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I have a Miniature Schnauzer that has a black undercoat.

However, as the hair grows...
I have a Miniature Schnauzer that has a black undercoat. However, as the hair grows out it seems to fade to a brown, light brown even a dark blonde at the very ends. Her Doc has tested her for thyroid problems and also for blood sugar rate. Her thyroid came back within range and her fasting blood sugar was 78. Do you have any idea why my darling MS hair color is fading? Any advice would help. My vet says we could test her for many other things but could be spending thousands of dollars. Do you have any ideas I'd like to find out if there is a problem without breaking the bank.

Thanks, XXXXX in
Texas

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Age: 1; Female; Breed: Miniature Schnauzer

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Answered in 7 hours by:
1/27/2006
NancyH
NancyH, Pet Health Care, Rescue,Train,Breed
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 31,958
Experience: 30+yrs pet vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior & training, responsible breeding, small animal care
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I think you may need to look at her pedigree to find out why her coat is changing.
If her pedigree shows any of the so called white dogs in the breed that might be it. Miniature Schnauzers can have a pigment flaw where the 'salt' part of a salt and pepper color pattern dog is filled in with 'yellow' or brown coloration. As dogs mature such color patterns can emerge when they change from puppy to adult coat.
Various fading genes control the intensity of the color.
You might want to pull a multi generational color pedigree from www.akc.org just to see if colors in the background would be consistent with this.
However I have seen intestinal parasites change coat color in a dog - in particular whipworms which are very hard to detect can leach enough nutrition from a dog to cause coat color changes.
Hope this helps you!
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Customer reply replied 11 years ago
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: Thanks for the info. My dogs' coat is black except for the very ends on the longer part. On the ends it looks dull, and over processed, much as a persons that has dyed and stripped their hair or maybe sun bleached to the max.
Almost 'rusting' on the ends would that sound right?
I would look at two things involving nutrition which would be worming for whipworms which can hide undetected through mutiple worm tests of stool, and looking at what you are feeding. Many coat and skin problems are best treated from 'the inside out' through nutrition. Eukanuba or Iams is believed to add brown to coats by many for example.
With a dog the coat is a last place to get nutrition so its a first place to look at condition as it will show there.
Another possibility is the way she is being groomed. Terrier type coats should have the old dead coat pulled out not clippered. I use a tool called a Mars Coat King to help with that and it pulls out dead coat nicely. Clippering and scissoring can work fine on pets but you can end up with some coat changes from doing so including getting some whispier hair with less color.
If you look at the color information in the breed standard here
http://www.akc.org/breeds/miniature_schnauzer/index.cfm
You will see they list 'fading' to a matt black from a glossy black as nothing to penalize but that black and silver pattern dogs should show no browning. That tells you browning can happen.
Another possibility if the color change is only in the leg or paw area she might be licking herself due to allergies and that can cause coat to turn brown on the surface like it can near the eyes as the saliva allows an iron fixing bacteria to grow in the hair creating the 'rust' staining.
If you found my answer helpful please do accept it and thanks!
NancyH
NancyH, Pet Health Care, Rescue,Train,Breed
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Satisfied Customers: 31,958
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