Pictured on the left: Inigo at 10-years old after using CBD to treat his alopecia.
Inigo was only 4-years-old when large patches of his thick, black fur began falling out. The 15-pound rescue cat had always been a victim of allergies, constantly going through bouts of sneezing and itching, but when patches of fur were strewn about the carpet, his dad Otis began to worry.
As most pet owners know, cats and dogs shed. However, if your dog or cat is losing large patches or chunks of hair, or has developed black patches of skin, alopecia, may be to blame.
After a trip to the vet, Inigo was diagnosed with a combination of allergic and psychogenic alopecia. His parents were concerned but searched for homeopathic remedies to help treat Inigo’s condition and found that dog and cat moms and dads everywhere have the same question: what is alopecia and can it actually go away?
What is alopecia and what are the symptoms?
Alopecia, sometimes called Black Skin Disease, has a few tell-tale symptoms, including:
- Hair loss
- Patches of dark or black skin
- Bald patches that seem symmetrical
- Scaling and redness of the skin
- Inflammation and crusting around the bald patch
Left untreated, alopecia can cause more than just hair loss.According to PetMD, alopecia can affect a dog or cat’s skin, its endocrine system, its lymphatic system, and its immune systems. However, alopecia does not have to mean a lifetime of painful symptoms for your pet. Once you have determined the underlying cause, homeopathic treatments can provide your furry friend some relief.
Causes of alopecia in dogs and cats
To determine the cause of alopecia, your veterinarian will discuss the animal’s lifestyle, habits, and behaviors and may request a blood or skin sample. Then, the vet will determine the cause of the alopecia, which may include:
- Congenital alopecia– This type of alopecia is genetic and is apparent at birth. Usually, if you have a pet with congenital alopecia, you are aware of their hair loss or patches of dark skin and it requires little treatment.
- Parasitic alopecia – Parasitic alopecia is caused by fleas, ticks, mites, fungi, or lice. This type of alopecia is temporary and often your veterinarian will discuss lifestyle changes to help get the parasites out of your home and away from your pet.
- Allergic alopecia – Allergic alopecia, like the type that Inigo experienced, is caused by inflammation and is a response to an external or internal allergen. This can be caused by allergens in food, for example, animal byproducts, or can be caused by allergens in the environment, like an allergy to a specific detergent or even grass.
- Psychogenic alopecia– Psychogenic alopecia is caused by stress, anxiety, or depression. In Inigo’s case, his behaviors, such as obsessive licking or grooming, caused his alopecia to flare up. This also caused him to ingest more allergens directly from his own fur. For most animals, psychogenic alopecia can be a response to noise anxiety, tension with other pets in the home, or even separation anxiety.
- Hormonal disorders or imbalances – Your pet may have a disruption in their endocrine system, which can cause hormonal disorders and imbalances resulting in hair loss. This is most common in senior dogs and cats, but can occur at any age.
Ways to treat alopecia in dogs and cats
Once you have determined the cause of the alopecia, there are simple, easy ways to treat the underlying issue and improve your pet’s health.
- Remove allergens – If your pet was diagnosed with allergic alopecia, it is important to remove any of the allergens causing inflammation. This may require you to change their diet or even rinse their feet after coming in from outside. If you are not sure what the allergen is, switch your pet to a mild food and re-introduce foods and treats to find the cause. You may also need to investigate where their flare-ups happen the most to determine what they may be coming into contact with so that you can remove it.
- Find the cause of anxiety or stress – For Inigo, fear of loud noises and tension with another cat in the home were causing some of his stress-related flare-ups. After removing the cause of the stressor, Inigo improved tremendously. If removing the cause of the stressor is not an option, for example, if you live near a loud train track that causes anxiety or your pet is afraid of fireworks, CBD oil for dogs and cats can help take away the anxiety and stress.
- Reduce inflammation using turmeric, frankincense, and CBD oil- Rather than turn to a cocktail of prescription medications, Otis decided to try CBD to treat Inigo’s alopecia. Within a matter of weeks, he saw improvement. Now 10-years old, Inigo is able to enjoy relaxing on the porch with his coat in-tact. Full spectrum hemp CBD has numerous benefits for pets, but one of the biggest benefits is that it reduces inflammation and the essential fatty acids found in hemp seed oil promotes healthy skin and coat. We recommend using EASE CBD Oil for Dogs or EASE CBD Oil for Cats, which also contains turmeric and frankincense. Turmeric and frankincense both have incredible anti-inflammatory properties and have been proven to help with allergies and boosting the immune system.
- Apply topical CBD salves – Another natural way to treat the affected areas, especially when they are scaly, black, or inflamed, is through topical salves.REMEDY from CBD Dog Health combines full spectrum hemp CBD with a variety of other natural ingredients to not only heal the tissue that is inflamed, but to generate new, healthy skin. Natural CBD salves are also safe for pets to lick, so you can avoid putting them in a clumsy cone.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.
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Written by Krista Lyons at cbddoghealth.com