Alopecia areata

From Cow
Alopecia areata in a cow

Bovine alopecia areata (pelade) is a rare genetic skin disease of beef and dairy cattle worldwide.

The disease is thought to be caused by a suspected autoimmune aetiology targeting anagen hair follicles[1].

Unlike the diseases hypotrichosis and ichthyosis, alopecia areata is characterised by progressive alopecia and leukotrichia. Histopathologic findings in the skin include prominent melanin clumping and degeneration of matrix cells with formation of giant multinucleate cells within hair bulbs, accompanied by peribulbar melanin incontinence and fibrosis and dystrophic hair shafts[2].

The dermatitis is a cosmetic problem, but does not seem to affect general health and production, and spontaneous remission may occur[3].


  1. Timm K et al (2010) Alopecia areata in Eringer cows. Vet Dermatol 21(6):545-553
  2. Valentine BA et al (2012) Alopecia areata in two black Angus cows. J Vet Diagn Invest 24(2):405-407
  3. Paradis M et al (1988) Alopecia areata (pelade) in a cow. Can Vet J 29(9):727-729