Blue Doberman syndrome occurs in many breeds of dogs (Doberman, Blue Mastiff, Chow Chow, Setter). The coat appears lighter and bluish. Sometimes your dogs have only a sparse, thin coat. In some breeds these off-colors are recognized by the FCI as breed standard. But most of the time, the interesting color also has an impact on your dog's health.
Basics and causes of the Blue Dobermann Syndrome in dogs
The Blue Dobermann Syndrome is an inherited disease. Your dog's coat color is controlled by a gene that is present in two variants in the genetic material. The intensive coat colour (D) is inherited dominantly, the weakened colour (d) recessively. Purebred DD dogs cannot pass on the hereditary disease to their offspring. Dd dogs with a mixed inheritance will pass the disease to some of the puppies. If the dilution gene (dd) is present in a purebred form, all of the offspring will be blue. Since there are diseases associated with the off-colours, the dogs are consistently excluded from breeding.
The colour of the coat hair is determined by the storage of melanocytes (pigment cells). The small colour particles are regularly released to the hair shaft. A dark coat colour develops. If your dog suffers from the hereditary disease, the melanocytes form large pigment clumps. The hair shaft becomes brittle.
Symptoms and diagnosis of the dog disease
- grey to blue coat colour
- thin coat
- shortened life span of the hair
- brittle hair shaft
- bald and weakly haired areas
- the hair shaft is brittle
- the top coat is completely missing
- loss of coat on the ears, the back of the legs and the flanks
- in old dogs with Colour Dilution Alopecia the coat is completely lost
- increased dandruff
- cracked skin
- chronic skin inflammations occur more frequently
- the immune system is weakened
- constant occurrence of diseases
- reduced life expectancy
Dogs carrying the dilution gene have a grey to bluish coat colour. Since the hair shaft is damaged by the pigment clumps, the hair breaks off and falls out. This is why the hereditary disease is also called Colour Dilution Alopecia. The coat of the puppies is still completely normal. Only from the age of six months the first changes appear in your dogs. If the coat shows dark blue tones, the coat problems often do not appear until your dog is two years old.
A diagnosis can be made by microscopic examination of hair and skin. For the biopsy (a small piece of skin is removed with a punch), your dog must be briefly anesthetized.
In addition, a blood test can determine whether your dog carries the dilution gene.
In the case of hair loss, it is essential to clarify whether there is an infestation with fungi and hair lice or a thyroid dysfunction.
Therapy and prevention
The Blue Dobermann Syndrome is not curable. Therefore, the vet can only treat the problems caused by the hereditary disease. For purulent skin infections, your dog will receive antibiotics. Before administering the medication, an antibiogram will determine which antibiotics are best to kill the bacteria. Medicated shampoos with sulfur, moisturizing sprays, and skin oils prevent severe drying of the skin and the formation of skin cracks. Conditioners are applied after bathing to prevent the formation of dandruff.
Dog food should contain a greater amount of saturated and unsaturated fats. The following feed supplements are particularly suitable: evening primrose oil, salmon oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, olive oil and seaweed meal. You can mix these into the feed or give them in the form of capsules and tablets.
As a preventive measure, your dog's skin can be cared for with fragrance-free baby oil. In summer, the skin must be protected with sunscreen to prevent the development of melanosarcomas and squamous cell carcinomas (malignant tumors). Re-greasing shampoos help to maintain the acid mantle of the skin as long as possible and prevent chronic inflammation of the skin.