Image Credits: Pixabay
Albinism, although rare, is found in all animals, dogs not excluded. Majority of people confuse white coated dogs with albino canines. True albinism describes a genetic condition where the pigmentation of eyes, coat, and skin is fully absent. It is important to draw a distinction between dogs having white coats and dogs which have albinism. White coated dogs are only white, and albinos appear white due t the absence of pigmentation.
Comparing white with true albino
The all white dogs possess genetic markers through which the white pigment suppresses or masks all other colors. In contrast, albinism is the result of both melanin and also the enzymes which produce it. Some dogs, however, shows albinism characteristics even being without true albinos. There are many traits which make an albino dog a true albino.
It can be visually identified as to whether you own an albino dog. The surest way is to do genetic testing. If you do not want to run expensive tests, then observe the nose and the eyes. The eyes, along with the tissue encircling the eye sockets of albino dogs seem to exhibit a specific pinkish hue. This pink in the skin and the eyes is not actually pink. The pink present in such cases is the diffused blood flow in such areas.
Dogs can process greater available light compared to human eyes. This is why canines have much better night vision. It is also why the dog’s eyes appear red when photographed with a flash attachment. What is perceived as red or pink in the eyes of a normal dog is just the excess light being reflected back via blood vessels in the eyes. In case of an albino dog, the pink of its eyes, skin, and nose will seem extremely pale and even bleached out. The eyes of the albino dog may retain minimal pigmentation, but the coloration too will be bleached out. The eyes of the albino dog will be translucent or pale. The absence of pigmentation and melanin in the skin of the dog puts such dogs at a much higher risk from not only sunburn but also the development of skin cancers.
A few dogs may suffer from partial albinism, with a little pigmentation. This is noticeable on the stomach or the nose. This is known as partial albinism. There is a huge melanin range and a number of different albinisms can be observed in dogs. A dog suffering from partial albinism will generate only a small quantity of albinism, enough to generate limited coloration. Other than a few pigmented areas, like in the coat, eyes, or skin, the remaining area will appear drained of color and pale.