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NancyH
NancyH, Pet Health Care, Rescue,Train,Breed
Category: Pet
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Experience:  30+yrs pet vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior & training, responsible breeding, small animal care
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Weird black patch on Bichon!!!!

Customer Question

I have a year and a half year old BIchon girl... about a week ago i noticed a black patch on her skin, on the side of her back and i thought maybe it was a bruise, maybe she fell? but today me and my mother realized that she has black rims around her eyes that i've never noticed before... we're really worried that there could be something terrible wrong with her. Please help
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Vamvakias replied 11 years ago.

 It is not uncommon for white...pink skinned dogs to develop patches of black pigment in spots. The eyes, lips, nose, toes, and skin can develop these large black "freckles". If the skin is not raised or irritated then this is a normal process.  To reassure yourself...a vet can have a look at any time.


Dr.V

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vamvakias's Post: THank you for your answer... but this is what worries me. The spots aren't like freckles... It's a huge spot, probably five inches in diameter. We just found another one on her ear that is like an inch and her eyes are still black.
Expert:  Dr. Vamvakias replied 11 years ago.

 Is the area raised or itchy or anything?


Dr.V

Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
I am a breeder and spend time checking out breed standards in many breeds other than my own and realised Dr V might not be as familiar with them as I am but I thihk that original assessment was correct - its normal.
From the AKC breed standard for this breed it sounds like your dog's eyes are correctly pigmented - look at the info on the Halo and the eye rims below from the section of the breed standard on eyes in this breed:
" Halos, the black or very dark brown skin surrounding the eyes, are necessary as they accentuate the eye and enhance expression. The eye rims themselves must be black. Broken pigment, or total absence of pigment on the eye rims produce a blank and staring expression, which is a definite fault." from http://www.akc.org/breeds/bichon_frise/index.cfm
From the Irish breed standard on this breed I found this "Black, blue or beige markings often found on skin." here is the link to that standard which is probably the FCI version http://www.irishdogs.ie/Breeds/Bichon%20Fris%C3%A8.htm
It makes sense to me as a breeder that genetically when you have skin pigment expected in patches, in particular areas of the dog such as around the eye area, that you might see it in other spots too.
I think your dog is actually likely to be showing normal pigmentation for its breed.
If your dog was recently trimmed short it might also be that the sun has augmented the pigmented spots by 'tanning' them making those spots stand out a bit more than usual.
If none of this sounds reasonable to you keep going with Dr V to try to identify any possible skin issues.
Hope this helps!

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