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Dogs with white paws, or hypomelanosis of Ito, are not a unique breed. They are common in several other breeds of dogs, especially terriers. The only unique feature is the color of their paws, which can be dark, tan, or white. The problem with hypomelanosis is that the white-color paw-pads cannot be seen. Therefore, they are more likely to be injured, resulting in broken toes and even torn-off nls. This may leave the owners and veterinarians wondering what the reason is for this unusual medical condition. The answer lies in genetics.
In some breeds of dogs, skin cells are produced on the paw only during certn times of the year. A genetic abnormality exists that causes the cells to not be produced at all, resulting in white paws.
The same genetic problem is present in many other breeds of dogs. Among them, are the Irish terrier, Lhasa Apso, Cocker Spaniel, Maltese, and German Shepherd, to name a few. If your dog has these symptoms, it will be necessary to have his or her skin examined by your veterinarian.
As you can see, many of the common breeds of dogs have been affected by this problem, even though their paws are only partly white. A similar skin condition exists in humans. The so-called palmoplantar hypermelanosis or skin overlying the pads of the fingers and toes is found in approximately 2% of all Caucasians. It is more common in children.
The condition involves the white skin cells, or melanocytes, which are produced in the epidermis of palms, soles, and nls. In the early stages, there is a thickening of the epidermis, then, as the disease progresses, it progresses to a thinning of the epidermis and finally to a loss of the epidermis.
The loss of the skin results in the development of a white callus on the bottom of the foot or finger. In addition, there may be yellow patches on the soles of the feet.
Palmoplantar hypermelanosis is a genetic condition. It occurs in some breeds of dogs, including the Australian Cattle Dog, Bullmastiff, Doberman, German Shepherd, and Boxer. Unfortunately, you cannot know your dog’s or your family’s predisposition to the disease unless you have a DNA test.
Because of this genetic problem, your best option is to watch for signs that your dog may be developing the disease. The symptoms include white paws that become more prominent, an increase in the number of white or yellowish lesions on the paw pad, or more pronounced nls. You will also know your dog has developed the problem if he or she becomes more prone to scratching.
The only treatment is to remove the affected areas. Many people opt for plastic surgery using either a caustic agent, acid, or nl polish remover. Another option is to use a commercial product, such as "Clinacure." The problem is that none of these treatments actually gets rid of the underlying problem, and dogs who use them will still develop new problems.
One alternative is laser surgery. By applying a pulse of laser light to the affected area, the damaged epidermis is killed and new, healthy skin is produced. In the beginning stages of the disease, this new skin may look pinkish or whitish. As time goes on, the new skin will darken and become smooth. It will also become less likely that your dog will have an episode of the disease.
This surgery is avlable at small veterinary practices. As with any veterinary surgery, your dog will need a sedative or anesthetist to keep him or her still while the procedure is taking place. In most cases, the surgery is done in two or three sessions.
# The Ultimate "Sniff" It Out
If you suspect that your dog has a problem with mites or fleas, your dog should be taken to the veterinarian for a "sniff test" or skin scrap. This examination is a simple test to determine if mites or fleas are infesting your dog's skin. This is a quick procedure. Most dogs tolerate it without any sedation or anesthesia. With a little guidance, most dogs enjoy being treated by a vet.
The test is performed by applying a drop of olive oil to the dog's stomach. The oil is allowed to coat the skin for about three seconds. The doctor then takes a cotton swab and touches the oil drop on a portion of the dog's skin. If the oil drop is a darker color than the dog's skin, the doctor concludes that mites are present and is ready to do a treatment.
A positive result does not mean that your dog has an infection or a contagious disease. However, if you have confirmed flea infestation and an infected dog is in the home, your dog is highly likely to become infected and carry the fleas. Flea infestation can cause a variety of problems, including anemia, loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or seizures. The sooner your dog is treated for flea infestation, the more effective the treatment will be.
An important part of flea control is treating ticks that bite your dog. Fleas are more likely to bite dogs who have been treated with insecticides in the past month. If your dog has brown dog ticks, you can treat yourself with a product such as Tick Chill® or a product contning permethrin, such as Advantage® or Deckle®. These are applied directly to the dog's tick environment: the skin, collar, hr and surrounding area. The active ingredient attacks the ticks and kills the eggs as well. It is important to apply permethrin to the entire dog, including the face, ears and eyelids. You can leave the product in the hr and on the skin until the activity of the tick spray passes. You may wash the area the next day to make sure there is no product in the skin folds, such as the groin or armpits. While these homemade remedies won't cure the problem, they will help prevent the larvae from maturing into adult ticks.
Flea-bite dermatitis has earned the name "buck itch" by health professionals. The veterinary dermatologist would likely diagnose your dog as having an allergy to the saliva of the brown dog tick (which is actually made up of a complex mixture of saliva from several flea species).
**T REATING THE ENVIRONMENT**
The easiest way to control fleas is to prevent the animal from becoming flea infested in the first place. This includes avoiding exposure to infested animals and the parasite-infested environments that they create. Even if your dog isn't exposed to other dogs, he's at risk for exposure to the parasite-infested environments that they create. For example, the lawn of the neighbor's dog can be a source of fleas. Avoid this risk by keeping the size of the dog's world as small as possible, especially in the winter months.
The importance of cleaning up after your dog can't be overemphasized. These little fleas have a developed survival instinct and will go to whatever environment is the most conducive to their needs. Their first instinct is to strike and hide in the crevices of whatever skin they can find. Dogs follow their natural instincts. They want to move and play and feel the surface of their bodies. Keep your dog indoors and limit his access to areas where fleas may lurk. The next line of defense, in the battle