Changes in the color or texture of the hair or skin can be important clues in patients with skin disease. Picture 1 shows the staining that occurs from a dog’s saliva due to excess chewing or licking.  This can be a clue of too much itch at sites where the staining occurs. In some patients it can also indicate a yeast infection (Malassezia dermatitis).

Picture 2 indicates the color and texture changes that can occur to a dog’s skin due to chronic self-trauma secondary to itch. The skin becomes thickened (termed “hyperplasia”); veterinary dermatologists will call this “lichenification” but more commonly it is referred to as “elephant skin”.  The skin also commonly changes to a darker color (termed “hyperpigmentation”). This darker color occurs in many dogs as a natural response to previous inflammation or infection and often resolves over time once the cause has resolved.

Possible Causes:

  • Environmental allergies (Atopic Dermatitis)
  • Flea allergy
  • Food allergy
  • Parasites
  • Bacterial infection (Pyoderma) or Yeast infection (Malassezia dermatitis)

For additional information please see the following articles: