Vitiligo in cats: the disease of vitiligo

Do you know the Canadian model Winnie Harlow? Her best-known trademark is the well-defined white patches on her otherwise dark skin. Michael Jackson has also repeatedly stated that he suffered from a skin lesion known as “white spot disease”. Vitiligo can occur in humans and animals. But what is behind it and how do you recognize vitiligo in cats?

Vitiligo can affect both humans and animals

“Vitiligo”, the technical term for the rare and still largely unexplored disease, occurs and is in both humans and animals essentially an optical phenomenon. the background is an Alteration of color pigment production in skin and hair (or fur), melanin, which is formed by the so-called melanocytes. In humans, the function of melanin in the summer is clearly seen. When exposed to the sun, the activity of the dye cells increases, more melanin is formed. The skin tans and thus accumulates a certain natural protection against harmful UV rays. In the case of vitiligo, these coloring pigments no longer form (sufficiently) on the affected skin areas. The extent can range from a single small dot to “discoloration” of the entire body.

Where does vitiligo in cats come from?

The causes of this autoimmune disease are not yet clearly explored. What is certain is that the body “acts against itself”, so to speak, and destroys melanocytes in the process. In humans, a suspected genetic predisposition, as the disease may be more common within a family. shine more Stress, strong sunlight, and other factors harmful to the skin affecting the disease. A connection with other autoimmune diseases (eg of the thyroid gland) is suspected – at least in humans. The extent to which animals are also affected is unclear or has not been explored. Significantly less than one percent of animals such as cattle, dogs, and cats are affected by vitiligo. and here predominantly dark fur types of both sexes. The disease can occur at any stage of life. However, the first symptoms usually appear in adolescence.

What are the effects of vitiligo in cats?

Clearly classified as a risk for data subjects is an increased risk of skin cancer, which can and should be minimized by appropriate protective measures such as sun protection creams. In humans, there are also various therapeutic approaches that promote skin pigmentation and thus minimize the extent of the disease or prevent its spread. Since stress is believed to be a factor in later relapses, one of the goals is to Increase patient resilience and a general stress reduction. There is currently no known treatment for cats, but a species-appropriate, low-stress life is desirable in many ways (not only) for affected cats. Overall, however, cats have vitiligo no known limitations to their life expectancy or quality of life due to the pigmentary disorder alone.

Little beauty from the internet: Vitiligo cat Elli

Elli, one of the cats, is a particularly well-known originally black and white tuxedo cat from southern Germany which, with more than 100,000 subscribers is now a social media celebrity. What started out as a few white spots on his black fur we can now admire as a whiter and whiter cat over the years. Ellis Halter:innen documents the life of the pretty cat lady and thus also her optical changes through regular contributions. From a pretty black and white cat, she is now one almost white beauty with some black accents become. One could say from “simply beautiful” to “extraordinarily beautiful” – in any case, otherwise a completely normal cat.

Is your cat also affected?

As you can see, there is no need to worry if your black cat gradually turns into a snowflake on all fours. On the contrary: you are of course authorized to leave your home with a real rarity among velvet paws divide. If the disease is still in its early stages, use the time now to shield and protect areas of the skin that are often affected and have only thin fur (especially the ears and nose). Gradually get your cat used to using sunscreen (unscented). Children’s products are ideal, without dyes and additives). The earlier you start, the more time you have for relaxed practice.

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