Solo gli esseri umani sono colpiti dall’alopecia areata?


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Alopecia areata-like hair loss can develop in several species. Potentially any mammal with hair could develop alopecia areata but so far the condition has been confirmed in just a few species.

  • Cats (Siamese)
  • Cattle (Holstein)
  • Dogs (Bernese Mountain Dog, Daschund, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Magyar Vizsla, Miniature Poodle, Mixed Breed Dogs)
  • Horses (Appaloosa, Palomino)
  • Mice (C3H/HeJ, C3H/HeJBir)
  • Non-human Primates (Chimpanzee, Spider Monkey, Stump-Tailed Macaque, White-fronted Capuchin)
  • Rats (BD-IX, DEBR)

The list is mostly based on isolated case reports from veterinarians who have found patchy hair loss in these animals in association with an inflammatory infiltrate around affected hair follicles. Despite the inflammation, hair loss is non-scarring which means that spontaneous regrowth can occur. Hair follicle-specific autoantibodies, similar to those associated with the human condition have been found in alopecia areata affected mice, rats, dogs and horses. The hair loss can be asymmetric or symmetrical and migrates, waxes and wanes just like human alopecia areata. There is one case of a horse on record as developing universal alopecia. There have been several cases of daschunds with alopecia areata which might suggest this strain is more susceptible than most to the condition. Typically, corticosteroids are used to treat non-human alopecia areata. Response to corticosteroids is variable, but has been shown to induce hair regrowth for some cases in dogs, horses, non-human primates and rodents. As for humans, once treatment is stopped relapse and renewed alopecia frequently develops.

Confirming cases of alopecia areata in non human species can be very difficult. There are so many other potential causes of hair loss which must be ruled out first. A brief list of what must be considered when indentifying cases of non-human alopecia areata includes;

  • Ringworm (Dermatophytosis)
  • Psychogenic alopecia (Pilotrichomania)
  • Traction alopecia (Barbering)
  • Cicatrical (Scarring) alopecias (eg fungal infections, lupus erythematosus)
  • Bacterial folliculitis (eg Staphylococcosis)
  • Follicular dysplasias/Hair shaft abnormalities (eg genetic mutations)
  • Endocrinopathies (eg hypothyroidism)
  • Congenital alopecia
  • Poisoning (eg thallium acetate)
  • Sterile eosinophilic folliculitis
  • Pelodera dermatitis
  • Mange (Demodicosis)
  • Post-rabies vaccination alopecia
  • Tick bites


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