Nasal depigmentation, also called Dudley nose, is a syndrome of unknown
cause that may be a form of vitiligo. A nose that is solid black at birth
gradually fades to a chocolate brown, or in the case of complete
depigmentation, to pinkish white. Some dogs
experience a remission in which the nose spontaneously becomes darker.
Depigmentation primarily affects the skin of the nose where hair is
absent. It tends to occur in Afghan Hounds, Samoyeds, white German Shepherd
Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Irish Setters, Pointers, and Poodles.
Snow noseisa separate but common condition in which dark pigment on the nose
fades during the winter months and darkens again in spring and summer. Complete
depigmentation does not occur. Snow nose is seen in Siberian Huskies, Golden
Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and other breeds.
These are anti-inflammatory medications, but they do not repair or heal
cartilage. Ideally, they would be used along with supplements and given with
food. These do provide rapid relief from pain.
A few NSAIDs have chondroprotective
characteristics, which means they protect against the breakdown of cartilage.
Others, such as aspirin, actually destroy cartilage in the dosage required for
pain relief. This is one reason why aspirin is used less frequently for
Treatment:Lack of pigment on the nose is primarily a cosmetic problem and is
considered to be a conformation fault in the show ring. A number of home
remedies have been advocated, but their success is questionable. Sunscreen, as
described for nasal solar dermatitis, helps prevent ultraviolet injury to dogs who lack
Plastic Dish Nasal Dermatitis
This is a localized form of depigmentation that affects the nose and lips.
It is caused by eating out of plastic and rubber dishes that contain the
chemical p-benzylhydroquinone. This chemical is absorbed through the skin and
inhibits the synthesis of melanin, the substance that produces dark pigment in
the skin. The involved skin may also become irritated and inflamed.
Treatment:The problem can be corrected by switching to glass, ceramic, or
stainless steel bowls for all the dog’s food and water.
Treatment:Prevent further exposure by keeping your dog indoors as much as
possible when the sunlight is the most intense-between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Letting the dog out on cloudy days does not address the problem, because
ultraviolet rays penetrate clouds. Sunscreens are of some aid in protecting
dogs who spend time outdoors. Use products containing an SPF greater than 15.
Apply the sunscreen 30 to 60 minutes before exposure and again later in the
Treat an irritated nose with a skin preparation such as Cortaid that
contains 0.5 to 1.0 percent hydrocortisone.
Nasal Solar Dermatitis (Collie Nose)
This is a weepy, crusty dermatitis that affects Collies, Australian
Shepherds, Shetland Sheepdogs, and related breeds. It is seen most commonly in
sunny regions such as Florida, California, and the mountainous regions of the
West. It is caused by lack of pigment on the nose and prolonged exposure to the
ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Lack of pigment is hereditary in some dogs, but
it can be acquired through skin diseases and scarring.
Initially, the skin appears normal except for the lack of black pigment.
With exposure to sunlight, the skin at the border between the muzzle and nose
becomes irritated. As the irritation continues, hair
falls out and the skin begins to ooze and crust. With continued exposure, the
skin breaks down. In advanced cases, the whole surface of the nose becomes
ulcerated and the tip itself may disappear, leaving unsightly tissue that
bleeds easily. Skin cancer may develop.