VCA San Martin Animal Hospital
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. 


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.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

If you have an emergency, please give us a call right away at (408) 683-4777. We are open until 8pm every weekday! 

If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.