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Can Dogs get Liver Spots?

My dog has very thin blonde hair. She now has really dark spots on her skin (some small- some large) and she is losing her...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Jun 24th 2008


My dog has very thin blonde hair. She now has
really dark spots on her skin (some small- some
large) and she is losing her hair. They are not
sores – just dark spots. She still acts like she
feels fine and is still very hyper. Could this be
allergies or a skin rash?

Diana
Sachse, Texas

You don’t mention your dog’s age. If she is older, I suspect that the dark spots are natural pigmentary changes. In people, these are known as liver spots.

It is quite common for dogs to develop liver spots as they mature. The are dark and irregular in shape. They do not itch or hurt, and they are harmless. In thin-coated dogs, they can be seen through the fur. In dogs with thicker coats, they may be invisible unless the hair above them is trimmed.

In people, liver spots are occasionally a precursor to skin cancer. This happens less often in dogs.

One thing that is not normal, however, is for hair to fall out above a liver spot. You mention that your dog is losing hair. Is she going bald over the areas in question?

Given your dog’s hair loss, the safest option is a trip to the vet. He or she should be able to determine whether there is anything to worry about.