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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23749
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Our Mini terrier had a breakout of bumps down her back and

Customer Question

Our Mini Bull terrier had a breakout of bumps down her back and flanks. The vet said hives. Gave us prednisone, and AB's for infection, and antihistimine shot. They went away, but have now come back, 3 days after stopping the pred. One odd thing is she is not itchy. Which makes me wonder if it's something else. Would hives ALWAYS be itchy? Thanks
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I would expect an urticarial reaction (hives, wheals) to be pruritic (itchy) and so perhaps those bumps indicate a superficial spreading pyoderma (Staph infection, usually) instead. . Can you upload a photo(s) of representative skin to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if you can see that icon) or you can use an external app such as

I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
This is about the best I can show the bumps because of her coat. Yes, she doesn't itch at all really. She does occasionally act like somethings in her mouth, but there isn't. Which makes me wonder if it's some type of allergic reaction.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

Thank you! Yes, I would need to look under her coat in order to differentiate a short-haircoat pyoderma from an urticarial reaction. The fact that she isn't pruritic, however, makes a pyoderma far more likely. Because she was treated broadly - an antihistamine, a steroid, and an antibiotic - we can't know which she responded to initially. Prednisone is ideal for treating urticaria but it also will reduce the inflammation associated with a pyoderma which effectively "buries" the infection but once the prednisone wears off, that infectious inflammation will return.

Because an allergic reaction of this sort isn't life-threatening but a pyoderma can rapidly spread over her, stopping all drugs except a broad spectrum antibiotic in the cephalosporin class such as cephalexin dosed at 10 mg/lb twice daily for 3-4 weeks and 1 week past clinical signs should be considered. I would also bathe her in a chlorhexidine- or benzoyl peroxide-containing shampoo twice weekly which should hasten remission of a pyoderma. The antibiotic is available through her vet. The shampoo can be found over the counter in pet/feed stores, at her vet hospital or online.

Please feel free to share our conversation with her vet who should take another look at these "bumps" and see if pustules of infection are now more likely than hives and wheals. Please continue our conversation if you wish.