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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 American Bulldog has a rash and is constantly scratching.

Customer Question

My American Bulldog has a rash and is constantly scratching. There are no fleas.Can you help?you help
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.

Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer!

I would like to help you and your dog with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When did she start itching?

Where on her body is she itchy? Is she chewing her feet? Scratching her ears? her neck?

Does she have any little red pimples or flat red dots on her belly?

Where is the rash?




Customer: replied 7 years ago.


To begin with she had a lump in her belly in June 2009. The vet said this was a mastis as she has had 2 litters of pups in as many years this was quite common. He also gave me some ear cleanser and drops which I still do on a regular basis. The lump eventually went away. It came back in Sept 2009 larger-as big as a tennis ball. Vet wouldn't do anything as she was in season, (which I couldn't see any signs of) and said it was risky to do surgery while she was like that. (She hasn't been spayed as you have probably gathered)Also said the lump may go away. Within that time she started scratching underneath-her belly. She was scratching her ears as well, but I used the cleaner.She is chewing her feet and legs.The rash is on her belly and there are flat red dots-only a few but I thought she had scratched and chewed that much her skin bled.The lump has almost gone, it is now the size of a ping pong ball, but her skin has sagged where it was. It must be tormenting for her.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Does her belly look like this:


or maybe like this:

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

It looks like the second picture but she doesn't have as many spots, it is just red and very sore. She doesn't have any sores like the first picture.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Ok - that is helpful!

I would like to help you.

I will tell you right up front that the way this site works, I can chat with you back and forth at no charge, for as long as we both need to feel satisfied that I understand what is going on with your pet.

When I then take this information and go write up an "Answer" you will have to pay your offered deposit amount TO THE SITE (not to me personally) in order to read the answer. The answer is blocked from viewing by the system until you pay a deposit.

Then, if you are satisfied with the answer, you can "accept" it - at which point part of the deposit gets transferred to my credit. If you are not satisfied, you can:

1. Ask me for clarification by replying,
2. Reject my answer and ask for another expert to answer it, OR
3. Reject my answer and ask for a refund (which will be provided by the moderators, not by me personally as I do not hold the deposit).

Does that all make sense?

Do you want to proceed?

I would really like to help you, but wanted you to know how the site works.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.


I haven't ignored you, I am doing this from work so I have to find a quiet moment. Sorry for the delay.I really appreciate your help in this, but I am waiting for pay day which is the 20th Jan when I will be solvent so to speak and will be able to pay. You have explained the procedure and of course I want to go ahead with all this. May I come back to you on Wed next?

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.

Just save the link to this thread

And you can come back any time at all :-)


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hello Fiona..I am back. I wish to go ahead and pay for the answer please.



Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
Hey Chris!

I just got in from the grocery store - sorry for the delay. I've been working on your answer and will be back with it shortly?

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.

Hi again Chris,

What you are describing in your 3 year old Bulldog sounds like Pyoderma. That's what the photos were of.

Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that is seen as red pimple-like lesions or flat circles, 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.

Let me explain how this happens...

There are normally small numbers of bacteria living on the skin surface, but when they invade the skin like this it is called pyoderma. This can happen if there is a small scratch, flea or mosquito bite, or cut in the skin surface. It is particularly common when the weather is hot and humid, as the bacterial and yeast numbers are very high in those conditions. We also see it any time the dog is getting wet frequently (rain or snow on the dog when outside), but it can happen at any time of year.

Pyoderma causes the dog to be very itchy. Think of yourself if you have a small scratch on your arm – it may become very itchy if it gets infected. Then multiply that by 100 and you can imagine how itchy your poor dog may be!

Here is more information:

If this rash is in more than one small area your dog will probably 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. Often, when dogs are really itchy and irritated, I also put them on a course of anti-inflammatory such as prednisone to provide instant relief from the itching.

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. If there is, then you can shampoo the affected areas once daily for 2 weeks.

I'll give you some links:
example of Shampoo:

example of Conditioner:

When I have clients phone me after hours about this, for patients that I have seen, I advise the people that they may be able to give their dogs BENADRYL (diphenhydramine) to reduce the itchiness.

This should not be given if the dog has glaucoma.


The dose that one generally gives is 1mg/lb.

Is she about 75 lbs? It comes as 25 mg tablets, and if she is 75 lbs, her dose should you choose to use it would be THREE TABLETS. This can be repeated every 8 hours for 24-36h.

Here is more about Benadryl:

You should see improvement within 30 minutes (less itchy). It can cause drowsiness.

It is likely your girl will need antibiotics to treat this. However, until you can get to the vet, you may be able to provide some relief for her with the shampoo, conditioner and Benadryl.

If this has been helpful, please "accept" my answer and leave feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Good luck with your dog!

Dr.Fiona and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thanks Fiona, it definately appears to be the trouble with her.I will let you know how I get on.

Thanks very much.


Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 7 years ago.
You are very welcome! I do hope that she feels better soon!