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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23827
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Her skin has large bluish, purple patches that are spreading

Customer Question

Her skin has large bluish, purple patches that are spreading all over. Her hair has thinned a bit.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Toffee is a cavachon. She is 11 months old.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Toffee?
Customer: She had a litter 2 months ago.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 4 months ago.

Hello my name is***** and I am a licensed veterinarian with over 9 years of experience. I am hoping to help you with your pet today. Since I can’t physically exam your pet, I may need to respond with several follow up questions so I can best help you. Remember there is no limit on how many questions you can ask to in order to clarify any information I have provided regarding your pet. I just have a few initial questions to ask to gather some more information if you don’t mind? Does she seem itchy at all? Are you able to upload a picture?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hi. She is not itchy at all. Her weight is much the same as it has been for a few months (litter aside). Her appetite is normal. Her behaviour is normal. Maybe a little clingier than usual, but we'd put that down to hormonal changes after birth. She does pant a bit more than usual and seems thirsty quite more often than before. The only symptoms are hair becoming sparse and coarse. She had a healthy, thick coat before. It's quite like a scrubber brush now. Again, we thought it was hormone related from her pregnancy. But the dark purple patches are spreading all the way up her back legs and to her sides. There is no flakiness; no lesions or sores; no pus or bleeding. Just what looks like pigmentation gone mad. The purple areas end in very abrupt lines too. They don't fade out around the edges or graduate in colour.
Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 4 months ago.

Okay thanks for the additional information. Are the puppies fully weaned from her? Are you able to upload a picture? I would first think of some type of allergic reaction to something in the environment. Is there anything recently changed in the environment? Another thought would be other allergies or some type of mange mite due to the hairloss.

Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 4 months ago.

are you still there?

Expert:  Dr. Alleyne replied 4 months ago.

It been a while since I heard from you and I have to go off line now. I will opt out so another expert can help you if you still need further assistance.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I'll follow up for Dr. Alleyne for you. Dark purple patches suggest eccymoses which indicate a defect in platelets and/or blood vessels resulting in skin or mucous membranes bleeding. Petechiae involve the same disease process but are pinpoint (less than 3 mm) hemorrhages due to blood extravasation from capillaries. Ecchymoses are larger hemorrhages representing blood loss from arterioles and venules. Petechiae and eccymoses most commonly arise due to thrombocytopenia - decreased blood platelets - and so it's very important that a platelet count (by hand rather than machine, preferably) be performed at your earliest convenience.

Can you upload a photo(s) of these purple patches 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

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hello. I have had a vet look at her and she thinks Toffee has Alopecia X. The pigmentation isn't consistent with ecchymosa, evidently. It's more dark brown than it is blue or purple, on closer inspection. She's to take Melatonin and be spayed. But I've attached a photograph; I wouldn't mind a second opinion from you. Thanks.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for the photo. Yes, if there's no purple, there's no bleeding and so no ecchymosis or petechiae. I can't diagnose alopecia X from the photo but at least the photo is consistent with that skin disease. I've diagnosed it only in Pomeranians between the ages of 2-5 years although Chows, Keeshounds, Samoyeds, Alaskan malamutes, Siberian huskies, and miniature Poodles are over-represented with this disease in which gradual loss of primary hairs progresses to complete alopecia of the neck, tail, caudodorsum ("saddle area"), perineum, and caudal thighs. Alopecia eventually becomes generalized over the trunk but the head and front limbs are spared. Hair loss is bilaterally symmetrical, remaining hairs epilate easily, and the alopecic skin may become hyperpigmented (as has occurred), thin, and hypotonic. Mild secondary seborrhea and superficial pyoderma may occur. No systemic signs of illness are noted.

Spaying and melatonin certainly make sense. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

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