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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18716
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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my dogs skin is turning black under her arm pits and her chest..

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my dogs skin is turning black under her arm pits and her chest.. she used to scratch it alot, but since i started using this shampoo and putting some vasaline on it to keep it moist, she stopped, but now its turning black.. is this permanent?? her skin still gets red.. i changed her food to some all natural food. i dont knwo what to do.. ever since i adopted her from the pound she's been like this.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.
Hi Sir or Madam,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I've been with Just Answer since 2006. Over 13,000 of my answers have been accepted by customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you.

It sounds like she has allergies. Allergies can cause dogs to scratch excessively. The scratching damages the skin leading to a lowered immune response which allows the yeast and staph normally on the skin to multiply unchecked. This leads to skin dermatitis which could be yeast or a staph dermatitis. Staph usually occurs on the lower regions of your pet and tends to have small pimple type bumps. Shampoo containing Chlorhexiderm and/or Oatmeal can help with this condition though it does not cure the allergy. Yeast typically shows as a greasy area that has a sweet musty odor. Sometimes the skin can become inflamed, darker and thickened due to itching. Yeast likes areas such as between toes, armpits and ears. Selsun Blue Shampoo can help with Yeast dermatitis. When shampooing, lather and leave on 15 minutes before rinsing.

Once the skin darkens it usually stays that way. Since it is darkening, I suspect you still have a problem with a dermatitis. Instead of vasoline, you might try miconazole cream under the armpits. If this is a yeast dermatitis, this should help clear it up. It works well in areas where there is little hair. Another thing that can help once it is cleared up, is using benzoid peroxide wipes to keep areas such as the armpits and other skin folds clean.

Allergies can be hard to pin down especially since many dogs are allergic to multiple things and add the fact that if you happen to eliminate the source of the allergy (allergen), it may take 6 weeks or more to see improvement and any skin dermatitis present still needs to be cleared. I would suggest allergy testing so you know definitely what is causing the underlying issue. You can read more about allergies here:

And you can read about testing here:

Benadryl can also be given at a dosage of 1mg per pound every 8 hours to help relieve symptoms of allergies like itchiness and swelling.

If a staph infection is present, then antibiotics will likely be necessary so a vet visit is a good idea. A steroid might also help aid in healing if you have happened to have already eliminated the allergen.

Cushings can also cause darkening skin. Cushing's is when the adreanal glands overproduce glucocorticoid. This can be caused by a tumor, steroids and is mostly seen in older animals. Symptoms include excessive drinking and urination, increased appetite, increased panting, lethargy, hair loss, weakness, and a pot belly. Dog's with cushings sometimes have darkened skin.

Treatment and prognoses depends on the cause. In some dogs treatment is very effective. You can read about this here as well as more detailed information on cushings.

I hope this information is helpful and if you need clarification or more information, please reply.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Those are all great suggestions that I will try out. If it wasnt for the skin problems she would be a prefect dog as her personality appears to be unaffected.. I have been told about benadril but never tried it out. Is there any other recommendations that you have for a possible yeast infection? And those black patches where she used to scratch, is it really going to be there forever now? Her skin is not thick, it just looks more, like birth marks just alot bigger and right where the rash used to be. Should I give her food with more fish? And the shampoo I use is this organic neem kind. Do you suggest anything different??

Thanks for your detailed response. the vet was going to charge me about 600 in order to have her checked out. I love my baby girl but I can't just hand them that kind of money. Regard s.. Andrew + Quila

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 years ago.

It may lighten a little but if the skin has been damaged for an extended period of time, I wouldn't expect a lot of change. I'd hold off on using the neem unless you suspect mange mites to be the cause for itchiness. I'd try the selsun blue and see if that helps. You can always go back to the neem if you don't see improvement with the selsun blue and miconazole cream.

You really want to stick to one diet with no treat. If you add things, then you have the chance of adding an allergen. The sites I sent you included the correct way of conducting a food trial which is basically what you are trying to accomplish by changing the food. To do so effectively, you can not add in treats and other food that she might be allergic to.
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18716
Experience: Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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