If your dog struggled with a skin parasite such as demodectic mange, you've seen the toughened patches of skin that took the place of healthy fur. Parasites such as mange or fleas, and the agonizing itching that accompanies them, can be eradicated with veterinary supervision; but if your dog experiences slow hair regrowth, an underlying problem may exist.
Unless scar tissue developed due to the severity of his condition, typically a healthy dog’s hair will regrow after a bout with skin parasites. How fast, however, depends on outside factors as well as on the health of his immune system. If his diet is lacking in fatty acids, you can supplement with omega-3s with your vet's supervision. Oatmeal- or citrus-based shampoos are gentle and effective means of helping keep skin moisturized and follicles clean.
Fleas are tiny intruders that cause enormous problems. Some dogs are more sensitive to the saliva in flea bites than others, and excessive scratching can unbalance the natural bacteria in the skin. If your dog was given a clean bill of health after his treatment but he still seems itchy and his hair is slow to regrow, make sure you keep him on a monthly flea control product.
Allergies are brought on by many factors. Your dog may be sensitive to certain ingredients in his food or by outside irritants such as grasses or dust mites. Allergies can be more problematic during high pollen seasons. Allergy testing for dogs has improved greatly; today a simple blood draw can give your vet a list of your dog’s sensitivities. If certain allergens are unavoidable, an allergy serum can be compounded specifically for him to help build resistance. This serum is given by subcutaneous injections over time, and can be given by your vet or at home.
Certain skin parasites, such as the ones that cause mange, are natural mites that live within or around hair follicles and normally live peacefully with their host. Mange outbreak is most commonly seen in puppies whose immune system is still developing, allowing an overpopulation of the mite. When seen in adults, it often indicates a compromised immune system. If your dog is showing signs of slow hair regrowth, talk to your vet about running a full panel of blood work to look at kidney, liver and thyroid function.
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