Treatment for Alopecia ?

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Treatment for Alopecia ?

Hi All -

Have any of your bulldogs ever been afflicted with alopecia? I took my 2-year-old to the vet yesterday, thinking he had demodex (which he had as a young puppy). The skin scraping did not find any mites, so the vet is thinking that it's alopecia. Is this a common problem? I know this breed has many skin ailments, but I've never seen this one.

The vet prescribed Otomax ointment to apply to topically the dark patches on his coat, and an antibiotic. She couldn't tell me how long it would take to cure this condition. Do any of you have any experience with this? I just need to know what to expect, and what you found to be helpful in treating it quickly.

Thanks so much for any suggestions you can give.



Hi Micki,

One side seems to be improving a little bit. The other side is still bald (the judges side, of course).

I might start the fish oil pills & melatonin. She's been on melatonin before but I took her off it a few months before I bred her.


Sue, have you seen improvement in Opal's coat since she had the puppies? Beulah's began around 18 mos. of age, but her coat came back beautifully after her first litter two years ago. It remained nice until the end of this winter--7 months since her spay. (She also had a litter last
April). Coincidentally, Buzi age 2, has started showing signs of this at the end of this winter. I'm just wondering if some cases are triggered by hormones. Both have had thyroid testing by Dr. Dodds and are fine.
Love them Bulldogs!


2 of my 4 bulldogs have had it. Opal's show career has come to a screeching hault because of it.

I think you'll find now that the days are longer and the sun is stronger the hair will start growing back. The seasonal thing is that during the winter months & lack of sunlight the hair becomes very thin on the sides. As the days get longer the hair grows back.

I also don't think the Otomax will do anything and neither will the antibiotic.


Thanks so much for getting back to me. It's so nice getting advice from people with so much experience!

Do either of you know how long it takes for the fish oil or melatonin to eliminate the patches? I add olive oil to Tank's food about once a week per Helen's suggestion on this forum. It keeps his coat and skin in great condition except for this one-time patch onset. The dark spot is located on his flank, just on a small area on one side. He hasn't had much exposure to sunlight outdoors since we live in the northeast and are still experiencing colder-than-normal temps so I don't have him outside on our deck for long. A vitamin D deficiency is a possibility.

I was surprised by the Otomax prescription, too, but was told that it is to kill any bacteria that may be lurking in Tank's hair follicles. We'll see what happens, I guess. She said it could take weeks and weeks for the black patch to go away, so I'm not hopeful that the Otomax will work - in that amount of time, it may have just gone away by itself. I'm not comfortable with this but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. I'll also look into this thyroid issue and at the links in your message. Never thought of that, and neither did this vet, who wants to biopsy the skin if the otomax treatment is ineffective. I'm inclined to start the melatonin or fish oil before I undertake that route.

Hair loss / Dark patches

From what you describe, I'm guessing that the hair loss & dark patches might be on his sides? This is usually typical of two things:

1) thyroid condition
2) flank alopecia

You mentioned that your vet did a skin scraping, but has she also ruled out a thyroid condition? I would recommend starting with running a complete thyroid panel. If his thyroid is abnormal, it can be regulated with medication. If results come back normal, then his problem is likely flank alopecia.

Flank alopecia is simply hair loss, and it usually appears in symmetrical patches on the flanks. It seems to be somewhat common in bulldogs. In some dogs it's seasonal, and in others it's year-round. My bitch, Pepper, has had it since she was about 3-4 years old, and it's not seasonal. It's purely a cosmetic issue, and doesn't affect their health at all.

The cause isn't really known, except that it could be a vitamin D deficiency caused by lack of sunlight. I know some vets that have prescribed daily sun-bathing (supervised, of course, so he doesn't over-heat). It can help in some cases. Another treatment that has worked for some is Melatonin. Dosage is usually anywhere from 3-12mg per day, depending on the dog.

Here are a couple of articles that you may want to reference:

Good luck!

P.S. I'll be really surprised to hear if the Otomax helps at all. This is the first time I've heard a vet prescribe it for alopecia. If it works, I may just have to try it!

re alopecia

We give our guys fish oil capsules when they start with this. Some people use Melatonin too but I don't know the dosage. With the fish oil, start out with one capsule for a couple of days and then increase to one am and one pm. You can buy the people kind at Costco or Walmart.

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