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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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My dogs lips have turned pink. What could be happening

Customer Question

My dogs lips have turned pink. What could be happening?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Hi thereCustomer


Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.


Is his nose turning pink as well?


Are the lips ulcerated and scaley at all, or smooth and soft?


Over what period of time did this happen (roughly) - hours, days, weeks, months or years?



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
His lips are smooth and soft. His nose is still fine, occasionally dry but not cronic. This has happened over the last month or so. Around the beginning of this time he was also having alot of diarhea and some vomiting. (off and on about a week). This seems to have cleared up though.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Is his nose black?


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes his nose is black.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Ahhh... ok, thanks for that further information. I am going to go work on your answer and will be back in 10-15minutes.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks! I'll watch my e-mail.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Hi again,



Thanks for that further information, and great description!


You are describing loss of pigment which is called depigmentation. When we see this without any other lesions such as crusting, scaling or ulcers, it is most likely something called vitiligo. With vitiligo there will be a complete absence of pigmentation along the lips and gums and sometimes around the eyes. The tissue will be nice and pink. No redness or ulcers.


Vitiligo is prevalent in Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers, but we see it in other breeds as well. The disorder is characterized by non-inflammatory symmetrical depigmentation of the nose and lips primarily, but other areas may be affected as well. It is thought to be due to a hereditary immune-mediated destruction of melanocytes.

Affected animals should not be bred.

There is no effective treatment for this disorder.

Here is more information about this disorder:

So, there is no treatment, or way to prevent this from continuing until the whole lip area and perhaps nose become pink. If your boy is not neutered, you should keep in mind that this is not a trait that would be considered desirable and he should not be bred.




I hope that helps you. If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and leave feedback. If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


Dr.Fiona and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for your help. He is neutered and came from a rescue organization so we are not absolutly sure of the health of the parents. We do have a regular vet visit coming up soon but it is good to know that this is likely not serious. Appreciate it!! Thanks.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

You are so welcome! :-)

Best wishes,