Vitiligo is a disease condition noted by abnormal white patches in dogs.
It is the pigmentation disorder that affects the melanocytes in the skin. Melanocytes are cells responsible for the production of melanin. Melanin is the substance responsible for giving colour to your skin, hair and nails when this melanin gets affected it just turns white and thus white patches are noted all over the body. As the melanocytes are affected, they fail to produce melanin. It does not cause harm or pain and may even get treated. The most common known Autoimmune Skin Disorders: Vitiligocan be easily be treated so you need not worry
Hints to find the affected dog
According to a study shown by The University of Sydney, the hound, working dog, utility dog and gundog are the groups that are affected usually. There are a few other breeds of dogs that have a chance of getting affected by this disease such as Rottweiler, German shepherd, Labrador, Retriever and Australian Shepherd. Dogs that have no fur will show spotty skin coloration
Appearance of white color patches on areas like the bridge of the nose, fur or skin around the area of the eyes, paws, eye lashes, genitals and anus indicates the initial signs of vitiligo. It is a must that the owners of the dog should look for these symptoms in their dog but the exact way to confirm vitiligo is to take the dog for a vet consultation.
Treatment and Causes for vitiligo
The exact cause is idiopathic but some suggest it might be due to hyperparathyroidism, stress, infection and even excess production of hydrogen peroxide. But the exact cause is still unknown and not scientifically proven.
Amala Soumyanath is a holder of Ph.D., and an associate professor who deals with neurology, in OHSU, the School of Medicine, who has invented a compound derived from black pepper as a treatment for vitiligo though it has not yet been approved by the medical council as an effective medical treatment.
As vitiligo is harmless and painless, it is not essential to treat dogs with unwanted drugs for vitiligo and end up dealing with side effects from the various drugs. So it is suggested to leave the dog as it is so it can live happily and healthily even with vitiligo, provided the care and love of its owner towards it remains unchanged. This disease is only a matter of great discomfort to humans. Since we worried about more about looks than any other species, the treatment is a cosmetic affair that the aesthetic need of the individual. The same cannot be said about dogs who only require their master’s affection and care.
Taking care of your dog
Though vitiligo itself is painless and harmless, it has only one issue that adversely affects the dog, which is sunburn. Dogs with vitiligo, when exposed to sunlight for a long time, develop sun burns. It is advisable to cover the skin of the dog with clothes or sunscreen lotions to avoid over exposure to sunlight and get sunburns.