Animal Rescue: Excessive shedding can indicate illness _lowres

Photo provided by ARNO -- Shadow was dumped in a sealed crate under the high-rise bridge in eastern New Orleans. A homeless man saw the crate dumped, went to investigate and found a tiny puppy inside. When he opened the crate, the puppy ran as fast as he could and found a temporary home at the RTA bus yard. He lived there about a month, scrounging for scraps and drinking water out of puddles, until an ARNO volunteer went to trap him. He was about 12 weeks old, but pretty clever, and managed to feast on doggie treats for six hours before stepping on the trip plate in the trap. Shadow loves to play fetch and run around and be a goofball. The adoption fee is $200 and includes spay, UTD vaccines, rabies, chip, and heartworm treatment (if required).

Dogs and cats alike naturally lose old or damaged hair by shedding. Although this is a normal, healthy process, the frequency and amount of shedding that occurs often depends on overall health, breed type and time of the year. While most dogs and cats have a thicker coat during the winter and shed this as spring arrives, pets that are always kept indoors are prone to smaller changes in coat thickness and tend to shed evenly throughout the year.

Although normal amounts of healthy shedding cannot be stopped, the amount of hair accumulating on the floor and furniture can be reduced by regular brushing, grooming and proper nutrition.

Some breeds just shed more than others. Cats, in particular, spend 10 percent of every day grooming. What may seem like excessive shedding may actually be normal for a particular breed. However, large amounts of hair loss also can signal that an animal may be experiencing stress, poor diet or a medical issue. A trip to the vet is the best way to tell if a pet’s shedding is of the normal variety or if it is a symptom of an underlying problem.

It is important to talk to a vet, as excessive hair loss or bald patches may be due to the following:

Parasites such as fleas, lice or mites

Fungal or bacterial infections


Kidney, liver, thyroid or adrenal disease (including Cushing’s)

Pregnancy or lactation

Reaction to medications

Trauma due to excessive licking


Immune disease


If open sores, redness or bumps are present, make a vet appointment immediately.


NEW ORLEANS PET ADOPTION EVENT: Animal Rescue New Orleans will have adoptable dogs at the Bark Park at the New Orleans Home and Garden Show Friday and Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. For information, email

METAIRIE PET ADOPTION EVENT: The LA/SPCA will hold a pet adoption event and bake sale from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Clearview Mall, 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie. For information, call (504) 368-5191 or visit

CRITTER CINEMA: A Critter Cinema event for children ages 5 to 10 will be held from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Louisiana SPCA, 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., New Orleans. Animal-loving, pizza-eating, movie-watching kids will play with puppies and kittens and enjoy a G-rated critter movie, crafts, games and more. Participants are invited to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and pajamas.

The cost is $30 per child, and advance registration is required. To register, call (504) 368-5191, ext. 207, or email For more information, visit

LOST OR FOUND PETS: In Orleans Parish, you can send a photo, description of your pet, date lost/found and your contact information to In Jefferson Parish, email and bbourgeois, and in St. Bernard Parish, email

Traci D. Howerton is social media editor of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a nonprofit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. Contact ARNO at animalrescuecolumn@gmail. com, www.animalrescue or call its recorded information line at (504) 571-1900.