ALOPECIA is characterised by the absence of hair or by its loss from areas where it is normally present. It may be congenital or acquired and may reflect a cutaneous problem or may be the consequence of underlying internal diseases, the recognition of which is fundamental for the health of an animal. A variety of pruritic and non-pruritic diseases, such as those caused by ectoparasites (eg, scabies and demodicosis), dermatophytes, bacterial or yeast infections, and hypersensitivities, may initially show patterns of focal or multifocal alopecia which, if incorrectly managed, can progress to produce a more or less symmetrical generalised alopecia. In this article, however, discussion is restricted to the approach to the diagnosis of diseases causing symmetrical alopecia in dogs, including diseases of the endocrine glands and of the hair follicle unit. These are usually characterised by a non-inflammatory, non-pruritic, progressive alopecia affecting the head, neck, flanks, perineal area and/or thighs.
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