The usefulness of dermoscopy in canine pattern alopecia: a descriptive study.

Zanna G, Roccabianca P, Zini E, Legnani S, Scarampella F, Arrighi S, Tosti A.

Veterinary  Dermatology. 2016 Jul 18. doi: 10.1111/vde.12359.


Dermoscopic studies evaluating noninflammatory, nonpruritic progressive alopecia attributable to pattern alopecia are currently unavailable.


To evaluate the dermoscopic features observed in healthy skin of short coated dogs and compare these findings with those observed in dogs affected by pattern alopecia diagnosed by clinical and dermatopathological examination.


Thirty male and female, healthy, breed matched, young adult, short coated dogs (controls) and 30 male and female, young adult, short coated dogs affected by pattern alopecia.


Dermoscopy was performed with a Fotofinder II videodermoscope equipped with software that allowed the measurement of structures visualized in magnified images (20×-40×-70×). Skin biopsy samples were obtained from the thorax and evaluated dermoscopically for dermoscopic-histological correlation in affected dogs.


Dermoscopic findings in canine pattern alopecia were hair shaft thinning, circle hairs and follicular keratin plugs; in the affected sun exposed areas there was a honeycomb-like pattern of pigmentation. Arborizing red lines reflecting vascularization were classified as a nonspecific finding because they were also common in healthy dogs. Dermoscopic features correlated with histology for selected hair follicle abnormalities.

Conclusions and clinical importance

Although canine pattern alopecia is a visually striking disease, this study supports the value of dermoscopy for clinical examination and also opens promising perspectives for the identification of diagnostic dermoscopic patterns that may be useful for other skin disorders.