What is Vitiligo?

Audra Lynn

Vitiligo is a condition where black pigment is lost from the dogs hair or skin resulting in white patches of hair or areas of pink skin where it was previously black.  It is thought to be an immune disorder where the animal produces antibodies against cells called melanocytes that product the black pigment called melanin and is a common issue.  Depigmentation of the nose which is also considered to be a form of vitiligo.   Antibiodies to melanocytes have been found in affected dogs and they have not been found in normal dogs.  

Some of the breeds that are likely to suffer this disorder, which suggests that there may be a genetic basis for this condition.  

  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Belgain Tervuren
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Rottweiler
  • Alaskan Malamute 
  • Golden Retreiver (Yellow)
  • Siberian Husky 

The loss  of pigment can occur anywhere, but these are the common areas:

  • Nose
  • Lips and mouth
  • Inside the mouth
  • Footpads

The condition usually develops in young animals and the loss of pigment is usually permanent, although spontaneous re-pigmentation can occur. 

There is no known treatment for Vitiligo

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