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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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Red rash and pimple-like bumps on my dog's skin

Resolved Question:

Dog has a red rash and several pimple-like bumps on skin.

We came up to our home town in PA from our current location in NC on Tuesday for the Thanksgiving Holiday. For the most part our dog has been taking the transition well in that she was eating normally and deficating normally. Her stools were solid and pretty much as frequent as back at home.

Last night there was a large crowd and she was definitely stressed from all the action and was relatively skiddish.

Late last night we noticed several small pimple-like bumps in several areas of her body. They didn't look like there was puss inside. There is one particular spot near her neck that is red and looks a lot like a rash. It is about a couple centimeters in width and about an inch in length. Is this due to anxiety? Is there any topical application we can give her? What should we do, thanks!

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your pup with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

Where did you find the little pimple like bumps? Were they on the hairless groin area? Armpits?

Where near her neck is the larger rash? Below her ear? Where her collar sits?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.

So far we found a couple on her chest right below her neck where her collar sits, one right on the top of her head, one on her chin, and several around the hairless part of her inside thigh in the crease of her leg.

We called our vet and they said that it might be a bacterial skin infection. There are young children in the house right now. Should we keep her away from the kids?

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.

Your poor girl! It sounds like your dog has pyoderma (bacterial skin infection causing red pimples on the body) and maybe also a hot spot developing. A hot spot is the common name for "acute moist pyoderma" which is a type of skin infection, very similar to pyoderma but concentrated in one area.


Let me explain more about how this happens...

There are commonly yeast and bacteria living in small numbers on the skin surface. They are there on all of us, and on animals.

When a dog starts chewing or scratching at one spot, she opens up little scratches in the skin surface, and the yeast and bacteria invade there. The fur stays wet from oozing serum from the scratches, and this keeps the area moist and warm - just the kind of place that bacteria like to grow! They are particularly common on the cheek below the ear, or under the collar, as these areas tend to stay wet more readily. As the bacterial numbers increase, the scratches get infected and ITCHY! The dog scratches more... and soon a large area of red, raw, weeping infection can occur.

More about hot spots:

And here is a photo of a dog with a hot spot:

Treatment involves shaving all the hair in the affected area of the hot spot (as shown in the above photo) - which is often quite large. This allows the skin to dry out. Antibacterial washes are used on the skin and antibiotics (usually for 2-4 weeks) are given by mouth. If it is very inflamed and itchy, a short course of corticosteroids would likely be used to give the dog relief and stop him from scratching and thus exacerbating the problem.

You may be able to treat the area on her neck and head by trimming the hair and by washing the 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). Your pharmacist would be able to suggest an antibacterial soap if you don't see this one. It is often called Hibitane.

I suggest people wash small areas of pyoderma 3 times daily for 3 days. Scrub hard to get that scaley, scabby material off it. Rinse well. Pat dry. You can apply corn starch to keep it dry. Then continue to wash twice daily for 4 more days. Watch VERY closely that there are no more patches coming up.

If this is not improving, then you may need to see a vet to get a prescription for antibiotics for your girl!

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.

As I mentioned before, there are normally small numbers of bacteria living on the skin surface. However, when they invade the skin like this it is called pyoderma.

If this rash is in more than one small area your dog 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:

Good luck with your dog!

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