Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

What is color dilution alopecia (CDA) in dogs?

Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA) can be alarming to dog owners who don't understand the disease. In this article, our Corpus Christi vets discuss the symptoms and treatment of CDA in dogs.

What is Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA)?

CDA is a hereditary conditioning dog that causes the dog's hair color to dilute. Shades of bluish or silvery gray, fawn and red can take over a dog's original hair color. This condition can also initiate irregular hair loss. In general, puppies with the inherited trait have regular coats during their first couple of months. However, as they move into late puppyhood or early adulthood, they start experiencing the onset of patchy hair loss. Speak with your local veterinary dermatologist if this is happening to your puppy.

Dog Breeds at Risk of CDA

The dogs who have CDA will continually pass it along through breeding since it is a hereditary disease. Some of the many dog breeds that have color dilution alopecia include:

  • Doberman pinschers
  • Italian greyhounds
  • Standard poodles
  • Salukis
  • Whippets
  • Yorkshire terriers

Symptoms of CDA

Color Dilution Alopecia can cause a variety of unappealing symptoms for your dog, however, none of them are deadly. Here are some of the most common symptoms of CDA:

  • Missing clumps or patches of hair
  • Flaky skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Skin infection
  • Small bumps on the skin
  • Dry or dull hair coat
  • Hair thinning

How is CDA Diagnosed?

Let your vet know as soon as possible if your dog's coat is becoming thin, brittle, or broken. The vet will use a series of diagnostic tests at the appointment to identify the causes and treatment of your dog's hair loss. Vets can use a trichogram to evaluate your dog's hair follicles. The vet diagnoses the issue and determines if more tests are needed by looking up close at the follicles of the hair. The vet will also test the skin for mites to ensure that mites are not a potential cause of hair loss.

How is CDA Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for color dilution alopecia. There are, however, many treatments for color dilution alopecia to help relieve the itchiness and uncomfortable. Please contact your local vet before attempting any of the following treatments at home.

  • Shampoos
  • Topical ointments
  • Moisturizing rinses
  • Antibiotics
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Vitamin A


Preventing this genetic disorder is tricky. Breeders can truly prevent it by avoiding breeding dogs affected by the disease or carrying the gene. When it comes to disorders like this, ethical dog breeding must be prioritized.

Recovery from CDA 

You must take care of your dog's flakiness, infections, and dry skin to improve their condition. Do not use remedies meant for human hair loss, as they can harm your dog's health and cause negative effects such as weakness, lethargy, collapse, and cardiac disease.

If your dog is showing signs of lighter or faded hair, contact our Corpus Christi vets today. We will book an appointment for your dog to be diagnosed and treated.

New Patients Welcome

Everhart Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Corpus Christi companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (361) 854-1439