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Maltese has bald spot on head.

Species: Dog
Breed: Maltese
Age: 1-2 years
We have a two year old Maltese that had a small bald spot on her head when we got her as a puppy. When the hair didn’t grow back and she started scratching the spot until it would bleed, we got her tested for allergies. It turned out that she was allergic to some of the ingredients in her food and her diet was changed to avoid those ingredients. After all these changes her hair still has not grown back and her skin pigmentation is turning black on her head and around the ears. We have considered taking her to a pet dermatologist but it is very expensive. Can you offer any recommendations before we pay hundreds, maybe thousands trying to cure her skin problem? I have a picture that I can send if you provide your e-mail.

Thank you,
Derrick Kennedy


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi there Derrick and thanks for your question about Tyche. You can send your picture to drmarie@askavetquestion.com and I'll have a look at it and let you know what I think!

Thanks!


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Derrick...just wanted to let you know that I am going offline for the night. I'll keep an eye out for your email and send you a response in the morning!

Dr. Marie.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for the photos Derrick. That's certainly some unusual looking skin!

Is she still itchy? If not, it may be that whatever the problem is, it is gone, but there may be damage to the hair follicles and the hair may not grow back.

However, if she is still itchy there has to be something that we can treat. While allergies can cause skin problems it is quite unusual (but not impossible) for them to just affect the top of the head. We usually see itchiness in the feet and inside of the ears of an allergic dog.

If this were my case, I would be doing the following tests. (Likely some of these have been done by your vet already). I would do a skin scraping to look for parasites such as demodex or sarcoptic mange. I would also do a fungal culture to rule out ringworm. Likely she's already been tried on antibiotics, but that is something I would try as well.

Some little dogs like maltese dogs can get hair loss on their head because of too much use of an elastic. Sometimes this hair loss is permanent. However, it shouldn't really cause her to be itchy.

If all of the tests have been done and there is no answer then the next step is a skin biopsy. This really should tell us what the cause of the problem is. Your regular vet should be able to do a biopsy with a local anesthetic and some sedation (unless Tyche is a very uncooperative dog in which case she may need a general anesthetic).

With all that being said, sometimes it is less expensive to just see the specialist. These vets see all of the "unusual" cases and they may be able to pinpoint the problem with fewer tests.

I hope this information helps! Let me know if you need more clarification at all.

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.