Greyhound Alopecia

Greyhound Baldness Study

Whilst there are of course numerous skin diseases that show as hair loss, it is well recognised amongst greyhound enthusiasts that a proportion of otherwise healthy greyhounds develop hair loss or a thinning of the hair coat in certain regions of their body, that seems to occur for no specific reason. When the hair loss affects the thighs, it is often called the ‘bald thigh syndrome’, but other body regions may also be affected. The extent of this hair loss or coat thinning can vary from mild to large areas of obvious hair loss. In any individual dog, the hair loss may be getting steadily better or worse, remain unchanged, or come and go.

Although there are numerous opinions on possible causes and treatments for this type of baldness, really very little is known about the extent of the problem, the cause, the heritability, the course, the prognosis or effective treatment. The problem is also not well recognised in the veterinary profession.

As part of a bigger study looking into this problem in different greyhound populations (including those in training), a questionnaire survey is being launched for retired greyhounds to find out how common hair loss/coat thinning is, which body areas are affected, and which factors are associated with it, as a basis for further studies. Importantly, all owners of retired greyhounds, whether affected by hair loss or not, are asked to take part in this study.

The questionnaire can be downloaded from http://www.rvc.ac.uk/Hospitals/QMH/Referrals/ClinicalTrials/Dermatology.cfm#alop. The survey is carried out strictly for scientific reasons. All information received will be treated with the strictest confidence.

The investigator responsible for this study is Dr Anke Hendricks, a European and RCVS Specialist and Lecturer in Veterinary Dermatology at the RoyalVeterinaryCollege, London. She loves greyhounds and has herself so far adopted three retired greyhounds, one of which continues to be quite bald even after 5 years as a pampered pet (see photo).