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Compendium July 2010 (Vol 32, No 7)

Reading Room — Hair Loss Disorders in Domestic Animals

    Title: Hair Loss Disorders in Domestic Animals

    Authors: Lars Mecklenburg, Monika Linek, Desmond J. Tobin

    Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

    Year: 2009

    Pages: 276

    ISBN: 978-0-8138-1082-9

    This book represents a milestone in that it is the first veterinary text devoted completely to alopecia. The authors note that just as increasing numbers of humans are seeking treatment for alopecia, more people are sufficiently disturbed by the condition in their pets to present them for veterinary care. As with humans, however, the causes of alopecia in companion animals are usually complicated and the prospects for cure are limited. This book endeavors to promote the practitioner’s understanding of hair follicle anatomy, explore the various aspects of diagnosis, and discuss the therapeutic options.

    In keeping with the book’s status as the first in its field, the authors also present a new classification system to accommodate the increasing complexity of alopecic disorders based on the flood of new histopathologic findings. This system is organized according to histopathologic characteristics as well as clinical features. While trying to be as descriptive as possible, the authors acknowledge that their system is not yet comprehensive, and they look forward to further improvements and refinements in the future.

    Part one of this four-part text is devoted to hair follicle biology. The first two chapters cover ontogeny, anatomy, and physiology. Special attention is given to the differences in these features between species. A third chapter compares these aspects in domestic animals, laboratory animals, and humans.

    Part two describes a systematic approach to alopecic disorders using clinical and histopathologic aspects—the keys that enable veterinarians to distinguish between cosmetic hair loss and alopecia that is symptomatic of disease. Particulars are specified for the historic work-up and the all-important assessment of the skin and haircoat. In addition to cytology and skin biopsy, specialized diagnostic techniques are detailed, such as trichography, Wood light examination, dermatophyte culture, and deep and superficial skin scraping. The histopathology chapter reviews biopsy sampling and processing, together with the follicle life cycle and interpretation of the pathology report.

    Noninflammatory alopecias are discussed in part three. Chapters address congenital conditions, trichomalacia, disorders of hair follicle cycling, follicle dystrophy and atrophy, and traumatic and scarring alopecias. The chapter on follicle cycling disorders includes hypothyroidism, canine alopecia X and pattern alopecia, and telogen effluvium, among many other conditions.

    The concluding section of the book concentrates on inflammatory alopecias. Eosinophilic, pustular, and mural (lymphocytic, histiocytic/granulomatous, and necrotic) folliculitis are discussed, as is folliculitis associated with intraluminal organisms. There are also chapters on alopecia areata and sebaceous adenitis.

    One would hope that a book on skin disorders would be well illustrated, and this text does not disappoint. There are useful tables and diagrams, but most of the figures appropriately consist of multiple color photos and microscopic slides of each condition in various animals.

    This book should prove a valuable reference for both veterinarians and veterinary pathologists. In addition, it will be interesting to track the evolution of the authors’ classification system in the years to come.

    Written by Patricia L. Van Horn, a freelance writer in Long Branch, New Jersey.

    NEXT: Bacterial Culture and Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing [CE]

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