How to Diagnose Vitiligo in Dogs
Vitiligo is usually a harmless condition that affects some dogs, often those of certain breeds. It causes parts of your dog's skin, fur, and nose to change color, losing pigment. To diagnose the condition, you first need to look for the symptoms. Then, you should take your dog to the vet for a complete diagnosis.
Noticing the Symptoms
Look for changes in the dog's nose color.Often, vitiligo will present in the dog's nose, causing it to go white. If you notice a change in the color of your dog's nose, that could indicate that your dog has vitiligo.
- Vitiligo is an immune disease that affects the pigmentation, meaning it turns areas of your dog's coat, skin, and nose white instead of their standard color.
- However, some dogs do have noses that change colors in winter and summer, particularly as they become middle aged. Either way, talk to your vet to be sure if you notice your dog's nose changing color.
Look for white patches.Another indication your dog has this condition is white patches across its body. While vitiligo often presents in the nose, it can spread throughout the body. Basically, the fur and skin will turn white, rather than its normal color.
- Often, the condition will affect the face before the body, particularly around the eyes.
Pay attention as your puppy grows up.Often, this condition will appear as your puppy turns into an adult dog. It may not present at all when your dog is young, so pay attention as your dog grows up, looking for the symptoms in it's fur and face.
- This condition rarely goes away completely, as it is hereditary and usually stays for life. However, you may notice that certain patches return to their normal color, as your dog develops patches in other places.
Look for red and inflamed eyes.Inflammation in the eyes can indicate that your dog has an underlying condition called uveodermatological syndrome. This condition can harm your dog's eyes, so it's especially important to take your dog to the vet if you notice problems with its eyes.
Know which breeds are more susceptible to the condition.Because the condition is hereditary, certain breeds are more likely to have vitiligo. In particular, Afghan hounds, Dachshunds, dobermans, German shepherds, Irish setters, pointers, poodles, and Samoyeds are more likely to have this condition.
Diagnosing the Condition
Take your dog to the vet.If your suspect your dog has this disease, you should take it to the vet because the color changes could indicate other conditions instead. Your vet will perform a physical examination, as well as do a simple biopsy on your dog to determine if it has the condition.
- Usually, all the doctor will do is scrape a bit of skin to be tested. The vet will use the skin to also rule out other causes.
- For instance, some dogs can have their noses change color if they haven't felt well. Also, sometimes trauma to the nose can cause the problem.
Have the doctor rule out uveodermatological syndrome.While vitiligo is usually from an inherited condition, it can develop from uveodermatological syndrome. With this syndrome, your dog's immune system basically fights against the pigmentation cells. The main issue with this disease is that it can also affect the eyes, leading to blindness.
- If your dog has this condition, you'll usually notice redness and inflammation in the eyes.
Understand it isn't usually a health threat.While the condition changes the look of your dog, it doesn't actually affect the dog's health. Therefore, try not to worry if your vet has diagnosed your dog with this condition. It should still live a long and healthy life.
- However, if the underlying condition is uveodermatological syndrome, you should get that treated, as it can lead to blindness.
Learn about the treatments.If your dog has basic vitiligo, you usually do not have any options for treatments, though some people have had luck giving their dogs nutritional supplements,such as a vitamin E supplement. Talk to your vet about natural supplements.For uveodermatological syndrome, your dog will need both immunosuppressive drugs and topical eye treatments to deal with the eye problems.
Video: Boy and Dog with Vitiligo Meet for the First Time | The Dodo
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