Vitiligo

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Vitiligo in a dog[1]

Vitiligo is defined as an area of skin depigmentation and in dogs commonly affects the muzzle, nasal planum and areas around the eyes.

Depigmentation in this condition usually occurs in young adulthood and repigmentation may occur in some cases. The condition is characterized by loss of epidermal melanocytes[2].

This condition may appear sporadic in dogs of all breeds, but is a genetic condition in some breeds such as the Husky Dog in association with uveodermatologic syndrome[3].

In most dogs, vitiligo is thought to be an immune-mediated disease resulting from autoantibodies directed against pigmented epithelial cells[4].

Diagnosis is based on visual skin inspection supported by histological examination under light microscopy.

There is no known treatment for spontaneous vitiligo in dogs. The condition is not life threatening, but may be unaesthetic. The extent to which the condition affects the dog is variable, some will experience full depigmentation while others will only have a depigmented nose.

References

  1. The K9 Coach
  2. Mahaffey MB et al (1978) Focal loss of pigment in the Belgian Tervuren dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc 173(4):390-396
  3. Sigle KJ et al (2006) Unilateral uveitis in a dog with uveodermatologic syndrome. J Am Vet Med Assoc 228(4):543-548
  4. Naughton GK et al (1986) Antibodies to surface antigens of pigmented cells in animals with vitiligo. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 181(3):423-426
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