If your English bulldog is losing his hair -- whether in small patches or large bald spots -- take him to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. English bulldogs are vulnerable to a variety of conditions that cause hair loss, including mange.
Most dogs carry small numbers of demodectic mange mites on their bodies with no apparent problem. That's also true of some bulldogs, but demodectic manage is a relatively common issue in the breed. A puppy with a mild case may simply experience a small patch of hair loss, but a severely affected older bulldog may develop bacterial and yeast infections, constant scratching and a foul smell, in addition to bald areas. Your vet will diagnose the presence of mites via a skin scraping. Treatment includes:
- Oral ivermectin to kill mites
- Antibiotics or antifungal medications to kill bacterial or yeast infections
- Medication for itch relief
- Bathing with medicated shampoos.
Because demodectic mange in bulldogs often indicates an underlying metabolic or immune system disorder, your vet likely will conduct further testing to get to the bottom of the issue.
Find a veterinarian experienced with bulldogs to treat your pet. Certain diseases, including those affecting the skin, are rare in other canines but common in bulldogs.
Seasonal Flank Alopecia
If your bulldog is losing hair on his flanks and/or back, he may suffer from seasonal flank alopecia, also known as cyclic follicular dysplasia. His overall coat becomes dry, and the skin in the area of hair loss may darken. Generally, the hair loss starts in the spring or autumn, and may last for up to six months. The good news is that your bulldog's hair eventually should grow back, but the cycle could start up again in the spring or autumn. The hormonal supplement melatonin may offer relief. While this supplement is available over the counter, always consult your veterinarian for product recommendation and dosage.
Hypothyroidism and Hair Loss
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid glands don't produce enough of this metabolism-regulating hormone. Early symptoms may include hair loss, along with other skin issues including bacterial and fungal infections. Your bulldog may experience temperament changes, including aggression. Other symptoms include:
- Cold intolerance
- Weight gain or loss
- Slow heart rate
Exercise intolerance is another sign of hypothyroidism, but bulldogs often don't tolerate much exercise when in the best of health. Your vet can diagnose hypothyroidism from blood tests and prescribe thyroid pills for your bulldog. He must take this medication for the rest of his life, but should soon be on the mend. Maybe he'll even want to get some exercise.