Dilution alopecia is also called fawn Doberman syndrome, blue Doberman syndrome, blue dog disease, color dilution alopecia or color mutant alopecia. "Alopecia" simply means baldness. Although dilution alopecia can affect other dog breeds, it most often appears in Doberman pinschers. This is an incurable genetic disease, but it will not kill the dog.
All puppies with the condition will be born looking normal. Symptoms of color dilution alopecia do not appear until the dog is anywhere from 6 months to 3 years old, although the Southwest Ohio Doberman Rescue has reported seeing it in puppies as young as 4 months old. Symptoms will continue for the rest of the dog's life.
The coat will begin thinning along the back. The hair becomes brittle and falls off. The bald patches spread, often to the face, belly and legs. The skin of these bald patches becomes very rough, develops what looks like dandruff and is often covered in bumps. These bumps can be pimples, blackheads or pustules. These bumps may open and ooze pus.
Despite the common names of fawn Doberman syndrome and blue Doberman syndrome, color dilution alopecia can happen in many other breeds of dogs, particularly those with blue or fawn coloring. These breeds include chow chow, Italian greyhound, whippets, Great Danes, Newfoundlands, Irish setters and standard poodles.
Genes cause color dilution alopecia. Just how the genes work or are linked to diluted dog colors is unknown. A diluted dog color means that the base color has white mixed with it. Diluted black dog coats cause the blue coloration and a diluted red coat causes the fawn or reddish-tan coloration. Dog owners should not breed any dog with color dilution alopecia.
Many other reasons exist for why a dog could suddenly lose hair and get rough, scaly, bumpy skin, according to "Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook." These include thyroid problems, ringworm, mange, allergies or zinc-responsive dermatosis, which zinc supplements can cure. Owners should have a veterinarian examine the affected dog's skin and hair in order to get a correct diagnosis.
Owners can slow down the rate of hair loss and skin irritation by always bathing the dog in the gentlest shampoos possible. Antibiotic rinses and gentle moisturizing lotions made for dogs can also help make the dog more comfortable, according to the Canine Inherited Disorders Database.