Hair Loss Due to Lack of Growth Hormone in Dogs

Dermatosis is a medical term that defines a skin disease, especially one that does not cause inflammation. Growth hormone-response dermatosis refers to a rare and uncommon skin disease in dogs which occurs due to deficiency of growth hormones or the skin disease that responds favorably to growth hormone therapy treatment. It is mostly characterized by hair loss beyond normal shedding. The dog may have thinning fur or it may be shedding in patches. Darkened skin color or scaly skin are other symptoms of this condition. 

Growth hormone-responsive dermatoses is divided into two types. Pituitary dwarfism (seen in two to three months of age) and adult-onset hormone-responsive dermatosis (skin disease usually seen at one to two years of age).

Pituitary dwarfism is due to lack of growth hormone (somatotropin or somatropin) due to malfunction of pituitary gland. 

Adult-onset hormone-responsive dermatosis is characterized by either lack of growth hormone in the dog or by favorable response of the skin condition to growth hormone therapy treatment.

Certain breeds are predisposed to one of the two types of growth-hormone-responsive dermatoses. German Shepherds, Spitzes, Toy Pinschers, and Carnelian Bear Dogs are predisposed to pituitary dwarfism while Chow Chows, Pomeranians, Poodles, Keeshonds, Samoyeds, and American Water Spaniels are at a higher risk of acquiring adult-onset hormone-responsive dermatosis. 

Common symptoms associated with two types of dermatoses are

Pituitary Dwarfism (Signs at two to three months of age)

Baldness on both sides of the torso, neck, and backs of the thighs

Hair growth occurs over face and legs only

Retained puppy coat is easily pulled out (or falls out)

Skin is thin, scaly, and dark with blackheads

Adult-onset Growth Hormone-Responsive Dermatosis

Baldness on both sides of the torso, neck, and insides and backs of the thighs, on the tail, on the underside of the abdomen, under the tail, and on the ears

Hair present on the head and legs

Hair easily comes out

Tufts of hair regrowth at injury or tissue sampling sites

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