They stand out from the crowd, and can look great. But puppies with Blue Dog Syndrome will suffer from painful skin problems as they grow up – and there’s no cure.
The coat of a Doberman might shine in a wonderful blue-black, while sweet little Labrador pups can have a silvery shimmer. But animal rights activists warn real animal lovers to steer clear of buying a dog with such a coat.
The reason is that these beauties often pay a high price for their distinctiveness because they suffer from a disease called Colour Dilution Alopecia, or Blue Dog Syndrome.
The condition affects hair pigmentation, explains Tina Hoelscher, a veterinary surgeon who works for the German animal protection organisation Aktion Tier.
This changes the coat colour, but it also makes the individual hairs weaker and causes them break off faster. That leads to an unsightly – and often painful – loss of fur.
As the puppies reach puberty, the first bald spots will start to appear. These are often accompanied by scaling and inflammation of the skin. The symptoms can usually be treated in the short-term with antibiotics, but the improvement doesn’t last long because there is no cure for the condition.
Hoelscher says that responsible dog breeders should always carry out a genetic test on their breeding animals before allowing them to mate – that’s the best way to ensure that only healthy animals pass on their genes to the next generation. – dpa
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