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What is CDA in Dogs?

What is CDA in Dogs?

Color Dilution Alopecia (CDA) can be alarming to dog owners who don't understand the disease. In this article, our Orange Park 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

Since CDA is a disease that is hereditary, the dogs who have it will continually pass it along through breeding. The following dog breeds are some of the many breeds that have color dilution alopecia:
  • 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?

When your dog's coat is becoming thin brittle or broken let your vet know as soon as possible. Once at the vet, a series of diagnostic tests will be used to identify the causes and treatment of your dog's hair loss. A trichogram can be used by vets to evaluate your dog's hair follicles. By looking up close at the follicles of the hair, the vet is able to diagnose the issue and can determine if more tests are needed. The vet will also test the skin for mites to ensure that this is 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 to help relieve the itchiness and uncomfortable symptoms of CDA. 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


Since this is a genetic disorder, prevention is tricky. The only way to truly prevent it is for breeders to avoid breeding dogs who are affected by the disease or those who carry the gene. Ethical dog breeding is a must when it comes to disorders like this.

Recovery from CDA 

Taking care of your dog's flakiness, infections, and dry skin is crucial for their improvement. Avoid using remedies meant for human hair loss, as they can harm your dog's health and lead to negative effects such as weakness, lethargy, collapse and cardiac disease.

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

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