NOLA Pet Doctors and the case of the hairless pit bull

Some dogs are known for their hair … others, not so much. Take Bailey. He’s a hairless pit bull.

“Hairless,” says Dr. Stephen Lemare. “Completely. Not a sprig.”

It’s a hairy situation for doctors trying to figure out why.

“The primary care vet called me and said I have one of the more challenging cases of your career that I want to send you,” explains Dr. Lemare. “I said, ‘OK, I’m always up for a challenge.’ “

Cracking Bailey’s case is like solving a mystery.

“Originally we speculated that the hairlessness was associated with a disease process and since we’ve been working her up we’ve identified that he is hypothyroid, which is a disease that can cause loss of hair coat, typically not a complete loss of hair coat like we’re seeing.”

Skin biopsies showed there’s also something missing.

“He pretty much lacks hair follicles and sebaceous glands which are both very important for normal function of the skin.”

So what’s actually wrong, could be nothing.

“My theory is that he was a mutation. He was just born as a hairless puppy.”

Still, doctors have been treating him in case she wasn’t born this way, “But as you can see we haven’t grown a sprig of hair yet.”

“Any mutation is possible and interestingly enough one of the hairless breeds called the American Hairless Terrier was developed in Trout, LA. In 1972 a couple that was breeding rat terriers, in one of their litters, had a hairless puppy. They liked the puppy’s temperament and the look so they worked for almost 10 years and in 1982 they finally produced a hairless litter of puppies.”

Just like the hairless terrier, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and Bailey’s owners love him just the way he is.