How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr.Fiona Your Own Question

Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr.Fiona is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My Westie has a very sore nose which scabs up all the time ...

Customer Question

My Westie has a very sore nose which scabs up all the time even though I bathe it and apply oitment and sunscreen. Whilst bathing it the other day the whole top of his nose which had scabbed badly
came off. Can you advise me as what to do.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 6 years ago.

Hi Diane,

I would like to try to help you and your Westie. That sounds like an uncomfortable nose that your boy has!

There are a number of possibilities for what may be going on with his nose. The top ones that I would consider are discoid lupus erythematosus, nasal hyperkeratosis, solar dermatitis, pemphigus, a type of cancer called mycosis fungoides, or ringworm. Let me explain a bit more about them:

1. Discoid Lupus Erythematosus is a form of lupus, which is an auto-immune disorder in which the body's own immune system starts attacking part of the body. It usually just affects the nose and sometimes the face. It is more commonly seen in dogs that live in places where they get higher levels of ultraviolet light - at high altitude and in sunny locations. I hardly ever see it here in Ontario, but saw it fairly frequently in California.

Treatment involves giving Vitamin E and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids by mouth. It can take 2-3 months to see improvent, however. Also, you should use sunscreen (NO zinc Oxide!) before taking him outside. Apply it right before you distract him with a snack or toy for 10 minutes so it has time to be absorbed. Some dogs need topical or oral corticosteroids in order to treat this.

Here is more about it:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=2470&S=0&EVetID=0

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/discoid-lupus/page1.aspx

2. Your dog might have nasal hyperkeratosis. Keratin is what your hair and nails are made out of, and it is what the top layers of the nose are made of. In some dogs, this keratin layer grows to be too many layers thick, and then you see a dry, crusty nose.

This can happen for a number of reasons. Here is some more information:

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1593&articleid=427

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2470

3. Solar dermatitis - this condition occurs more in high altitude and sunny locations as well, and is from chronic exposure to ultraviolet light.

4. Pemphigus - this is another auto-immune problem in which the body's immune system starts to attack the body itself. It starts around the nose, usually, and spreads to include the eyes. It is treated with corticosteroids at high doses. Here is more, including photos:

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=2202

5. Mycosis fungoides is type of lcancer called ymphoma that affects the skin. This is *rare* but carries a poor prognosis. The best chance for successful treatment involves early diagnosis. Here is more :

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=575

6. Ringworm - this is a fungal infection that can cause hairloss. It can occur secondary to another problem. For example if your boy had solar dermatitis then he could get a ringworm infection on top of that because the skin is damaged and has cracks in it that allow the ringworm to invade. Ringworm is transmissible to humans. Here is more:

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/ringworm-dermatophytosis-in-dogs/page1.aspx

7. Malassezia (yeast) infection - This is something that Westies are prone to, unfortunately. Often it affects larger areas than just the nose, but it can be limited to one area. Here is more:

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/skin-discharge-or-odor-in-dogs/page1.aspx

So, as you can see, there are a number or problems that all look similar that could be causing this problem with your dog's nose. In order to make a correct diagnosis, a veterinarian would have to see your dog and probably have to take a small biopsy of the area. If you are not interested in pursuing that at this time there are some things you can try at home that may be very helpful and certainly would do no harm. I would suggest:

1. Omega fatty acid supplementation - there are a number of different ones on the market. Here is one example:

http://www.allivet.com/EFA-Z-Plus-p/26987.htm

2. Apply something topically to moisturize. I have had success with Alpha-Keri bath oil, applied to a cotton ball and held on the nose 2 or 3 times daily for 5 minutes at a time. Others like to use Vaseline. It works well if your dog doesn't lick it off! If you apply it right before feeding time, he may forget about it while he eats which will allow some time for it to be absorbed.

http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Keri-Moisture-Shower-473-2/dp/B0009KN6BQ

3. Avoid sun from 10am-4pm

4. Apply sunscreen - see above about applying before eating.

Good luck with your Westie and I hope that he is feeling better soon!

If this has answered your question, please hit the green "Accept" button. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it!

Fiona

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Last | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2534
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2534
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    4544
    Vet Tech for over 30+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jadedangel57/2011-11-8_193134_janenewsm.64x64.jpg Jane Lefler's Avatar

    Jane Lefler

    Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst

    Satisfied Customers:

    13847
    Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 16+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/ERPetNurse/2011-11-7_1293_b.64x64.jpg Candy's Avatar

    Candy

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    7108
    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    4704
    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    4430
    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/VetAnswers/2013-4-5_8257_prof10.64x64.jpg Scott Nimmo's Avatar

    Scott Nimmo

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3977
    BVMS, MRCVS.