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Mountain Dogs => Bernese Mountain Dog Discussions => : Berner_Mom August 08, 2008, 07:23:34 AM

: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: Berner_Mom August 08, 2008, 07:23:34 AM
I have heard of Berners getting a lot of "hot spots", and I'm wondering what exactly those are, and if this "allopecia" (loss of hair) on my puppy is a hot spot, and what you all did to help it get cured.

We had Tucker home about 2 weeks, when this big patch of fur on his right side just seemed to disappear overnight.  Its about 4 inches by 5 inches, almost round in shape, there is some sparse fur left, but basically its gone and we can see skin.

We thought it was maybe the harness rubbing on him, but the harness straps don't come anywhere near the place the fur was lost.  We thought it was food (and still could be food) but our vet says now that the food he is on is a good one, and that it should clear up the bald spot- if it was allergy/food related.

We have a vet appointment in 3 more days, as she said to bring him back if it wasn't cleared up and fur growing back in, and its not.

But I was wondering what all of your experiences were- thanks in advance for your replies!

Oh, also- I don't think its from bordom.  We haven't seen him licking/biting/scratching the area, though he is home a lone for part of the day (3 hours in morning, then 2-3 hours in the afternoon) and from what we can see on the video (yes, we set up a puppy cam!) he just sleeps in his kennel all that time.  We didn't catch him on tape at all biting/licking/scratching.

Again, thanks!
: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: People Whisperer August 08, 2008, 07:30:44 AM
If it was a hot spot you would know right away...those are really nasty

I have no idea what would cause the hair loss your puppy is going through ??? :-\ I know that Berners tend to have all kinds of issues and raw/cooked diet suits them the best. Keep us posted on what your vet has to say about it  :)
: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: kathryn August 08, 2008, 07:48:27 AM
I don't have a Berner but Shiner had Demodex mange when he was a puppy from the stress of a severe respiratory infection.  He also had an outbreak when he first came here but a good diet and a little time and he grew out of it. 

Kaila also had a run with red mange (puppy mange) when she was small also.  She grew out of it.  You might have your vet do a skin scraping just to be sure it's not a mange variety.

: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: kealoha812 August 09, 2008, 03:24:33 PM
Do you have kids?  If so - ask them! My golden had the same exact thing happen and we couldnt figure out what it was until one day my 5 year old son confessed " I shaved her with that pink shavey thing in the shower". of course I sat in disbelief - not that he would do it (he's all boy) but that she would let him! I asked what she did when he shaved her and he said "nutting - she just sat there". Guess he was playing groomer! her hair is still growing back in that spot!
: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: Berner_Mom August 09, 2008, 06:53:03 PM
kealoha812:   LOL that is too funny!  We have no living children, just one daughter in Heaven (see my signature below) but that was sort of our first thought, as Tucker had been to groomers the day before he woke up with the bald patch, and we kind of thought- at first- that maybe they were just overzealous with the clippers.  I actually called Petsmart when we noticed it, to question them as they were under instruction only to shampoo/blowdry and brush, and trim his nails, NOT to cut/shape his fur (its puppy fur, doesn't need cutting yet!).  I did look into the brand of shampoo they used on him, in case it was an allergic reaction, but its oatmeal based, and further use of the shampoo did not cause new spots.

Tucker is seeing the vet Tuesday, so hopefully we will get some answers and possible courses of treatment then.  I am going to have Dr. Barclay do skin scrapings, as a kind of mange is what I'm leaning towards.  My family border collie had mange near the end of his life, and this looks very similar.
: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: sc.trojans August 09, 2008, 09:07:21 PM
I have Berners and do Berner Rescue as well, so fosters coming through and have seen a lot in the breed.  It sounds like mange, as has been suggested, or I have also often seen significant immune response, including patches of hair loss from over vaccination.  

Remember that this is a VERY immune deficient breed, requiring very careful precautions not to over stimulate, or suppress the immune system or problems like this can be life long.  Take a look at everything that has been administered into Tucker's system before this arose - combo shot vaccines?  flea and tick chemicals? heartworm?  What I have just outlined here is already too high of a load for most Berner immune systems to handle and it often results in hot spots, demodectic mange, allergies, goopy eyes and ears and ultimately IBD - sadly all too common in the breed.  So if these things were not only administered too early, but all at once - you may have a clue what triggered this.  If not, consider chemicals in his environment.  Any new lawn chemicals applied just beforehand?  Household chemical cleaners used on surfaces he comes into contact with?  Etc.....

: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: Berner_Mom August 13, 2008, 06:19:11 AM
So.....had Tucker at the vet yesterday.  She did do skin scrapings, took enough for 8 slides.

The 8 slides were tested for various things, including parasites, mange and stuff I don't remember right now....Anyway, she called later with the results, and all the slides showed negative. 

So...this means we are back at square one.  She said his ears haven't flared up, (apparently food allergies show most in red, irritated looking ears, as well as itchy spots on skin etc...) and since there are no new spots, just the ones originally that came out, she's ruling out Tucker being allergic to what he is eating.

