VCA Animal Hospitals

What is my dog's coat telling me?

Published: Dec 20, 2012

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Much of your concern over your dog's coat may have been focused on shedding - will he ever stop? Will you be able to remove all the dog hair from your furniture? These concerns aside, your dog's coat may also be a good indicator of his overall well-being.

Next time you are petting your canine companion, look for these signs that may indicate something is up with his health.

Losing too much hair
All dog breeds have different rates of shedding, and lose hair gradually during different times of the year. However, if your dog's fur is coming out in clumps, or you notice bald patches on his coat, there may be something more serious than shedding going on. Hair loss is a clinical sign of hot spots on dogs as well as hormone imbalances that could indicate stress or a pet health condition like hypothyroidism in dogs. Call your veterinarian if you notice balding on your dog.

What's that smell?
Dogs are not known for smelling like roses all the time, but if you notice a foul odor that seems to come from your dog's coat or skin, it could be a sign of a bacterial or fungal infection on the skin. If the smell lingers even after a bath, you should call the vet to determine the cause.

Uncharacteristically wiry
Some dogs have naturally wiry or rough coats, but if your dog's fur is usually soft, shiny or fluffy and is suddenly feeling brittle or dry, this could be an indication of a health problem or nutritional imbalance. Dogs need a certain amount of healthy fats in their diets to keep their skin supple and coat healthy, so this change in texture may be a sign that you need to re-evaluate your dog's diet with the guidance of your veterinarian. 


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.