects and achieved nothing. There could be other hormonal problems but she's been checked for Addisons and Cushings because of the IBD. The vets convinced it's an allergy, probably to pollen or something in the grass.
All over! I am brushing her ever day with a bristle brush - but gently so as not to irritate her skin any more. The hair comes out so easily that I could remove it all if I wanted to.
How old is Tara? Does her skin turn greyish? Where are the bald patches? Is she on Frontline or something similar? They say that certain bald areas can be a hint to parasites, but this is not necessarily so.

Gina had the same problem when she was 9-12 months old. She had bald patches on her hindlegs. First I thought it was mites or fleas. But is soon turned to so bad that at one point she had bleeding eyes and a bleeding muzzle.

As she is neutered, I thought this could be the problem. It isn't in our case.I went to naturopaths, cried my eyes out, also here on this forum....

Gina was evenutally diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. She is allergic to grass, pollen, trees, house dust mites, name it. Actually she is allergic to the air she breathes. We have to clean the house every single day.

Our local vet pumped her with cortisone, which made it worse. So we changed the vet and also took her to our local university clinic, where she has been on a desensitization program. It means she gets desensitazation shots every three weeks (I learnt to give her the shots), she gets four fish oil every day, is washed down with Alpha Kery Oil and a medical shampo made of oatmeal and aloe vera.

We still have our figthts, but we manage. She still gets ear infections, eye infections, which is all part of it. And it will never be perfect. Her coat is full and shiny, her muzzle and eyes are alright, and only rarely does she have these bald patches (she still gets them though). And it's NOT parasites.

Of course, I am not in the place to give you a "diagnosis", but if you need any support, I also mean emotional support, feel free to contact me. We hve been going through a similar turmoil. And it is a very emotional thing to see you beautful girl suffering with bald patches and a thinning coat and you feel so helpless.

And keep us posted how Tara is going!
Thanks Ilona. I have been thinking Atopic dermatitis myself. The current belief is that Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which Tara suffers from, is often and autoimmune condition. If so the dog is far more susceptible to infections, allergies, virus and the like than a dog without any basic health problems.

We live in very rural France - no neighbours for three kilometres - surrounded by chestnut trees, grass and all those things that produce masses of pollen every day. The house is a rambling old farmhouse/part converted barn which is great - but the dust!! It's a beautiful place but for Tara's sake I wish we lived in a modern house next to a beach for her to run on. I'm seriously thinking of a move!

Your so right to avoid the cortisone which often causes hairloss although it can sooth irritation but longterm it has other side effects. Our nearest veterinary hospital is two and a half hours away so it's not really an option.

Tara will be eight in November. She was such a beautiful dog, doing quite well in shows (even here in France where The Red Club prefers smaller dogs with virtually no coat) with a good, thick coat although she moulted heavily bi-annually. It's so sad to see her deteriorating like this.

I have to see the vet on Friday and will ask him about the shots you mention. As yet we don't have ear or eye infections. The original bald patches with sebaceous spots either side of her tail which she has had for sometime occasionally erupt and bleed though. The skin is very thin.

I haven't used Frontline for three months because of the IBD and earlier kidney problems. It doesn't seem to have any ill effect but I prefer not to give her kidneys too much to deal with. Additionally, I have to use a shampoo that deals with Harvest Mites at this time of year. This also stops fleas and ticks. She has Pet Phos Pelage daily for her coat. I haven't heard of Alpha Kery Oil. Do you mix this with the shampoo and how often do you use it?

Thanks so much for your help. As you obviously know it's really depressing seeing a dog deteriorate like this. Most of the time though, she's quite well in herself although she does have what husband Bob refers to as "Red Setter Days" when she seems really low and I think something dreadful is going to happen. When I'm just about to take her to the vet she suddenly jumps up and demands a game with her favourite toy!
I use Pulvex shampoo every couple of weeks as Autats (Harvest Mites) are a big nuiscance here and Frontline doesn't deal with them. She had a bad infestation of these last year and lost a lot of coat. This year, so far, no Harvest Mites but the coat is going to disappear altogether if the moult doesn't stop soon. As she has had kidney failure and now IBD I avoid Frontline if I can. It gets into the system and is one more thing for her kidneys to deal with. She could, as you say, have been bitten but there is not obvious sign of parasites. The scabby spots are not flea bites.

The shampoo is a good idea. I've used Douxo in the past - don't know whether this is similar to Seleen but it has a calming effect on the skin. Time to try again.

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