Dear Daisy Dog
Scottie, our Scottish terrier, goes bald every winter. The skin on his sides darkens, though it doesn’t itch or get flaky. Our vet says he has no fleas or infections.
Scottie’s hair regrows in the spring and remains normal until the next fall, when it starts to fall out again. How can we stop this cycle?
It sounds like Scottie may have seasonal flank alopecia, symmetrical hair loss that occurs on the flanks and sometimes extends to the sides of the chest.
Most dogs with the disorder follow Scottie’s seasonal pattern, although some dogs lose their hair in the spring and regrow it in the fall.
Predisposed breeds include short-coated dogs like boxers, Dobermans and bulldogs, along with Airedales, Bouviers, miniature poodles, miniature schnauzers and Scottish terriers.
Seasonal flank alopecia is thought to occur because seasonal changes in day length affect the pineal gland’s production of melatonin.
Giving melatonin restarts hair growth in many dogs. Even more effective is preventing seasonal flank alopecia by starting melatonin a month before seasonal hair loss usually begins.