Dogs are considered a human’s best companion and it does not matter what sort of dog they are because to its owner, it will be perfect.
However, taking care of an albino dog is not easy, as they are not the same as normal dogs. Due to the extra care required, it takes a very special and loving kind of dog owner to give them everything they need.
Albinism is a rare case among dogs; it is a result of genetics. It occurs in a dog due to lack of right amount melanin, which is responsible for producing different colours of pigmentation. Albino dogs have a very complex genetic problem in which the pigmentation of the hair, eyes and skin is entirely deficient.
Albino dog owners often do everything to boost the immune system of their canine friend, but it’s not easy to maintain their health. If you’re planning to adopt an albino dog or already have one, then there are some important things that you need to know about them.
- Their Skin Is Sensitive Towards Sunlight
Albino dogs don’t have the right amount of melanin, which is responsible for pigmentation in skin, hair and eyes. But, it also protects dog’s skin from harmful radiation and ultra violet rays of sunlight. Due to fewer quantity of melanin in their body, albino dogs are more sensitive to direct sunlight. It can make them more vulnerable to severe sunburn and skin cancer.
It is one of the major health problems found in albino dogs, which is why they need extra protection from direct contact with sunlight. To protect your pet from such diseases, you can use sunscreen lotions, or ask your vet what kind of shampoo or products you should use for your pet. But, it would be much better if you don’t take your dog out during the hottest time of the day. Some people often trim pets for a better look, but in case of albino dogs, make sure your pet has a thick coat of fur, as it will protect it from harmful UV rays.
- They Have Light Sensitive Eyes
Albino dogs tend to have light blue, green or grey eyes, but not every dog having such eyes is an albino dog. Many people often think that albino dogs have pink eyes, but it’s very rare in them. But, the main concern here is that their eyes are also at risk due to bright lights, especially the dogs that have pale green or red eyes.
It happens due to lack of pigments that perform the task of screening the light entering into the eyes. If albino dogs stay in too much light, they can literally go blind. Even in low light areas, the visual accuracy of albino dogs is not that good. One simple way to protect their eyes is to use goggles or a hat to keep their head in shades.
- Deafness And Albinism
Deafness is a major problem that is often found in albino dogs, as albinism plays a vital role in being deaf. Generally, dogs with white fur, blue or green eyes are more susceptible to deafness. For example, there is very popular albino dog breed known as Dalmatian, most dogs of this breed are often found deaf from the beginning.
Deafness can make it difficult for pets as well as dog owners to understand each other. In such cases, dog owners have to train their pets for sign language or sign commands. Sometimes, even a normal dog doesn’t respond quickly when you try to communicate with it, but it responds to your commands. Similarly, an albino may not be able to hear you, but if trained properly, it will definitely respond to your commands.
- Neurological Problems
Albino dogs are more susceptible to neurological problems, and it happens due to lack of pigments in the brain. Melanin is responsible for providing pigments to every part of the dog’s body. Because of having fewer pigments in their bodies, their brain is not developed with the important receptors, making them susceptible to neurological problems.
Not only dogs, but other albino pets also become a victim of it. For example, the white mice used in laboratories for research work are also the affected albinos. There is no cure for such problems and albino dogs have a short life span because of these problems.
- Risk Of Certain Health Issues
Albino dogs have lesser immunity as compared to normal dogs. Even a small disease can be dangerous for them and lead your pet to sudden death. Apart from this, they’re also prone to skin cancer and tend to lose their hair easily. It doesn’t matter how hard you try or how much effort you put in developing a better immune system for them, they’ll never be able to achieve that strength because of their genes.
Diagnosis Of Albinism In Dogs
Albinism is a genetic disorder which is not curable. There is a research going on the canine genome and the hereditary diseases that affect dogs. But, only a little information has been about albinism yet.
Albino dogs can only be diagnosed through genetic testing. But, scientists don’t have an appropriate genetic marker; their diagnosis is completely based on a perceptible description. Hence, the person performing the diagnosis of albinism must be an experienced professional in the required field. Generally, it ought to be done by a scientist, who has great knowledge in this field.
So, if someone tells you that a dog is an albino, don’t trust them blindly. It is normal for other dogs to have same characteristics as albino dogs. If you’re planning to adopt an albino dog, consult your veterinarian first, as these dogs are prone to certain diseases and need extra care as compared to other dogs. They are more susceptible to depressed immune systems, kidney failure, and anaemia disorders.
But, there is no doubt that these dogs make excellent pets and deserve as much love and care as any other dog. In return, the only thing they want from you is some special care and of course, some TLC.