Thursday, 21 November 2013

Alopecia X



Our critics, the fear-mongers among us, refuse to acknowledge that this is the official position of the Veterinary Medical Community. These same critics, who have told very bold lies about us, don’t want people to know the truth. As long as they can perpetuation fear and keep people ignorant, they can continue their personal agendas to exact revenge on certain other breeders and to sell over priced soap.

These individuals have sunk so low that they have publically disparaged the Alopecia X Survey (links below) and the accredited scientist who designed it and who will be responsible for analysing the data.  This is surely proof that their true interest lies not in the best interest of our breed, but instead in personal agenda.


To these critics I ask you to:


1. Show me one official necropsy report that says the dog died of Alopecia X.

2. Show me one official veterinary diagnosis that says Alopecia X is the cause of a birth defect.

3. Show me one published comment by the Veterinary Medical community that states that Alopecia X is shortening the lifespan of our Pomeranians.

4. Show me one published comment or diagnosis that states that Alopecia X is proven to cause fertility issues.

5. Show me one published comment or diagnosis which states that any systemic condition is fully attributable to Alopecia X.


Alopecia X, sometimes called BSD (black skin disease) is a ‘hairloss’ condition which has been known to affect several of the Nordic breeds. It’s more common in younger males but has presented in females and older dogs. There are many theories and much confusion surrounding this condition. As the science progresses, we will learn more about causation and hopefully develop a protocol for breeders to follow when deciding on mating pairs. Dogs that are affected with this problem are not sick. They are not in pain and they do not have a shorter life expectancy than dogs that are not affected.


We believe that too many coat issues are written-off to Alopecia X, rather than doing adequate and sometimes costly testing. There are too many inconsistencies in symptoms, age, sex and recoating and therefore we believe that some of this is due to misdiagnosis. This only adds to the confusion and certainly to the divisiveness of this issue. As typically defined by the veterinary establishment, Alopecia X is a characteristic coat loss where there are no other obvious causes or systemic symptoms.


We are interested in learning more about the health of Pomeranians in general and the specifics of Alopecia X. The incorrect term “black skin disease” is often used, and though it may imply to some that the dogs are sick, the term disease is defined medically as follows: disease /dis•ease/ (di-zez´) any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of any body part, organ, or system that is manifested by a characteristic set of symptoms and signs and whose etiology, pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown.


This does not mean that a dog is sick, or sickly or dying if it is characterized as “diseased”. Clearly there is a deviation from the normal coated situation in the structure and function of the hair follicles, whose etiology is not completely defined. Alopecia X is the correct term and is a CONDITION that is apparently hereditary that likely relates to improper signaling in the cell cycle. Dogs can suffer any or all other illnesses concurrently with Alopecia X. Thus far there has been no evidence that there is an immune link: there appears not to be one as the condition is non-inflammatory and despite years of study by vets to determine the cause, no consistent diagnosis of compromised immunity has been made, or an autoimmune link. We encourage further study where someone may believe there is a link.


We are not opposed to any conclusion and we have no vested interest in either the idea that Alopecic dogs are sick or are not sick, we simply would like the most accurate, up-to-date and supported information on Alopecia X. Many people state with certainty that these dogs are sick because they have experienced a sick dog that also has had coat loss. This alone does not prove there is a link. We are yet to see any confirmed evidence that any specific illness is linked to true Alopecia X coat loss.


In order to “diagnose” Alopecia X, vets have to do many tests for hormonal levels, including thyroxine to rule out a thydroid issue, adrenal hormones to rule out Cushing’s, etc. A skin biopsy can suggest signs that support the diagnosis of Alopecia X, but there is nothing that is definitive and solely characteristic of Alopecia X. Rather, it is the lack of an apparent cause, along with the dermatological evaluation and clinical manifestations that support a diagnosis of Alopecia X.


Some other conditions that cause hair loss are discussed here, which is a site associated with Dr. Linda Frank, a leading scientist in the dermatological study of coat loss in dogs. She is probably the best “expert” on Alopecia X. Dr. Frank confirms on this site that there “There are no systemic signs associated with this condition.“ If you see other signs and symptoms you should be looking for a health-related cause of the coat loss.


 To be clear; we are not advocating that bald dogs are normal. Nor do we wish to see Standard’s change to include coat loss as a type. No, we believe that our beloved breed is in a crisis situation and that coat loss is unacceptable. We will not standby however while inaccurate and unsubstantiated statements are made. Our critics have made defamatory statements against us, in effort to discredit us while furthering their own agenda of fear mongering and self promotion. All we ask for is truth. It is our ardent hope that all Pomeranian breeders world-wide will employ selective breeding techniques to attempt to reduce instances of Alopecia X, be open and honest about test and breeding results and to please, also donate to the research.


