Your Pet Question:
My golden retriever has what is called "snow nose" (not diagnosed by a vet who looked completely lost when I asked about it!). Apparently the changing colour is common to the breed, but I would like to know if there is a cure aside from moving to a warmer climate or tattooing? Or is this just a genetic trait that breeders should not be passing along?
Kim A. McCaveney, Williams Lake, BC
The Expert Says:
“Snow nose” is a term used to refer to a decrease in the pigmentation of a dog’s nose during the winter months and typically affects dogs with a light coat and black nose like your golden retriever. The pigment will usually return in the spring and summer months but there should not be any other change in pigmentation on other areas of the body. In the golden retriever, this is a cosmetic problem and treatment is not required. In other breeds, this can be a precursor to other diseases. As for breeding, while it IS a genetic trait, it’s not usually selected against as it doesn’t affect the well being of the dog. However, if you notice any other changes to the nose or to the skin, you should take your dog to a veterinarian for an examination.
Dr. Kent Morley is a veterinarian at Properties Animal Clinic, Calgary, Alberta.