Hair loss in prairie dogs is not uncommon. In fact, it is one of a number of ailments that these animals can suffer, particularly in captivity. But why do prairie dogs lose their hair? What causes this hair loss, and when it occurs, is there anything that can be done about it?
Prairie dogs in captivity often suffer with disease that is caused by their diet. These animals should be fed a diet that is as close as possible to that found in their natural habitat. In the wild they eat plants, grasses, and leaves, but trying to replicate this exactly can be difficult. As a result, many captive prairie dogs are fed foods that are just not suitable for them. Ultimately, this can cause them to become overweight, or even obese. As you have probably surmised by now, this often leads to a range of diseases and disorders that can affect the general health and wellbeing of these creatures.
What Causes Hair Loss in Prairie Dogs?
There are a number of reasons why a prairie dog might lose its hair and a poor diet is one of them. If your pet is deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, it could suffer hair loss. Other causes include parasitic or fungal infection as well as constant rubbing of the body on metal cages.
Can Hair Loss in Prairie Dogs Be Treated?
If your pet is suffering hair loss, you should take it to a local vet for a diagnosis. It is important to identify the exact cause of the hair loss as this is what will determine the course of treatment required.
If a parasite infection is the cause, for example, the vet will likely recommend a treatment to kill the ticks or mites. A fungal infection will typically require a specific ointment or medication, which again, your vet will prescribe if necessary.
If the hair loss is not attributed to either a parasitic or fungal infection, the vet might run some blood tests to try to determine the cause. This will help to determine if your prairie dog is deficient in certain minerals and minerals or if there is another underlying cause.
The vet will be able to recommend a suitable diet for your prairie dog as well as sufficient vitamin and mineral supplements, if required.
Hair loss is not uncommon in captive prairie dogs. If your pet is losing hair and has bald patches, it is best to take it to the vet for a diagnosis. Vets are best placed to determine the cause and recommend the best way to treat the issue.
- Featured Image (A Pair of Prairie Dogs): Brocken Inaglory – CC BY-SA 3.0
- Prairie Dog as Pet: Nazgul03 – CC BY 2.0
- Black-Tailed Prairie Dog: Joe Ravi – CC BY-SA 3.0
- Prairie Dog in a Zoo: Twowells – CC BY-SA 3.0
- Prairie Dogs at Burrow Entrance: Curtis J. Carley – public domain
- A Prairie Dog and His Hole: Sidious1701 – public domain
- Prairie Dog – Paignton Zoo, UK: Steve Polkinghorne – CC BY 2.0
- Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Foraging: Aaron Siirila – CC BY-SA 2.5
- Prairie Dog at Burrow Entrance: Asiir – CC BY-SA 2.5
- Prairie Dog Calling: Milojacks – CC BY-SA 3.0
- Female Prairie Dog with Juvenile: Gunnar Ries – CC BY-SA 2.5
- Juvenile Prairie Dogs: Cburnett – CC BY-SA 3.0
- Prairie Dog Family: Mathae (assumed) – CC BY-SA 3.0