Rick and Paul


Below is an extensive list of Veterinary Medical professionals who state emphatically, in print, that Alopecia X is a COSMETIC aesthetic condition with no systemic signs.

Where is the list of professionals who state emphatically in print that it is not?


Mar Vista Animal Medical Center 3850 Grand View Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90066 (310) 391-6741 “Alopecia X is a cosmetic condition. It may make the dog look funny, but it does not cause harm.


Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DABVP Educational Director, “Alopecia X is a cosmetic condition.


Animal Dermatology Clinic of BC Dr.Charach Dr. Bajwa “Treatment- Observation without treatment is reasonable because this disease is purely cosmetic and affected dogs are otherwise healthy.” “This is a cosmetic disease only that does not affect the dogs quality of life.


Dr. Adelia Ritchie “For many dogs with this disease, there appear to be no other symptoms and the disease can be regarded as cosmetic.


Proceeding of the NAVC North American Veterinary Conference Jan. 8-12, 2005, Orlando, Florida “This disease is just an aesthetic problem...


Mr David Scarff BVetMed CertSAD MRCVS Dr Rosanna Marsella DVM DipACVD Prof Linda Frank MS DVM DACVD “Prognosis : good for health since this is a cosmetic disease but poor for permanent hair regrowth.


Dr. Linda A. Frank “There are no systemic signs associated with this condition.


British Small Animal Veterinary Association BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Endocrinology, 3rd edition “...nothing more than a cosmetic problem.


McKeever Dermatology Clinics, Inc. “Alopecia X does not affect the animal’s health as the condition is solely cosmetic.”


Paul D. Bloom, DVM “...if a diagnosis of Alopecia X is made then the client is counseled about the choice in treating a cosmetic disease w/potent drugs.


Ron Hines DVM PhD “...only a cosmetic annoyance.


Small Animal Dermatology By Anita Patel, BVM, DVD, MRCVS and Peter J. Forsythe, BVM&S, DVD, MRCVS “Alopecia X is a benign, essentially cosmetic, condition.



Pomeranians Karla S. Rugh D.V.M. Ph.D. “Since Alopecia X is solely cosmetic...

Pomeranians For Dummies D. Caroline Coile, Ph.D “Alopecia X is mostly a cosmetic condition.


Patrick Hensel,, DACVD Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery College of Veterinary Medicine University of Georgia Athens, GA 30602 CVC Highlight: Clearing it all up: A review of new dermatology drugs “While this is not considered a severe disease but more of a cosmetic problem...


Elizabeth Wells, Ph.D. - Michigan State University “Alopecia X is the name given to a cosmetic condition found primarily in Nordic breeds of dogs, as well as miniature and toy poodles.


Dr. Howard Silberman – Veterinarian Tri-County Animal Hospital “Alopecia X is a cosmetic condition.


Index of Diseases Animal Allergy & Dermatology of Colorado 3515 American Dr. Unit A Colorado Springs, CO 80917 “Alopecia X is a cosmetic disorder.


Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Canine and Feline, Fifth Edition, Larry P. Tilley and Francis W.K. Smith, Jr. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. “Alopecia X is a cosmetic condition.


There are many many more as any internet search will prove because this is the official position of the Veterinary Medical community, but this extensive list of veterinary professionals and publications should be adequate attribution for our position. The onus is on the naysayer to prove otherwise.



Suggested Reading:


Please participate in the Alopecia X survey:


Friday, 18 October 2013

The smile of your eyes
the warmth of your kiss
your speedy full tail
waved sunshine and bliss
You were always so happy
so filled with glee
You danced the circles
for everyone to see
The life of a breeder
not always so lucky
Our tears and attention
may not save the puppy
You came to us ailing
not well we could see
Our efforts not enough
long life not to be
You smiled and then left us
we’re broken in pain
A piece of our heart
now gone with your name
We huddle the rest
our pack in their den
With hope for tomorrow
it won’t happen again
The sadness behind us
new joy now in sight
A new life in hand
oh please get it right
The circle continues
we all play our parts
It’s a gamble, not a game
because we all risk our hearts.
Georgie – July 15, 2013 – October 17, 2013

Sunday, 15 September 2013

 A Letter From A Puppymill Puppy

                  -author unknown-


                  I don't remember much of the place where I was born. It was cramped and dark, and we were never played with by the humans. I remember Mom and her soft fur, but she was often sick, and very thin. She had hardly any milk for me and my brothers and sisters. I remember many of them dying, and I missed them so.


                  I do remember the day I was taken from Mom. I was so sad and scared, my milk teeth had only just come in, and I really should have been with Mom still, but she was so sick, and the Humans kept saying that they wanted money and were sick of the "mess" that me and my sister made.


