Why do Some Dogs Lose Hair on the Nose?

 |  Jul 26th 2008  |   1 Contribution


My dog, Kaycee, is a 10-year-old Husky. She has
recently begun to develop a bald spot on the
bridge of her nose, right where the hair should
meet the hairless part of her nose. The spot is
getting larger all the time, and it has also
gotten sunburned and flaky. Its nearly
half-dollar sized now and its light pink colored.
She spends most of her time indoors. What could be
causing this problem?

Jennifer
Edmond, Oklahoma

Based on your description, I suspect that Kaycee's immune system is acting up in the area of hair loss. In some dogs, the immune system becomes over-active, and attacks the body's skin and hair follicles. This happens most often at the junction of the haired and hairless areas on the top of the nose.

The syndrome is known colloquially as Collie Nose because it occurs frequently in Collies. However, any breed can be affected. Huskies and German Shepherds frequently develop the syndrome.

A number of different pathological diagnoses (with names such as lupus and pemphigus) may cause the symptoms you describe. To confirm the diagnosis, a veterinarian should evaluate Kaycee. The vet may want to take a small biopsy of the area.

The condition is primarily hereditary. Exposure to sunlight can exacerbate the problem dramatically. I recommend that you keep Kaycee indoors or shaded during peak sun hours. Also, confirm that the presence of fleas is not stimulating her immune system.

Vitamin E (applied as a liquid to the area, or given orally at a dose recommended by your vet) may help reduce irritation. Some people have had success treating the syndrome with topical medications related to cortisone (assuming that the dog does not lick the medicine off). Others have resorted to using oral prednisone.

The syndrome usually is not painful. Therefore, many people choose to forego the more invasive treatments mentioned above. If you can control the problem without medicine, that is your best bet.

Photo Credit: Pamela Carls. Photo licensing information: CC

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