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Keywords:

  • Alopecia;
  • Endocrinopathy;
  • Hair cycle;
  • Hair follicle;
  • Hypothyroidism

The effects of hypothyroidism on canine skin were determined by comparing morphologic, morphometric, and hair cycle differences in skin biopsy samples from 3 groups of age- and gender-matched Beagle dogs: (1) euthyroid dogs; (2) dogs made hypothyroid by administration of 131I; and (3) dogs made hypothyroid and maintained in a euthyroid state by treatment with synthetic thyroxine. After 10 months of observation, there was slower regrowth of hair 2 months after clipping in the untreated-hypothyroid dogs. Untreated-hypothyroid dogs had a greater number of follicles in telogen and fewer hair shafts (ie, a greater number of hairless telogen follicles) than did the control group. The control dogs had a greater number of telogen follicles but the same number of hair shafts as the treated-hypothyroid group. Treated-hypothyroid dogs had the greatest number of follicles in the growing stage of the hair cycle (anagen). This study suggests that, at least in Beagles, induced hypothyroidism does not affect the pelage as dramatically as has been described in naturally occurring disease. This is because normal Beagles retain hair shafts in follicles for long periods, and the alopecia of hypothyroidism appears to evolve slowly because of the prolongation of this haired telogen stage. The evaluation of thyroxine-treated hypothyroid dogs demonstrates that thyroid hormone supplementation of Beagle dogs with induced hypothyroidism stimulates hair growth.