Causes Of Skin Discoloration In Dogs

Causes Of Skin Discoloration In DogsDogs are of different colors based on their natural pigmentation. However, different diseases, skin infections, hormonal imbalance and change in natural pigmentation can bring about a change in the color of a dog’s coat.

According to veterinary doctors, discoloration of skin in dogs can result from 38 known factors and in many cases, the actual cause goes undetected. The most common discoloration is called hyperpigmentation and is a condition where the skin turns darker than its natural shade.

It also has to be noted the skin discoloration could be a major symptom of an underlying disease and therefore, you should not ignore this condition. Here are a few causes for such skin discoloration.

Causes Of Skin Discoloration In Dogs

Hormonal Changes

One of the major causes of skin discoloration in dogs is hormonal imbalance, usually in the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is the condition where the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient amount of thyroid hormone.

There is no cure for the disease but appropriate medication can ensure that the hormones are maintained at optimum level. The color of the coat returns to normal if thyroid gland function is regularized. Cushing’s disease is another disease that is related to imbalance of hormones.

In this case, the hormone called adrenaline is produced in an irregular manner. The pituitary glands produce excess amounts of adrenaline, causing an imbalance. Discoloration is caused in this case as well.

Underlying Tumors

Basal cell tumors are cancerous tumors that grow very slowly. Hyperpigmentation is noticed in head, chest and neck region in dogs which are affected by such tumors. Veterinary doctors suggest a biopsy and if found positive, the tumor needs to be surgically removed.

Hemangiosarcoma is the cancer that occurs due to exposure to sun. In this case, the skin first turns blue and then, gradually changes to reddish black color. This cancer is malignant and invasive. Hyperpigmentation is found on the chest and abdomen areas.

Melanoma is the cancer of the skin which also causes discoloration. Another kind of cancer that can discolor skin is the Mast Cell cancer which can be either slow growing or fast growing. Increase in skin pigmentation is also commonly found in male dogs suffering from Sertoli cell tumor, which affects the testicles of middle aged dogs.


Skin infections or parasitic attacks are common causes that lead to skin discoloration. The skin darkens at the spot of infection. The discolored area spreads along with the spread of the infection.

If you notice an increase in the pigmented area on your dog’s skin, you need to take the dog to a doctor. Irritation on the skin caused due to infections and allergies also leads to redness in the skin although this form of discoloration is usually temporary.

Other Causes

Besides the causes mentioned above, injuries and bruises can cause the skin color to change. Clotting of blood can turn the skin blue. Sometime, skin color changes due to irregularities in skin follicles.

Abnormality in the function of sebaceous glands, autoimmune reactions and liver diseases are some of the other causes of color change in the skin. Aging also brings a change in color in some breeds of dogs.

Only a qualified and trained veterinarian can find out the actual cause of skin discoloration in your dog. Therefore, it is vital that you have your pet checked as soon as you notice any change in the color of the skin.

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