He was neutered at an early age due to being a cryptorchid. (This was done prior to any indication of a hair loss problem.)
Probably around 2 years of age, I noticed his hair was getting a tinge of red (on the black) and the texture was changing. Without testing, my friend, a very good veterinarian with a specialty in breeding Poms and in dermatology, just told me to put him on thyroid medicine. So, that is what I did. His coat stayed about the same for 3 or 4 years. I sent him off to stay with a trainer to sharpen up his retrieve, etc. before showing him in open obedience. While there, his coat really started to deteriorate. It was then that I really began investigating what all could be the cause. I tried Melatonin, antifungal baths and rinses, testosterone, etc.
When he was really bald, I took him to a veterinary dermatologist. He took one look at him and said he had Alopecia X. He said I could put him on Lysodren and have a coated, dead dog or leave him alone and have a bald, live dog.
J'son was super healthy other than the coat loss. So, I took my little guy home, bought him some "clothes" and accepted the fact that he was going to be a Chinese Crested instead of a Pom.
It wasn't until he was about 11 that I became concerned when he started losing weight. When all his bloodwork, urinalysis, etc. turned out normal that I asked the vet to do a full thyroid panel on him. Over the years, when his hair loss worsened, we'd upped his Soloxine. Well, the results of the thyroid test showed that he was getting way too much Soloxine! I reduced the dosage by half and approximately 4 weeks later, he began growing hair! Also, his black skin began sloughing off. I would say it took about a year for him to coat up.
J'son when when he was about midway in his recoating process - at 11 ½ years of age.
His "trunk" was very sparsely covered with hair at this point.
I don't have any pictures of J'son when he was bald, but he looked pretty much like all the others.
Today, he has a very thick coat with guard hair and undercoat. His tail is still not normal and the insides of his thighs are not fully coated but everywhere else is. He is still on a low dose of thyroid.
Jíson today - at 14 ½ years of age.
(I trim some of the long guard hair off - easier to keep him groomed. So, the darker guard hair is not as visible).
He is still very spry. He's really been an extremely healthy dog, probably the healtiest Pom I have ever owned.
Thanks to Vicky for sharing J'son's story!
Photos © Vicky