10 quick facts about Melatonin: Will it grow hair?

10 quick facts about Melatonin:  Will it grow hair?

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Karen Helton Rhodes, DVM, DACVD                                    

 Canine Skin Solutions, Inc.

Terri Bonenberger, DVM, DACVD                                          

“Dermatologists for your Dog”

 Melatonin is a common supplement used as a sleep aid in people.  It is also being used to stimulate hair growth in dogs. Let’s explore some facts about this hormone.

 

#1  Melatonin is a hormone synthesized from L-tryptophan.  Tryptophan is a component of turkey and has been implicated as a reason we all get sleepy after a big turkey dinner!  This may be a reason that melatonin is used as a sleep aid in people. 

#2 Melatonin may act directly on hair follicles to stimulate growth or it may influence the nervous system to stimulate factors that initiate growth. We are not sure!

#3  Melatonin has been implicated in the seasonal growth of winter haircoats

#4  Melatonin has been trialed, with varying success, in a number of disorders characterized by alopecia:  Cyclic Flank Alopecia (Canine Recurrent Flank Alopecia), Canine Pattern Baldness,  Alopecia X (hair cycle arrest), “post clipping alopecia”, and follicular dysplasias

#5  Melatonin is available as an non-prescription “OTC” oral pill OR a long acting subcutaneous implant.  Rarely, some dogs receiving implants will develop sterile granulomas at the site of implantation, necessitating removal. 

#6  Melatonin is a very safe therapeutic trial.  That said….it may not work to grow hair. 

#7  The dose of oral Melatonin is variable but is typically used at 3-6mg/dog every 8-12 hours.  Another way to dose is by the weight of the dog @ 0.5mg/kg every 8-12 hours. 

#8  Use a reputable brand of Melatonin.  Examples include: Nature’s Bounty, Webber, GNC, etc)

 

#9  Most veterinarians will advise that you use melatonin for at least 2-3 months before evaluating the response.

#10  Melatonin is NOT a guarantee of hair growth….but it can’t hurt to try! 

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are another safe therapeutic trial to consider. For info on EFA’s click here: http://www.healthyskin4dogs.com/blog/2015/1/24/essential-fatty-acids-fish-oil-supplementation-for-dogs?rq=efa

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