If you have a very white Labrador, you may be wondering if it is albino. Some yellow labs can be extremely white looking and others have blue eyes and brownish muddy colored noses. They can both give the impression of albinism. However, this does not mean that they are. An actual albino animal has no pigment in one of two manners:
- Oculocutaneous – in eyes, skin, and hair.
- Ocular –in just the eyes.
There are also different levels and types of albinism. For example, not all albino creatures have red eyes. Those with red eyes lack the ocular pigment that would typically keep us from being able to see the the blood flowing through they eye’s blood vessels. Albino animals with blue or green or red eyes will have a greater light sensitivity, for obvios reasons. So keep that in mind when they are out in the sun. Avoid bright lights getting directly in their eyes as they may actually find it painful.
If you are having trouble figureing out whetehr yoru dog is albino, or just light skinned, or what to do to help them, then be sure to see your vet. What this article includes are tips and advice, not from a doctor, but from a pet owner and dog lover. I am not a doctor.
Melanin is where both humans and animals get their pigment. It filters and guards our skin from UV rays. So, always be careful when they are outdoors, as they require extra protection. Unless your Labrador has an extremely dense coat, limit continuous time in the sun and never leave them out all day. Just like humans, albino animals are likely to get skin cancer if they are not properly protected.
Did you Know? Dalmatians, who are albino in the areas in which they are white, are more likely to be deaf. This is especially true if they have one or two blue eyes. Paint horses, who are dominantly white, have the same issues with deafness in horses with partial or fully blue eyes.
Albino animals are more like to suffer from neurological problems, vision issues, and immune disorders. A truly albino dog is a rarity. But, if you should find yourself owning one know that they are every bit as intelligent, loving and charming as any Labrador. They just require special protections ans safeguards.
Tyrosinase is an important part of melanin production, and the lack of it is what causes albinism in all animals, and people. They are technically called Tyrosinase negative. This is caused by a recessive gene that is inherited. It must be inherited from both parents.
Tyrosinase-positive dogs are whiter than normal but sill have pigment. They have a somewhat gray or cream color.
Albinism cannot be treated but it can be managed. These dogs simply have unique needs which their owner needs to be cautious about. It’s important not to get an albino Labrador unless you have the time, the lifestyle, and the inclination to take extra precautions with your pet. Albino dog are far more prone to sunburn, for obvious reasons. And, this leads to skin cancer and other skin diseases and problems. But there are simple solutions like dog goggles to protect your pooch’s precious eyes. You can also use plain old human sunscreen on the areas of the body which do not have thick fur.
Top 10 facts about Albino animals and people:
- Animals and people with albinism almost always have one or more eye conditions, including poor eyesight, sensitivity to light, and more.
- “Moby Dick” is based on a real whale with albinism known in real life as “Mocha Dick.” It was a destructive and aggressive whale who warded off many whalers and sailors. That just goes to prove that being Albino doesn’t mean anything about strength or health.
- Albino people synthesize vitamin D five times faster than other. This causes light to enter more easily
- Various other pigmentation disorders include: erythrism, which is excessive red pigmentation, xanthochromism, excessive yellow pigmentation, and vitiligo, which is loss of pigmentation in patches on the skin. This is the disease that Michael Jackson was said to have.
So, in summary, if you have an albino dog, great! They will likely be healthy and happy pets who live full lives. They may need a little extra eye and skin protection. So, if you are not interested in worrying about sunscreen or keeping your dog in when the sun is out, then choose a color Labrador that can handle the sunshine and light. Obviously, that would be any other color – chocolate, black, or yellow.
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