The fur that is present in the balding patches has been broken off, which means he's pulled it out- we just need to know why.

So he was given one treatment of Revolution, in case its a parasite they didn't catch on one of the 8 slides, and a 10 day course of antibiotics.  After the antibiotics are done, we'll go back and she'll look again.  If there are no signs of improvement, they will biopsy the area and do further testing.

Thanks for listening.
: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: sc.trojans August 13, 2008, 03:14:02 PM

I am sorry to hear this - as it makes the potential road tougher here.  It sounds like my biggest suspicion and the one I see far too often in the breed:  hypersensitive immune system from over stimulation.

Do you have other vets in your area to go to for a second opinion?  I would hate to see you pay $$$ on things like biopsies because your vet isn't looking internal at the immune system. Another opinion may help you zero in on the whole body picture.

Good luck!
: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: Berner_Mom August 13, 2008, 11:11:04 PM

I am sorry to hear this - as it makes the potential road tougher here.  It sounds like my biggest suspicion and the one I see far too often in the breed:  hypersensitive immune system from over stimulation.

Do you have other vets in your area to go to for a second opinion?  I would hate to see you pay $$$ on things like biopsies because your vet isn't looking internal at the immune system. Another opinion may help you zero in on the whole body picture.

Good luck!

Hmmmm....can you expand on "hypersensitive immune system from over stimulation"?  I have never heard of it (though I am new to the world of Berners...I did do research ages ago when we first got together and thought about getting a pup) I don't recall coming across this term (it was 8 years ago though).   I can go for a second opinion, its a huge practise and Tucker can see any one of the other vets- though you'll probably say a different vet practice would be the best bet...that might be harder to arrange, plus won't they just want to do the skin scrapings all over again?
: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: sc.trojans August 14, 2008, 05:59:55 PM
The immune system basically is only effective at doing its job and responding when needed to threats when it is strong and not over stimulated, or suppressed.  It can become a careful balance as a result to keep it strong, but modulated (not hypersensitive).

Allergies for example - are the biggest example of a hypersensitive immune system - an immune system that is so over active, it over reacts to things that are not true threats.

Dr. Incao still has the best write up to explain how vaccines work and over stimulate the immune system.  Keep in mind that this is what vaccines are designed to do - stimulate the immune system, but no one can offer guarantees on how each immune system will respond.  We know at this point, that Beagles and Pugs do not respond the way Berners do as Berners are immune deficient and highly prone to auto-immune disease.  Take a look at this article, as well as others by Dr. Jean Dodds DVM, and Dr. Ronald Schultz to understand immune stimulation and over stimulation.,%20M.D.pdf

In essence, we start with a weak immune system (breed genetics) - we add a vaccine load that they are not genetically equipped to handle (even just one shot can do DNA damage and over whelm the immune system).  Then anything else that is presented to the neurological and immune systems to handle/process/or filter - will just be an added load.  All foreign agents, including chemicals, pesticides, adjuvants, and toxins further burden the immune system - so Revolution, other flea and tick pesticides, heartworm etc. - not good on Berners as I have yet to find a healthy one able to handle this load (and I see a lot).

So I said what I did because it is clear that your vet does not know this breed - or would never have suggested Revolution on top of what could possibly already be an adverse immune response (the skin is referred to as the 3rd kidney, as it is responsible like the liver and kidney, for performing a filtering and detoxing function and so much of what we consume, comes from the inside out and shows in our skin).  The addition of antibiotics are weakening on the GI Tract - they strip the tract in fact and 70% of the immune system is in the GI Tract (see other posts of all of the GI Tract issues from immune responses) and so it is really important that as soon as the antibiotic course is done, you begin administering probiotics right away, twice a day to replinish the beneficial flora in the gut and help repair the lining.

Another vet should be able to provide an opinion without pushing skin scrapings.  I have three vets for example and none would have even started with a skin scraping as a matter of course in this case.  Try to call around and find someone who understands immune deficiency, risk of vaccines, and can take a different approach to Tucker's case.  They should listen to your history and everything that has been administered, dates of, etc. to help piece together a treatment plan.

You may also want to consider joining the Berner-L, the largest Berner discussion group in the world.  I moderate a Berner list for people who feed whole fresh food (raw or cooked) and raise naturally without chemicals and pesticides - just so you can appreciate the issue in this breed, my NaturalBerners list has almost 1,000 members and is the single biggest Breed specific natural rearing list on the web - there is a reason for that :)

: Re: Allopecia (sp?) on my 5 month BMD
: Berner_Mom October 17, 2008, 02:22:07 AM
I thought I had posted this already, but I don't see it here so I must be mistaken...

The baldy patches totally cleared up on their own.  We never did figure out what caused it.  Perhaps a combination of transitioning from yucky food to good, superior food?  Who knows.  Tucker's coat is growing in thick and healthy now (and turning wavy, much to my delight!) and the patches that were there are completely gone now.