Hyperpigmentation in Dogs

Hyperpigmentation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
15 Veterinary Answers

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Hyperpigmentation in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

What is Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation can be the result of many conditions in your dog. There is a primary and secondary type of hyperpigmentation and the primary type is usually evident by the time your dog is a year old. 

Due to hyperpigmentation being caused by other conditions, it may only be a minor issue compared to larger concerns you may have about your dog. It may appear that he has a skin infection, allergies and other primary conditions.

Hyperpigmentation is when your dog’s skin begins to darken and thicken in areas. Hyperpigmentation is not a disease in and of itself, rather it is a reaction to something else going on with the skin. 

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

Hyperpigmentation Average Cost

From 439 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Hyperpigmentation in Dogs

Signs discussed below will be of actual hyperpigmentation, not necessarily the underlying or other conditions your dog may be dealing with. 

  • Discoloration – The areas affected may be light brown to black in color
  • Skin changes – The impacted area may become velvety, rough, thickened and there may also be hair loss
  • Areas prone to hyperpigmentation – The groin, legs and armpits are often impacted and will most likely be where you notice the changes 
  • Areas may appear red around the edges – This is due to a bacterial or yeast infection that is secondary to the hyperpigmentation and underlying issues and can spread to other parts of his body 

Types

Primary 

  • Rare – Thought to be breed specific
  • Typically, only occurs in the Dachshund breed
  • Signs are typically present and obvious by the time he is a year old

Secondary

  • Very common among all dog breeds
  • Obesity (Labrador Retrievers, Pugs, Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, Cairn Terriers, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers and more)
  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Allergies (Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Basset Hounds, Jack Russell Terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Irish Setters, Yorkshire Terriers)
  • Contact dermatitis (Border Collies, German Shepherds, Dalmatians, Dobermans, Great Danes, Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters)
  • Skin infections
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Hyperpigmentation in Dogs

The causes of hyperpigmentation vary greatly and are typically signs of larger medical concerns your dog is experiencing. 

  • Hypothyroidism – Up to 33% of dogs diagnosed with hypothyroidism showed signs of hyperpigmentation as one of their symptoms
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – Some dogs diagnosed with lupus 
  • Allergies – If your dog experiences allergies he may also develop hyperpigmented areas on his skin 
  • Malassezia –  a yeast infection that often has hyperpigmentation as a symptom
  • Demodicosis – caused by a mite and is a lesser known cause of hyperpigmentation 
  • Pseudo-Cushing’s Syndrome – Is an endocrine disorder that is common in dogs middle age and older and can have hyperpigmentation as a result
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Hyperpigmentation in Dogs

Diagnosis of hyperpigmentation is accomplished by your veterinarian looking for the typical signs of the condition. Your veterinarian will want to perform a full physical exam and history. Gentle scrapings of his skin may be taken to determine any underlying causes such as parasites or infections. If allergies are thought to be the culprit, food trials may be done to attempt to isolate the cause of symptoms. 

No further testing should be necessary to diagnose the actual hyperpigmentation. However, testing may be done to ensure your veterinarian has identified the underlying cause of your dog’s symptoms.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Hyperpigmentation in Dogs

If hyperpigmentation is primary there is no cure. However, when caught early enough the signs can be managed with shampoos and steroid ointments. Other medications can be used as signs increase or get worse. In the event that there are any other infections, those will be treated as well. 

When the diagnosis is secondary hyperpigmentation your dog’s skin will return to normal once the underlying issue is taken care of. It will be important to also treat any bacterial or yeast infections that he has as well as the hyperpigmentation. 

Antibiotics and antifungal medications can be used to treat yeast infections and bacterial infections of your dog’s skin. Medicated shampoos may also be utilized to help your dog’s skin. Treatment is applied 2-3 times a week and the progress may be slow. Relapse of hyperpigmentation will only be high if the underlying cause of the symptom is not taken care of correctly.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Hyperpigmentation in Dogs

As identified above progress can be slow and it can take weeks or months before your dog’s skin appears normal again. Your veterinarian will discuss any need for follow-up appointments for him. Most follow-up will be needed to continue treating the underlying cause of the hyperpigmentation.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Hyperpigmentation Average Cost

From 439 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Hyperpigmentation Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Irish Terrier

dog-age-icon

Seven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

14 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

I believe my dog is suffering from hyperpigmentation in the groin area. He does a lot of licking there, and gets hot spots during the summer. How can I treat this? (Sorry, not the best of photos. Just trying to illustrate the black spots in the affected area.)

Jan. 3, 2021

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

recommendation-ribbon

14 Recommendations

As you say, unfortunately the picture isn't very clear. Sometimes, pigmented patches are normal. Other times, we may be dealing with a lichenification (thickening and darkening) of the skin due to chronic infection / lick trauma. Another consideration would be a yeast overgrowth; you may also notice greasy fur and a musty smell. He likely has an underlying issues such as atopic dermatitis which should be looked into and treated. Many, for example, will need anti itch medicine prescribed by their vet.

Jan. 3, 2021

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

One Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hyper Pigmentation Of Skin

My one year old yellow lab (Tucker) developed a darker brown spot on his leg shortly after getting his rabies shot. He had no itching or irritation and was walking and running fine. The spot has grown into a large place on his leg now and upon shaving the fur off of that leg his skin is also discolored. Tucker is on a flea/ tick/ heartworm pill and was scratching some but we also added the dinovite to his regime and he seems to be much better. There is a tiny bump that looks as if it could possibly be a bug bite but again this place has been there for 8 months. He has seen the vet.

Oct. 6, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I"m not sure what you are actually asking, but that is a large area of irritation 8 months later! I would be concerned about clotting or immune disease, but if your veterinarian has seen him and the dinovite is helping, that might be totally fine. I hope that that spot is smaller soon and he continues to do well!

Oct. 6, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

Hyperpigmentation Average Cost

From 439 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image
Ask a vet
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.