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Doberman Losing Dog Skin Pigment

by Cathy
(Atlanta, GA)

My dog is a white doberman, white below and fawn on top with blue eyes. He is a neutered male, approximately six years old, with a history of dog skin melanoma. The melanoma tumor was removed 2.5 years ago. Within the last month, the dog has started to develop white, dime-sized areas in some locations, and in other areas on his back, he is losing pigment and developing almost a fawn-like spotting.


Otherwise, he seems to be acting and eating normally. He does have periodic problems with diarrhea and is on a limited protein, venison diet which he has been on most of his life. He is given no other medications other than those for heartworm and flea protection.

Editor Comment

Dear Kathy,

Thank you for submitting your question.

Dog skin melanomas are cancerous developments related to pigment producing cells (melanocytes) of the body. Though the exact cause is not known, some breeds including Dobermans are genetically prone to this condition.

Cutaneous or dog skin melanoma in Dobermans usually only affect the skin and toes. The severity and metastasis or chance that the cancer will spread depends upon the location of the cancer and if the cancer is malignant (type that spreads quickly). A canine skin melanoma may recur, even after successful surgeries.

It is therefore always required that dogs with a history of melanoma be regularly tested for regrowth of any dog skin tumors.

Though, we cannot be sure without an in person examination, it appears that the current dog skin pigmentation problems are related to the melanoma history. To be on the safe side, we suggest taking your dog for a detailed check up and testing.

Canine melanoma over the skin surface usually appears darkened, but it is possible that other parts of the skin, areas between the darkened areas, can appear pink or colorless.

While your dog is re-diagnosed for possible canine skin melanomas, we recommend that you provide added support for your dogs overall skin health. Added support will also help the body combat any toxicity being caused by the possible existence of cancerous tissues and affected melanocytes.

We recommend the use of natural remedies that are formulated for this purpose. Two that we suggest are C-Caps, which will improve cellular health and Skin and Coat Tonic to support skin condition.

Remember this is only for support as you should get your dog properly diagnosed and then treated accordingly.

Also, the use of a heartworm medication may indicate some type of vascular or circulatory problem. Dobermans have a comparatively stricter vascular/circulatory system then other breeds, i.e. Dobermann are prone to dilated cardiac myopathies and bleeding disorders.

Since, your dog was prescribed heartworm medication, it could indicate a serious problem such as a problem with the overall physiological status or health of your pet.

Prevention or prophylaxis for heartworm disease is usually prescribed in endemic areas, Dobermans are genetically prone to cardiac myopathies (Abnormalities of cardiac muscles) in major. It means that problems related with heart muscles are genetically more common in this breed, which also relates with overall circulatory system health.

Said another way, Heartworm can be completely prevented with macrolide prophylaxis, however, the problem with Dobermans and some other breeds is that of genetic cardiac myopathies (weakening). It is noticed that even minor exposure to parasitic factors can trigger serious cardiac myopathies. It can be less important in young dogs, but in this case (age over 6 years) it can turn into a serious condition. It is therefore always preferred that such dogs, especially Doberman's are prescribed cardiac supplements. Here, we are prescribing a natural dog heart remedy, which is a heart and circulation tonic, which will surely help to improve cardiac muscle strength and reduce the chance of any possible cardiac myopathies.

Remember, the clinical symptoms you are seeing are not important per se, they only become important if laboratory testing confirms the presence of a confirmed disease or condition. Also, heartworm disease can cause an immediate medical emergency, without showing any prior symptoms.

Best of luck and please keep us up to date and let us know if the problem is a return of the dog skin melanoma.

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