Color dilution alopecia (CDA) in French Brittanys

Color dilution alopecia (CDA):

CDA is a genetic recessive inherited condition that causes patches of hair thinning or loss, and may also include flaky and/or itchy skin. CDA has started showing up in the French Brittanys in the United States. It's hard to pen point what line's welcomed it but it is very easy to test for. The condition is associated with individuals who have what is called “dilute” color.

Color-dilute individuals carry a recessive color gene – dd – and demonstrate blue, blueish grey, lavender, or flesh colored lips, noses, and eyelids. Deeply colored individuals carry either DD or Dd genes and demonstrate either black or liver noses, lips, and eyelids.

What caused my French Brittany to lose its hair in these areas?

The actual cause of CDA is poorly understood. Dogs with CDA tend to have abnormalities in the hair follicles themselves, causing them to self-destruct, making it impossible for them to grow new hairs.

Do I need to worry about my dog’s overall health status now that it has been diagnosed with CDA?

No. Other than her overall appearance, her health is not at risk.

That said, there may be some skin specific issues that will emerge and need to be treated. Your dog may develop scaly skin in the bald areas. She may also develop small bumps or even pustules associated with a bacterial skin infection. Some dogs with CDA will experience itching that may need to be managed.

Is CDA curable?

While CDA is not curable, it is fairly straightforward to manage. Your veterinarian will determine the best way to proceed. Management may involve shampoos, rinses, and/or ointments to manage dry skin, scaling or superficial infections. If needed, your veterinarian may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat a more severe skin infection. There may also be nutritional recommendations to maximize skin health in the face of CDA.

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