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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28428
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a 3 yr old white pitbull who has a red rash on his belly.

Customer Question

I have a 3 yr old white pitbull who has a red rash on his belly. He also has bumps in the same area, when he scratches they sometimes bleed. I spent over a thousand dollars last month on cancer test etc. I have him wear a shirt so he dont scratch himself and bleed. I guess i will make him another appt at the vet. Can you give me a idea of what to suggest to the vet.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Can you tell me, please, if the cancer tests included a biopsy of the affected skin? Can you upload a photo of Barney's skin to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (not if you're using the chrome browser) or you can use an external app such as or I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I dont know how to do that. sorry
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I understand. My working diagnosis in a white pitbull is canine solar dermatosis. It's caused by actinic damage to lightly pigmented or nonpigmented, sparsely haired skin on the nose or trunk. With repeated exposure to ultraviolet light, preneoplastic (precancerous) lesions (actinic keratoses, squamous cell carcinoma in situ) may develop. Predisposed breeds for truncal (his belly, e.g.) include white pitbulls, boxers, and bull terriers.
This is usually diagnosed on history of prolonged sun exposure, clinical findings, and ruling out other differentials. Biopsy of the skin can be helpful. Feel free to share our conversation with Barney's vet who may not be aware of this uncommon dermatosis.
Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is this something that can be treated ? Should i be using a special shampoo for him ?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
It's addressed by preventing further exposure to sunlight, especially between 9 AM and 4 PM. If some sun exposure is unavoidable, sun block (zinc oxide) or sunscreen (titanium dioxide) should be applied to susceptible areas twice daily. For sunscreens, waterproof products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 should be used. If lesions are secondarily infected, appropriate systemic antibiotics should be administered for 2-3 weeks. Treatment with vitamin A (8000-10,000 IU every 24 hours) or the prescription acitretin may be effective in resolving lesions in some dogs with truncal solar dermatosis.
The prognosis is variable, depending on lesion chronicity. In early cases of truncal solar dermatosis, the prognosis is good if further exposure to sunlight is avoided. With continued exposure to sunlight, the likelihood of developing squamous cell carcinoma is high. Sun-damaged truncal skin is also predisposed to the development of hemangioma or hemangiosarcoma. Special shampoos aren't indicated unless secondary bacterial infection is present and in that case an antimicrobial shampoo containing chlorhexidine is recommended for use twice weekly.

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