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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24373
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My name is ***** *****. My dog keeps having breakouts in his

Customer Question

My name is ***** *****. My dog keeps having breakouts in his belly, groin and insides of his back legs that are often bright pink to dark red. We don't know what causes it or what to do. He also has become snappy and has bitten my son as well as a friend of his. This is unusual behavior for him so far (he will be 2 on Wednesday).
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: Well, I really don't know what is causing it. We have kind of assumed maybe it is when he gets into something to eat?? We have 4 kids do he takes every opportunity to nab things.
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Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. You appear to be describing a superficial spreading pyoderma - a bacterial infection (Staph, usually). Can you upload a close-up photo(s) to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if you can see the icon) or you can use an external app such as dropbox.com/ I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing. This isn't expected to cause his aggression, however, and so it's important to differentiate this infection from an allergic response (hives, wheals) that may be making your dog agitated and uncomfortable.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
So of course this morning doesn't look nearly as bad as it did last night...which is part of our battle :( it's almost line when it is inflamed he is cranky and snappy but otherwise very sweet and lovable maybe not. Here he is...
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.
Thank you! You're correct. I can see minimal erythema (redness) bilaterally in the cranial (toward his head) groin areas but no evidence of pyoderma, hives, or wheals. This isn't the behavior of a skin infection. Please clarify "it's almost line when...".
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry, like...not line. Yes, this pic hardly shows anything. I wish I would have taken one last night. And it varies too. Sometimes it is bright pink and sometimes really dark red/brownish.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.
This sounds like an allergic response that might be addressed by administering an over the counter antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at a dose of 1-2 mg/lb (maximum dose of 50 mg at any one time). The antihistamines aren't reliably effective but a reasonable attempt to curtail a severe reaction. See if you can take a photo of this area if and when he has another breakout. His vet (and I) would like to see what you're seeing. It would be prudent to bathe the affected area in a mild soap and water in case a contact dermatitis is the etiology. Be careful...I don't want your getting bit when he's cranky.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Ok thx. We are in between vets right now. We were told early on that he had crystals and needed to be on prescription food but it never changed anything for him so we went back to a good food (blue buffalo), but not prescription. We do our best to not give him a lot of treats and no people foods but we do have 4 kids so...He never bites me but unfortunately has gotten snippy with the kids a couple times. It also seems to coincide with when we have people over, so I'm not sure if it's anxiety our just a higher chance of getting dropped food that ends up aggravating his body.He is allergic to bee stings and has had to be treated a couple of times when his face swelled up send his gums paled. Poor little guy!!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.
That's worrisome to be sure. I have advanced training in canine behavior but must tell you that I and my colleagues believe that discussing the treatment of canine aggression from afar is inappropriate and dangerous. Please be careful.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Here is a better photo
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.
That's quite a rash. I'd consider a contact dermatitis considering how this comes and go. What is he contacting, however? I have to leave my computer for the night but I promise to reply in the morning.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
any further thoughts?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.
A contact dermatitis is a reaction that usually requires prolonged contact with the offending allergen. Contact hypersensitivity to plants, carpet deodorizers, detergents, floor waxes, fabric cleaners, fertilizers, mulch, concrete, plastic dishes, rubber chew toys, leather/rawhide, and wool or synthetic carpets and rugs may develop. Thinly haired skin that frequently contacts the ground is usually affected as shown in the photo. These dogs need to be bathed in a hypoallergenic shampoo to remove surface contact allergens. Any secondary pyoderma (bacterial skin infection) or Malassezia (yeast) dermatitis should be treated with appropriate therapies. For short-term control of pruritis (itchiness), a glucocorticosteroid (triamcinolone, e.g.)-containing topical preparation should be applied to the affected areas every 12 hours or prednisone can be administered orally for 5-10 days. Alternatively, long-term treatment with pentoxifylline may be effective in controlling pruritis. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The odd part is it doesn't seem to itch him and it can look bad at night and then 12 hours be gone. He has a pretty routine life and is exposed to the same environments, yet this pops up probably once a week. So it doesn't sound food related for sure right?The only other thing I can think of is be he had always been a genital area over groomer...it sometimes seems like this is an anxiety reaction. When he gets a lot of attention he licks himself...in the same area he breaks out. Grasping at straws, I know, I just want top find an answer for my little guy. :( thanks for your help.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.
Correct, I would rule out a food hypersensitivity which usually causes facial, extremity and tush pruritis. I don't believe that this is an anxiety/stress reaction. He may pay particularly attention to his genitals because that area does itch or, at least, is hypersensitive to something it contacts. It can be a challenge clarifying what's offending that skin. You may need the services of a specialist veterinary dermatologist such as can be found here: www.acvd.org