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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My pitbull has developed skin bumps and its spreading fast, help!

Resolved Question:

My pit bull tonight developed very fast skin bumps all under her skin and its getting worse by the moment. These bumps are huge and there everywhere. Her fur is sticking out all over the place because of them, because they are so big.

Under her neck where her fur is white there is a huge red rash accompanied by the skin bumps. She is scratching a lot but other than that not acting sick. Her vet is closed tomorrow will not be able to take her in till Thursday.

I have given her 2 Benadryl today not helping at all seems to be getting worse. Please tell me if you have ever heard of anything like this and what it could be and what i should be doing until Thursday to try to help her.

Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Hi there!

Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your Pit Bull but need a bit more information in order to better assist you both.

How much does she weigh?

Are the bumps mostly on her back and sides?

Are there any on her tummy?

If you look in the hairless areas on her tummy, in the groin, do you see any little tiny red pimples?


Customer: replied 9 years ago.

50 to 60 lbs
Bumps are mainly on sides and her back.
Yes she has tiny little red pimples on her stomach like you mentioned.
Also like I said in my previous question she also has rash on throat with the bumps there also

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Ahhh... I see!

And the Benadryl was the standard 25 mg tablet? So, you gave her 50mg and saw no improvement?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

Yes standard 25mg. Gave her one pill at 5pm and one at 9pm. What do you think it is?

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.


What you are describing at the moment with lumps all over her body sounds a bit like hives. This is an allergic reaction that causes these swellings. It can be to an insect sting, or to a medication. However, you have treated her correctly for this with Benadryl. The usual dose is 1mg per pound every 8 hours, so she could have 2 to 2.5 tablets given every 8 hours. Here is more about Benadryl:

You should see improvement within 30 minutes.

Here is more about allergic reactions in dogs:

The fact that your Pit Bull did NOT respond to the Benadryl suggests, however, that this is not hives, but instead is something called folliculitis, which is an inflammation of the hair follicle. There is even a name for it: "Short coat Folliculitis." Sounds impressive, doesn't it? It is generally caused by a bacterial infection in the hair follicle. These bacteria are just the normal ones that are present on normal skin, but they have invaded into her follicles. Short haired dogs are prone to this.

Now, in terms of what to do about it, I must warn you that it often takes 30 to 60 days on an antibiotic (usually cephalexin) prescribed by your vet to resolve this.

If, however, you want to try to treat this at home first, you could use a benzoyl peroxide shampoo but make sure to condition afterwards (I recommend an oatmeal conditioner). You can get the shampoo at your veterinary hospital, or at a big pet store (PetSmart might have it) or on-line. Try shampoo/condition her once and see if there is any improvement. If there isn't, I suggest you take her to your veterinarian.

I'll give you some links:

About folliculitis: (mentioned in the chart)

example of Shampoo:

example of Conditioner:

As well as folliculitis it sounds as though your dog has pyoderma - which literally means "pus-skin." A photo would help me to be more certain of this, but from your description I am very suspicious.

Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that is seen as red pimple-like lesions usually found in the groin area, and the armpit area. The little red spots may look like tiny pimples and they are filled with bacteria and pus. When they fill up larger they can look like blisters.

There are normally small numbers of bacteria living on the skin surface, but when they invade the skin like this it is called pyoderma. The patch under her neck sounds like "acute moist pyoderma" which is also called a hot spot. You may be able to scrub this area with an antibacterial soap. One example would be chlorhexidine scrub (which you can get at pharmacies off the shelf in Canada and the USA). I suggest people wash small areas of pyoderma 3 times daily for 3 days. Rinse well. Pat dry. Then continue to wash twice daily for 4 more days. Watch VERY closely that there are no more patches coming up.

Because your girl has folliculitis and pyoderma and hot spots (from what you are describing) she will need to go on oral antibiotics to get it under control. Oral antibiotics for skin infections are often given for 2-4 weeks in order to resolve the problem.

Here is more information:

So, please have a look at the links that I have provided. Do the photos shown look like what your dog has?

For tonight, you may be able to give your girl some relief by giving her a COOL bath with an antibacterial scrub from your local pharmacy, followed by a colloidal oatmeal rinse like Aveeno bath treatment:

I do think you are going to have to find a vet tomorrow, as from what you are describing this is progressing too quickly to leave it until Thursday. If your girl is really uncomfortable, you may have to consider an emergency veterinarian tonight!

If this has been helpful, leave feedback. If you need more information, just click on reply!

Best wishes, Fiona

Customer: replied 9 years ago.

My other dog has some of that antibiotic you mentioned should I give my pit bull some of that until Thursday. Would it hurt her to have it

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.
Cephalexin? What size are the tablets? As in, how many milligrams?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.

500mg capsule

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 9 years ago.

Ok... this gets tricky! ;-) Bear with me...

My veterinary licence specifically prohibits me from prescribing medications for a dog that I have not examined. So, I cannot advise you to give the drug to your dog.

However, if I were to examine a dog just like yours, and did in fact find that she had folliculitis and pyoderma I would put her on cephalexin 500mg twice daily. I would advise her owner to give this medication with food, not on an empty stomach as this could lead to nausea. I would warn the owner that dogs on this antibiotic can develop soft stools or even diarrhea. I would give that owner this link:

I would suggest that the owner start immediately and continue with Benadryl 50mg every 8 hours as well.

However, I have not seen your dog and my licence prohibits me from offering YOU this advice, much as I would like to!

I hope that helps! Fiona

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