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Albino dog : what are the particularities ?

Albinism can affect humans and animals. This disease is quite rare in canids. The albino dog can not be registered in the French Book of Origins (LOF). It presents some particularities that we will discuss here. Let's also see if albinism has an impact on the health of the dog.

What is an albino dog ?

Albinism in dogs, as in any animal or in humans for that matter, is manifested by a deficient production of melanin. This is a pigment that gives hair, eyes and skin their color. This is the reason why the albino dog is white. This condition is aggravated by daylight and is called photo-genodermatosis.

Albinism is an inherited genetic disease. The albino dog has automatically received a carrier gene from his father and one from his mother. On the other hand, it cannot be albino if it receives only one copy of this gene. Some dog breeds are more prone to albinism. This is the case for light-colored breeds, but it does not mean that dark-colored breeds cannot be affected by albinism. It should also be noted that a dog with white or cream fur is not an albino dog... Similarly, if he is white and his eyes are dark, he is not affected by albinism.

Physical characteristics of the albino dog

There is a strong chance that a dog is albino if it presents the following specificities.
  • A completely white coat, without spots, streaks or dark spots...
  • The eyelids as well as the "third eyelid" or nictitating membrane, the skin and the lashes are also depigmented.
  • A thinning of the iris and thus an abnormal shape of the pupil (we speak of dyscoria). Thus, the eyes take on a blue or reddish color. Some albino dogs have eyes of several colors, i.e. heterochromatic.

Is the health of the albino dog fragile?

The albino dog is exposed to different health problems. He must therefore be regularly monitored by the veterinarian from a very young age. It is also necessary that his master takes care daily to protect him from the sun because of the absence of pigmentation, the animal is predisposed to the risks of cutaneous melanomas or cancers of the skin as well as to the risks of ocular melanomas.

Albinism also favors :
  • The disorders of the nervous system,
  • Deafness,
  • Bilateral ocular disorders,
  • Photophobia, that is to say that the dog is embarrassed when he is exposed to full light.
It is very important to consult a veterinarian so that albinism can be diagnosed.

The prognosis of albinism is good, although there is no treatment for it. The care of the animal is based on its protection. It should not be exposed to full light. On the other hand, if it presents a pathology linked to albinism such as a melanoma for example, it is obviously fundamental that a care protocol can be set up by the veterinarian. Finally, if albinism cannot be cured, there is a solution to prevent it: do not breed a dog and a bitch if they are both albino.