If you're cozily rubbing your pooch's belly only to notice that it suddenly looks to be dark purplish or blue rather than its normal color, then it's time to call the veterinarian to make an appointment. Skin discoloration issues in dogs often signify cases of cutaneous hyperpigmentation. Any type of dog is potentially susceptible to hyperpigmentation, no matter the breed.
Cutaneous hyperpigmentation entails, in a nutshell, the skin taking on a darker coloring. This hyperpigmentation in most cases isn't a disorder of its own, but rather an effect of another medical ailment. It's relatively prevalent in the canine world. A lot of different things can lead to hyperpigmentation in dogs, including bacterial infections, allergies, Cushing's disease and excessive body weight. Inflammation typically is responsible for the emergence of hyperpigmentation.
Signs of Hyperpigmentation
Skin discoloration is indeed a telling sign of cutaneous hyperpigmentation in canines, not only in dark purple or blue, but sometimes in colors like black and pale brown, too. When dogs experience hyperpigmentation, not only does the skin's color change a little, its texture also often changes, frequently taking on a markedly dense and coarse feel. Hyperpigmentation doesn't only show up on dogs' stomachs, but also commonly on their limbs and where their lower stomachs and thighs meet.
If you notice any unusual coloring on any part of your pet's body, not only on the stomach, the veterinarian can determine exactly what the trigger is. If the vet works on managing the root cause of the discoloration, it should fade away with some time, occasionally up to months at a time. If bacterial infection is the reason for the purplish dark hyperpigmentation, a veterinarian might suggest antibiotics for your canine, which, in turn, should lead to the eventual clearing up of the frustrating discoloration.
Dachshunds and Hyperpigmentation
If your pooch happens to be a dachshund, then his dark purplish discoloration might not be related to any other existing ailment, but instead might actually be its own entity. In this specific breed, hyperpigmentation is often a primary condition. Cases of dogs of other breeds with primary hyperpigmentation are extremely few and far between. Although this genetic issue doesn't have a cure, a variety of management options are available to dachshunds who are living with it, whether oral medicines or specialized shampoos.
- Small Animal Dermatology; Anita Patel and Peter Forsythe
- Royal Veterinary College University of London: Pigmentation Disturbances
- Abbey Veterinary Group: Dogs
- The Merck Manual for Pet Health: Hyperpigmentation in Dogs
- Cesar's Way: Ask the Vet - Changes in Dog Skin Pigmentation
- PetEducation: Causes of Pigment & Color Changes in the Skin & Coat in Dogs
- Muller & Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology; William H. Miller, Craig E. Griffin and Karen L. Campbell
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images