Autoimmune diseases affecting skin melanocytes in dogs, cats and horses: vitiligo and the uveodermatological syndrome: a comprehensive review

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Autoimmune dermatoses targeting melanocytes have gained attention in human medicine due to their progressive nature and the social impact suffered by affected individuals. In veterinary medicine, vitiligo and the uveodermatological syndrome are the two autoimmune diseases that are known to affect skin melanocytes.

In the first part of this article, we will review the signalment, clinical signs, histopathology and the treatment outcome of vitiligo in dogs, cats and horses; where pertinent, we compare the animal diseases to their human homologue. In a similar fashion, the information on the uveodermatological syndrome in dogs is reviewed and, where relevant, it is compared to the Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) syndrome in humans.

Canine, feline and equine vitiligo have many features that mirror their human counterparts. The most effective treatment and outcome of vitiligo in animals remain unclear. The canine uveodermatological syndrome resembles the incomplete VKH variant in humans; for affected individuals, an immediate diagnosis and aggressive treatment are crucial to prevent the development of blindness.

BMC Veterinary Research. 2019 Jul 19;15(1):251