Alopecia X [“Coat Funk”]
Differentiation: Alopecia is the general term for abnormal hair loss. In Malamutes we expect radical seasonal coat changes, and most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the various hormonal mediators that must be in proper balance for the shed-and-growth cycle to proceed normally.
Departures from these normal hormone levels will usually result in noticeable symptoms besides hair-growth irregularities, which aids in their diagnosis. Most hormone-mediated alopecia can be successfully treated with chemotherapy.
Alopecia X, or Follicular Arrest, is hair loss not associated with such hormone imbalances, and is probably caused by a malfunction in the hair follicles themselves, since it occurs when all the regular hair growth triggers are still present.
For more information click HERE to view the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine web site on Hair Loss.
Over the past decade researchers have gradually eliminated various endocrine-shortage theories as the cause for Follicular Arrest. Current approaches focus on the changes which occur in the hair follicles themselves to produce hair growth cycles. The genetic causes for these changes have proven elusive, but work proceeds. To see the latest information on Canine Health Foundation grants, click HERE.