Pinking or Depigmentation in Andalusians

 Examples of "pinking" in Andalusian horses

picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking  picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking

Below - normal pigmentation in a bay horse muzzle (left) and grey horse muzzle (right)

picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking  picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking

Pinking, de-pigmentation, pinky syndrome, or pigment loss can happen in grey breeds such as the Spanish Andalusian horse, grey Arabians, Lipizzaners, and others. Pinking is a loss of pigment/color around the lips, chin, eyes, and face. It may be genetic and is progressive. Some Andalusians show extensive pinking around the eyes and lips – these are usually older white horses. Sometimes you will see pink skin on a grey muzzle that is actually a snip or white stripe. The Appaloosa characteristic of splotchy or mottled skin on the face is similar in looks but caused by a different process (and occurs on dark skin).

Examples of Appaloosa characteristics (below)

picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking

Examples of "pink" snips and stripes on horses (below)

picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking

Pinking in Arabians

In Arabian horses, the loss of pigment is known as Pinky Syndrome or Fading Arab Syndrome. According to Equine Genetics and Selection Procedure, “Pinky syndrome is a pigment disorder found primarily in older, grey Arabian horses. The muzzle and eye areas, which were originally black-skinned, will depigment in a blotchy pattern. The pattern often resembles the mottled skin of an Appaloosa horse. This permanent condition should be distinguished from the temporary depigmentation that can occur on the muzzle of a horse of any color, which may be due to exposure to certain chemicals where the horse is fed (e.g., feed troughs or buckets). Because of the restriction of pinky syndrome to grey Arabians, this condition is thought to have a hereditary basis.”

Vitiligo

According to Ask the Vet, “The name of the disorder is vitiligo. Like most disorders of pigmentation, vitiligo is only a cosmetic problem and not significant for the horse. Vitiligo is, in my opinion, an idiopathic (no apparent cause) loss of pigment especially in hairless or thin-haired areas. Others define vitiligo as depigmented spots and larger, poorly defined, areas of depigmentation appearing on the body being either idiopathic or resulting from primary damage to melanocytes (skin cells that produce pigment). However, in my opinion, depigmentation in areas with hair is better called leukoderma (partial or total loss of skin pigment) or leukotrichia (loss of pigment in hair).

Normal grey nose (below left) and nose with a little pinking or discoloration (below right).

picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking

Whatever definition you use, in the form described in the question there is no known cause. However, some breeds and individual families may be more affected, suggesting that there is a genetic basis to the condition. The skin is otherwise normal, but there is a gradual, often profound loss of pigment often around the muzzle, face, and eyes, and/or sometimes around the genitals. The depigmentation may wax and wane in intensity, but is usually permanent. There is no known treatment. Regrettably, there is no more information available.”

Pigmentary Abnormatities

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, “Pigmentary abnormalities may be acquired, and some of these may be hereditary or familial as in vitiligo. As a familial disease, vitiligo is best recognized in Arabian horses (Arabian fading syndrome, pinky syndrome); it may also be familial in cattle (Holstein-Friesian), Siamese cats, and in some breeds of dogs (Belgian Tervuren, Rottweiler). Affected animals develop somewhat symmetric macular depigmentation of the skin that occasionally also affects the hair coat and claws or hooves. The onset is usually in young adulthood. Most lesions are on the face, especially the muzzle or planum nasale or around the eyes. Depigmentation may wax and wane. Complete remission may occur but is rare. There is no accompanying systemic or cutaneous pathology. No treatment is available; treatments used in people with vitiligo are unlikely to provide significant cosmetic results in animals.”

Pinking? or something else?

picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking  picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking

Pinking in Andalusian Horses

The definition in Spanish is “despigmentacion - Ausencia del pigmento de melanina en la piel de distintas zonas anatómicas como ojos, labios, región perineal, etc.”

If you are selecting an Andalusian horse for breeding, try to select a horse with dark muzzle points and dark skin around the eyes and muzzle.

picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking  picture of andalusian horse mottling pinking

Skyhorse Ranch - Andalusian horse breeder in Texas with Andalusian horses for sale. Breeders of PRE Pura Raza Espanola horses with cartas from Spain. Selling black, grey, and bay Andalusians. Recommend Andalusian stallions at stud. Pictures, history, facts, and info. Spanish Andalusian horse farm. Bloodlines from Spain in the USA.

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