Elevated Sex Hormones in Dogs


What are Elevated Sex Hormones?

Androgens are produced by the testes, ovaries and adrenal glands. Although they are mostly a male hormonal agent, they are discovered in women likewise where they are a precursor to estrogen. In dogs, extreme androgen production is related to loss of hair and oily greasy skin (seborrhea oleosa) that is normally focused around the tail and rump location. This takes place mostly in male dogs that have actually not been castrated where it is called hyperandrogenism. It is more typical in middle-aged or older dogs, and might be either idiopathic or due to interstitial growths on the testes. Dogs with growths might frequently have ring-like developments around the rectum or perineum. Dogs might likewise show behavioral modifications, such as aggressiveness and an increased libido. Most conditions are responsive to castration, which is the suggested treatment. Comparable conditions including non-inflammatory loss of hair can likewise be discovered in women and non-castrated males of any age. This is normally described as Alopecia X. This condition isn’t totally comprehended, however it’s thought that an imbalance in the adrenal sex hormones interrupts the hair cycle. Alopecia X is more typical in some breeds. Most cases are idiopathic although variations of the illness can accompany endocrine conditions like Cushing’s illness and hypothyroidism.

In dogs, elevated male sex hormones, called androgens, are related to non-inflammatory loss of hair, and oily or tarnished spots of skin. Hyperandrogenism is an illness that takes place from elevated hormonal agent levels in non-castrated males. If comparable signs take place in women or dogs that are neutered, it is called Alopecia X.

Signs of Elevated Sex Hormones in Dogs

These irregular signs must be assessed by a vet, particularly if your canine is an uncastrated male.

  • Loss of hair concentrated on the hind quarters
  • Dry or bleached hair
  • Scaly or oily skin
  • Hyperpigmentation (locations of dark colored or brown skin)
  • Masses on the testes
  • Aggressive habits
  • Increased libido


A number of kinds of elevated hormones can trigger comparable signs.

  • Hyperandrogenism – takes place in uncastrated males
  • Hyperestrogenism – elevated estrogen levels can likewise trigger signs of loss of hair (more typical in unspayed women)
  • Alopecia X – a generic term for non-inflammatory loss of hair that is most likely triggered by a complex hormonal agent imbalance; a variety of various names have actually been utilized to explain this illness based upon treatments, consisting of development hormonal agent responsive alopecia, melatonin responsive alopecia, and Lysodren responsive alopecia

Reasons For Elevated Sex Hormones in Dogs

Some conditions can make elevated sex hormones most likely.

  • Absence of castration in males
  • Growths of the testes
  • Growths on the ovaries (more typically triggers hyperestrogenism)
  • Endocrine illness (Cushing’s illness – irregular, hypothyroidism)
  • Breeds that are most likely to develop Alopecia X (Mini Poodle, Pomeranian, Chow Chow, Akita, Samoyed, Keeshond, Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky)
  • Idiopathic

Medical Diagnosis of Elevated Sex Hormones in Dogs

The vet will carry out an extensive physical exam and examine your canine’s signs. If your dogs is an uncastrated male, hyperandrogenism will be thought, particularly if the sexual organs or tail gland is bigger. In most cases blood and urine tests will return regular. The vet will look for indications of swelling which might recommend a differential medical diagnosis, and might examine a cellular culture microscopically to look for fungal or bacterial infection. X-rays or ultrasound might be bought to determine growths on the testes.

The vet will attempt to remove other possible reasons for alopecia, particularly if your canine is not a castrated male. This consists of an ACTH stimulation, a specialized endocrine test to look for Cushing’s illness and thyroid imbalance. Elevated progesterone levels after screening can often suggest an adrenal sex hormonal agent imbalance. Sex serum levels will be evaluated likewise. X-rays might be required to look for glandular growths. Breed can be appropriate for cases of Alopecia X, so the vet will require to understand your canine’s household history.

Treatment of Elevated Sex Hormones in Dogs

Castration is the very first treatment for hyperandrogenism. Malignant growths on the testes will be eliminated at the exact same time. Male dogs normally have this treatment on an outpatient basis. Your canine will require to restrict workout for numerous days and might have an inflamed scrotum. If there are stitches, you will require to go back to have them cut, and the veterinarian might desire a post-operation check-up anyhow. The treatment might be more substantial depending upon the positioning of testicular growths.

Lots of signs are responsive to castration. If the issues returns nevertheless, or if your canine is currently neutered or female there are some other treatment alternatives. Idiopathic cases of Alopecia X are frequently treated with the hormonal agent melatonin. This works in about 40% of cases, however it might take 3 months of treatment for your canine’s hair to grow back. Medroxyprogesterone is another hormonal agent that can often be more reliable, however it likewise has more unfavorable negative effects than melatonin.

Conditions that are triggered by a type of Cushing’s illness are frequently responsive to Lysodren (mitotane). This is a more extreme treatment with possible negative effects, however if excess cortisol precursors are promoting sex hormonal agent production, it can be reliable. Other alternatives your veterinarian may suggest for serious or persistent cases consist of development hormonal agent administration and trilostane, another medication utilized to deal with Cushing’s illness.

Healing of Elevated Sex Hormones in Dogs

Lots of cases of hyperandrogenism are responsive to castration and your canine will make a complete healing. Some dogs might require re-training after surgical treatment to assist customize aggressive habits that have actually ended up being regular. 

Some cases of Alopecia X are likewise responsive to treatment, however the reason for this condition is less well comprehended and can be more difficult to determine. The signs are primarily cosmetic, nevertheless, and can be handled even if loss of hair continues. Regular bathing and using anti-seborrheic hair shampoos can assist to enhance skin health. Antibiotic or antifungal creams will restrict the opportunity of a secondary skin infection. This might be required even while your canine is taking medication as most drug treatments take a while to produce a result. Constantly go over the negative effects of any treatment strategy with your vet.

Like it? Share with your friends!