                  So we were crated up and taken to a strange place. Just the two of us. We huddled together and were scared, still no human hands came to pet or love us. So many sights and sounds, and smells! We are in a store where there are many different animals! Some that squawk! some that meow! Some that Peep! My sister and I are jammed into a small cage, I hear other puppies here. I see humans look at me, I like the 'little humans', the kids. They look so sweet, and fun, like they would play with me! All day we stay in the small cage, sometimes mean people will hit the glass and frighten us, every once in a while we are taken out to be held or shown to humans. Some are gentle, some hurt us, we always hear 'Aw they are So cute! I want one!" but we never get to go with any.


                  My sister died last night, when the store was dark. I lay my head on her soft fur and felt the life leave her small thin body. I had heard them say she was sick, and that I should be sold at a "discount price" so that I would quickly leave the store. I think my soft whine was the only one that mourned for her as her body was taken out of the cage in the morning and dumped.


                  Today, a family came and bought me! Oh happy day! They are a nice family, they really, really wanted me! They had bought a dish and food and the little girl held me so tenderly in her arms. I love her so much! The mom and dad say what a sweet and good puppy I am! I am named Angel. I love to lick my new humans! The family takes such good care of me, they are loving and tender and sweet. They gently teach me right and wrong, give me good food, and lots of love! I want only to please these wonderful people! I love the little girl and I enjoy running and playing with her.


                  Today I went to the veterinarian. it was a strange place and I was frightened. I got some shots, but my best friend the little girl held me softly and said it would be OK. So I relaxed. The Vet must have said sad words to my beloved family, because they looked awfully sad. I heard Severe Hip Dysplasia, and something about my heart... I heard the vet say something about, back yard breeders and my parents not being tested. I know not what any of that means, just that it hurts me to see my family so sad. But they still love me, and I still love them very much!


                  I am 6 months old now. Where most other puppies are robust and rowdy, it hurts me terribly just to move. The pain never lets up. It hurts to run and play with my beloved little girl, and I find it hard to breathe. I keep trying my best to be the strong pup I know I am supposed to be, but it is so hard. It breaks my heart to see the little girl so sad, and to hear the Mom and Dad talk about 'it might now be the time." Several times I have went to that veterinarians place, and the news is never good. Always talk about Congenital Problems. I just want to feel the warm sunshine and run, and play and nuzzle with my family.


                  Last night was the worst, Pain has been my constant companion now, it hurts even to get up and get a drink. I try to get up but can only whine in pain. I am taken in the car one last time. Everyone is so sad, and I don't know why. Have I been bad? I try to be good and loving, what have I done wrong? Oh if only this pain would be gone! If only I could soothe the tears of the little girl. I reach out my muzzle to lick her hand, but can only whine in pain.


                  The veterinarian’s table is so cold. I am so frightened. The humans all hug and love me, they cry into my soft fur. I can feel their love and sadness. I manage to lick softly their hands. Even the vet doesn't seem so scary today. He is gentle and I sense some kind of relief for my pain. The little girl holds me softly and I thank her, for giving me all her love. I feel a soft pinch in my foreleg. The pain is beginning to lift, I am beginning to feel a peace descend upon me. I can now softly lick her hand.


                  My vision is becoming dreamlike now, and I see my Mother and my brothers and sisters, in a far off green place. They tell me there is no pain there, only peace and happiness. I tell the family, goodbye in the only way I know how, a soft wag of my tail and a nuzzle of my nose. I had hoped to spend many, many moons with them, but it was not meant to be. "You see," said the veterinarian, "Pet shop puppies do not come from ethical breeders." The pain ends now, and I know it will be many years until I see my beloved family again. If only things could have been different.


                              This story was not written by me, it came to me with the following note.

                              (This story may be published or reprinted in the hopes that it will stop unethical breeders and those who breed only for money and not for the betterment of the breed


Friday, 4 January 2013



(sometimes called  BSD or black skin disease)
Alopecia X, sometimes called BSD (black skin disease) is a ‘hairloss’ condition which has been known to affect several of the Nordic breeds, including the Pomeranian. It’s more common in younger males but has presented in females and older dogs. There are many theories and much confusion surrounding this condition. As the science progresses, we will learn more about causation and hopefully develop a protocol for breeders to follow when deciding on mating pairs.
The Pomeranian Club of Canada has taken a leading role in collecting important data to aid in understanding this disease. It is important that we answer one set of survey questions for each purebred pomeranian dog we own, living or diseased. All purebred Pomeranians whether pets or show/breeding dogs should be entered into the survey. Your participation is appreciated and important to the cause. Please click the link below and help us help the dogs.