Folate-Sensitive Alopecia in a Charolais Calf

BOUVET, A.*, BAIRD, J.D. and BASRUR, P.K. Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada NIG 2Wl.

Coat characteristics are useful diagnostic features in veterinary medicine since infectious and metabolic disorders  are often reflected in the alteration detected in the integrity of hair.  Various types of acquired and inherited coat  problems have been described inc attle including some characterized  by total or partial loss of hair ( alopecia).  A male Charolais calf brought to our attention with a hisotry of shedding hair from 7 days, followed by extensive alopecia fby two weeks after birth, was subjected to careful examination and treatment. Since the calf's condition, characterized by crusty patches of skin devoid of hair resembled that noted in folic acid deficiency syndrome in man, a regimen ot treatment  with folic acid was undertaken. Oral administration of 50 mg of folic acid per day resulted in the gradual disappearance of the crusts and patches by two weeks followed by steady growth of hair and recovery to normal state within two months.  This water-soluble vitamin, required for cellular turnover in a variety of tissues  and organs, including hair follicle, could serve as an efficient  therapeutic agent in some types of alopecia triggered by a deficiency for folic acid or for coenzymes involved in the DNA synthesis pathway.

This study was supported by grants from  the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Full paper appeared later in Veterinary Record 123:533-536.

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