Injection Site Alopecia

      Alopecia means loss of hair. Although there are many causes of hair loss in a pet, focal loss of hair may be due to injections.
      Some pet owners may first notice a small round or oval patch of hair loss, usually in the shoulder or neck region. This is generally the site where injection are given.
      These injections may be rabies or distemper/parvo vaccines, corticosteriods or other injectable compounds. In some cases, the use of injected steroids can cause the hair follicles to atrophy and hair to fall out. In most cases, hair will regrow when the follicle is no longer influenced by the steroid levels.
      Rabies vaccine injections may affect any dog but is more commonly seen in certain breeds: small-breeds, especially Poodles. Bichon Frises, Shih Tzus and Yorkshire and Silky Terriers.
      Hair loss from an injection usually begins to occur within a few months but may not be obvious for up to 6 months. This extended period of time causes some owners to overlook the correlation of the vaccine injection to the affected area.
      In some cases widespread hair loss will continue to involve the back and limbs, fortunately, this is a relatively uncommon condition. It may take months and up to year for hair to regrow and the hair may return darker or lighter from its original color. In the case of rabies vaccine reactions, the hair loss is often permanent.
      The effects of the condition are primarily cosmetic. Treatment is supportive although a medication called pentoxifylline may help to increase the blood flow into the area and allow for better oxygen penetration to the hair follicle to help with improving the possibility of hair growth. Surgical removal of the residual scar can be performed in some cases. Identification and avoidance of the likely trigger is important to prevent additional reactions and possible more severe reactions upon subsequent exposure.

Help Shelter Pets This Season

      It is that time of the year that we ask you to consider making a donation to your local animal shelter or favorite pet rescue program.
      Shelters run on the thinnest of budgets and many that fall under city or county budgets have felt the pinch of decreased revenues. Many rescues are volunteer-run organizations and rely solely upon fundraising events and donations to maintain operations.
      On page four of this newsletter are but a few of shelters that may be in your area. If a monetary donation is not possible, call and ask them if blankets, towels or pet food are needed. In some cases, expired or unneeded medication is accepted at shelters. A staff veterinarian at the shelter will review the usability of these medications at the facility.
      Perhaps your unique skills can be utilized! Offering needed services could fill a need in the way of printing, tech support or maybe handyman assistance. Just ask!
      Finally, if and when it comes time to accept a new pet into your home, consider visiting a shelter or rescue organization to make that adoption.

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Article Highlights Role of Veterinary Specialists

      Animal Dermatology Clinic was highlighted in the recent article “The Specialist’s Role in Veterinary Healthcare”, Debra Channick, PhD. The article was published in The Courier, the official magazine of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America.
      Dr. Channick interviews a number of veterinary specialists as well as general medicine veterinarians and discusses the growing role of the specialist as an extension of pet care through the primary veterinarian.
Veterinary specialists may invest in equipment that cost tens of thousands of dollars but it is impractical for the general veterinarian to purchase such equipment when possibly it will be used intermittently. When the general veterinarian encounters a difficult or unusual case, it may be a routine patient due to the volume that similar cases are frequently seen with a specialist.
      The primary veterinarian is the first step in the routine and general health of a pet. Regular check-ups with the primary veterinarian are advised to monitor and identify changes in your pet’s health and to address those issues early when they are potentially easier to treat. But should an illness or condition become chronic or beyond the scope of the primary veterinarian, the resources of a veterinary specialist are readily available.

(To read the full article The Specialist’s Role in Veterinary Healthcare, please go to and look under Tips & Information.)

FDA Cautions Dowg Owners About Chicken Jerky Products

      The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a cautionary warning to dog owners regarding the rise of reported pet illnesses possibly linked to chicken jerky treats imported from China. The chicken jerky is also sold as chicken tenders, strips or treats.
      In the past 12 months the FDA has seen an increased number of these complaints from veterinarians and dog owners.
      The FDA previously issued a cautionary warning regarding chicken jerky products in September 2007 and a Preliminary Animal Health Notification in December 2008. Complaints dropped in the latter part of 2009 and most of 2010, but the FDA is now seeing the number complaints rise again.
      For pet owners who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products the FDA advises that dogs are watched closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours or days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Consult your veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours.
      The FDA is continuing their investigation to isolate the problem and its origin. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky. If you suspect a food illness associated with pet foods, a report may be submitted to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your state or go to
      This article has been posted on the Animal Dermatology Clinic website in ‘Recent News’ and in ‘Tips & Information’.

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As specialists, we stay current on new research and treatments and are actively involved with the research. Our dermatology practice is not limited to small animals and we often have equine and occasionally exotic patients. Learn More >