Vitiligo

Vitiligo is causing this dog's formerly black nose and lips to turn pink.

Vitiligo is causing this dog’s formerly black nose and lips to turn pink.

France-flagGermany-flagMay 2013

 

Vitiligo is a loss of pigment in the skin and hair.  It can be inherited or acquired.  The inherited form is caused by the immune system destroying melanocytes (pigment cells.)  Acquired vitiligo can be due to injury, uveodermatologic syndrome, or other causes.  Hair and skin turns white or gray, particularly on the face.  Vitiligo does not affect the general health of the dog.  There is no established treatment.

Vitiligo is a type of autoimmune disease.  Autoimmune diseases are genetically predisposed; if a dog has the disease, it has the genes.  Dogs affected with Vitiligo should not be bred.  Their near relatives should not be bred to mates with a family history of any autoimmune disease.