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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 13038
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 18 years.
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My westie, Rex, has dark gray skin he doesn't seem to have

Customer Question

My westie, Rex, has dark gray skin he doesn't seem to have any itching. Can you tell me why his skin is dark?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 years ago.
Welcome! I am Dr. Altman, a licensed veterinarian and happy to answer your questions today.
Westies are prone to skin problems as you may already know and are also prone to endocrine problems such as hypothyroidism, adrenal gland dysfunction, etc. The most common problem with skin in Westies is atopic dermatitis, which is similar to allergies of unknown origin. With chronic skin irritation or endocrine diseases they get what is called hyperpigmentation. This is were more melanin pigment is deposited in the skin than normal and they develop blackened areas or blackened spots on the skin. The fact that it is more generalized for her and that there are no significant skin issues with licking, redness, hair loss makes me lean more towards an endocrine condition for Rex.
The pigmentation is very noticeable due to the white color of the hair and the usual pink skin color of the dogs. This is not a problem in and of itself and usually doesn't require any special treatment. Although this could be an indicator of a more severe problem such as thyroid or adrenal disease that may need to be treated.
If it progresses (Typically I like to take weekly photos at different angles to monitor for progression), I would recommend a full exam and workup with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying conditions that could be treated. I would not panic about just the hyperpigmentation especially if your dog has had some skin irritations or allergies in the past.
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Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 2 years ago.
Hi Donna,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Rex. How is everything going?

Dr. Altman