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Pet Vet
Pet Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 151
Experience:  9 years practicing veterinary medicine for dogs, cats, and exotics.
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my dog has black spots on skin when I scratched the thin layer

Customer Question

my dog has black spots on skin when I scratched the thin layer of skin off a live flea came out and started running. People tell me fleas don't do this. I picked out three more along her shin and killed them when they came out. She has had frontline. What do I do?? She is on sntibiotics now and has had a cortisone shot.
Submitted: 4 years ago via lowchenaustralia.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Pet Vet replied 4 years ago.
Hi. I will try to help you with this question. Fleas typically do not burrow beneath the skin. If they are really fleas, they lay eggs in the fur, which eventually drop off and can lay in the carpet or environment until they hatch 10 to 14 days later. They do not attach to hair follicles like lice do. Frontline should kill the adult fleas on your dog within 48 hours but if it has been over 4 weeks, it tends to be less effective.

The bite of a flea can cause serious reactions in dogs, causing flea bite dermatitis. This will require further treatment to make your dog more comfortable, such as antibiotics and shampoos. But the fleas must be killed to get rid of the problem.

Any eggs that have fallen off the dog into the environment will eventually hatch and reinfect the dog. That is why it is very important to treat the environment as well. Vacuum under furniture daily, throwing the bag away each day. Wash all bedding in hot water. Clean all rugs. Use an environmental spray such as Zodiac, which has a growth inhibitor to prevent the eggs from hatching.

It is estimated that 95% of the flea problem is in the environment, not on the dog. I usually tell people they need to use Frontline for 2 or 3 months at the very least before the problem is taken care of. Of course, fleas are a bigger problem in the warmer climates so it may require year round application.

I hope this information has been helpful. Please let me know if there are any more questions.

Dr. Mary
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Lice, of course, thanks for reminding me, but lice are white, not black aren't they. Do dogs ever get lice? She has only been in my house one day, so hopefully the environment isn't too bad. I will vacuum today.

My son left her with a friend over the holidays who tied her out in a sandy area where he believes she encountered a wild animal of some sort. Some of the lesions on her face may be from that. Are there any other paracites that are black and do burrow? They looked like fleas to me, but I haven't seen them very often before. They appeared to be immature, as if they had developed under this thin layer of skin and were quite small, but not round like mites.

If they aren't fleas would Frontline work? We use Revolution on our dog (who is her brother) and he has never had fleas that we are aware of. The soap was Hertz piyrethrin.
Expert:  Pet Vet replied 4 years ago.
Pyrethrin should work on fleas or lice. The problem is if they truly burrow beneath the skin a topical treatment may not be effective, like shampoos. If possible, try to collect one of these little critters and have it looked at under a microscope at a vet's office. I don't know where you live but there are other little critters that can cause skin problems in dogs. Lice, of course, tend to be species specific and vary from one species to another. These little parasites are difficult to discern by the naked eye and getting a look at them under the microscope is the best way to determine what treatment will work the best.

Mites are typically burrowing critters but you would not be able to see them with the naked eye. Mites are a little tougher to get rid of, usually requiring oral ivermectin or a really toxic topical treatment of a parasiticide. Again, I recommend getting a sample looked at by a professional to get the true diagnosis.

I know thie problem can be a frustrating one but I think once you get a diagnosis the sooner an effective treatment can be started.

Dr. Mary
Pet Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 151
Experience: 9 years practicing veterinary medicine for dogs, cats, and exotics.
Pet Vet and 5 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
These turned out to be what we call 'chiggers' in the north, here in Florida they are called 'sand fleas' We changed to 'Revolution'. It appears to kill these as well as ear mites and currently we have no further problems. Is price the only reason not to use Revolution?
Expert:  Pet Vet replied 3 years ago.
Revolution is a good product. It can be expensive but in my experience is very effective. Yes, being that I live in Minnesota, I don't see sand fleas! We studied them in vet school but I have never seen them. Best wishes and I hope your dog is doing well! Dr. Mary

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