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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28568
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My daughter has two dogs, both pitbull /pitbull mix. The older

Customer Question

My daughter has two dogs, both pitbull /pitbull mix. The older dog developed spots on his back and belly that consisted of pus filled pimple type spots and hair loss. He was treated with a steroid, Benadryl and antibiotics. There was done relieve but not completely healed. Second dog they've only had two months and she is now experiencing the same symptoms as well as substantial hair loss. She was told it was allergies in the first dog. How likely is it to have two dogs develop allergies? Is there something more specific we need to have them tested for?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I'm going to play devil's advocate and so bear with me...You've described a well-recognized superficial spreading pyoderma in pitbulls. This describes a bacterial skin infection often due to Staphylococcal bacterial - the normal bacteria found on a dog's skin but in these cases the bacteria has invaded the skin causing the pustules you described. Certain lines of pitbulls appear to be more susceptible to skin infections perhaps due to genetically predisposed immunosuppression. The standard of care is to initially prescribe an antibiotic in the cephalosporin class such as cephalexin for a minimum of 3-4 weeks and 1 week past clinical signs. Shampooing in a chlorhexidine- or benzoyl peroxide-containing shampoo twice weekly should hasten resolution of the infection. Steroids should be avoided. They immunosuppress the local skin immune system and make an already difficult infection to cure nigh impossible to do so. Antihistamines aren't indicated for these infections and, in fact, aren't reliably effective in cases of allergic dermatitis either. While allergies certainly can underlie pyodermas in dogs, their breed and distribution of those pustules suggests that allergy - while possibly contributory - shouldn't be my prime focus. . It would be prudent, however, for skin scrapings to be performed to see if an underlying demodicosis (Demodex mange mite) is present. That mite commonly predisposed to pyoderma. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.