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Vet Dermatol. 2012 Jun;23(3):206-e44. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3164.2012.01049.x.

Canine noninflammatory alopecia: a comprehensive evaluation of common and distinguishing histological characteristics.

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Institute of Animal Pathology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Länggassstrasse 122, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland.



Noninflammatory alopecia is a frequent problem in dogs, and the pathogenesis is still unclear.


The objective of this study was a comparative histological description of skin biopsies from dogs with different alopecic disorders and control dogs matched for coat type, season and disease duration.


Twenty-one cases of alopecia X in plush-coated dogs, 12 cases of recurrent flank alopecia, three cases of hyperestrogenism, 15 cases of hyperadrenocorticism, 12 cases of hypothyroidism and 12 cases of primary alopecic disorders of unknown cause were evaluated. The controls were biopsies from 38 dogs of different coat types.


We evaluated five serial sections of each biopsy histologically and immunohistologically to compare the histological findings within the disease groups and with the control.


All the dogs with hair cycle disorders had a significant increase in the number of hairless hair follicles, which we assigned to kenogen. In addition, dogs with alopecia X had the lowest percentage of anagen follicles and the highest percentage of telogen follicles.


The marked increase in kenogen follicles is a strong indication that the induction of the new anagen phase is impaired in hair cycle disorders. The findings in dogs with alopecia X further suggest that premature catagen is also involved in the pathogenesis. Further work to investigate the stem cell compartment and possible initiating factors for the different cycle phases is required to elucidate the exact pathogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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