Dog Increased Pigmentation
Dog Increased Pigmentation
Pigmentation is the term used to describe the color in a dogs coat or skin. It varies according to the dog’s breed and may become “hyper pigmented” which is an increase or darkening of the color or, in some instances, may lose color. There are many different reasons for this occurrence. Some will change due to disease, others due to a dog’s natural aging process.
Diseases causing increased pigmentation
• Acanthosis nigricans: this is a disease that is genetic in the Dachshund breed. Initially there will be darkening of the skin followed by hair loss and scratching. When the initial diagnosis is made, there is usually no treatment. If the disease process increases, your vet may prescribe steroids and/or vitamin E.
• Adrenal sex hormone responsive dermatosis: effects the Chow Chow, Pomeranian, Keeshond and Samoyed dog breeds. Beginning with Dog Hair Loss, the disease process continues until there is what appears to be a return of puppy hair. The skin of the dog will darken. Treatment for this condition is optional.
• Bowen’s disease: this is an uncommon squamous cell carcinoma. Usually there will be multiple lesions that begin as dark, thickened areas of skin. As it progresses there will be ulcers and crusty areas that bleed quite easily. The lesions will be found on all appendages, legs, mouth, genitals, neck and head. This may be treated but thus far the results of treatment with chemotherapy or radiation have been mixed.
• Chronic inflammation of the skin: these can be from a number of causes. A complete physical exam is necessary to rule out potential causes. It appears as darkened and thickened areas of skin. The only treatment is treating the cause after it has been determined.
• Dog Cushings Disease: this disease that affects humans as well as dogs is the direct result of too many corticosteroids in the body. They can be there due to high or prolonged doses of the drug by the production within the dog’s body. The dog will lose hair, have thin skin that easily bruises, Dog Fatigue, Dog Increased Thirst, and will also subsequently experience Dog Increased Urination. Diagnosis is made through a series of blood tests. If the cause is internal, it may require surgery to remove a tumor of the effected gland. If it is the result of the administration of steroids to the dog, a very slow withdrawal of the steroids will be necessary.
• Seasonal flank alopecia or Cyclic alopecia: this is a seasonal hair loss that appears primarily on the flank. It will occur only at certain times of the year during which time the hair does not grow. It is diagnosed through an accurate history and possible biopsy. There is no treatment for this.
• Malassezia: this is usually the result of another disease process. The dog will have Dog Itching or itchy skin, hair loss, and if left untreated, hyper pigmentation. Cultures and skin scrapings are used in the diagnosis. Treatment is done with the administration of antibiotics, antifungal medications and antifungal shampoos.
If your dog slowly, or suddenly, has noticeable changes in the color of their skin or hair, your veterinarian should be consulted. There are many potential causes including some aggressive Dog Cancers and some benign aging processes.