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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 29020
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have an indoor 3-year old, female Australian Blue Heeler.

Customer Question

I have an indoor 3-year old, female Australian Blue Heeler. To the best of my knowledge she's healthy, and we recently got her rabies and kennel cough shots. But within the last week or less, the fur on her low back has started coming out in clumps!! What could it be and why? And what can I do about it. Could it be some type of poisoning? I ask, because I am going thru a divorce from an abusive monster.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

No, there's no poisoning that presents in that manner. Can you tell me, please, is Belle turning around and biting at her saddle area? Have you taken a good look at the skin in that area to see if there is general inflammation (erythema), pustules (pimples), circular skin lesions (epidermal collarettes), excessive flaking (dandruff), or crusts?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Belle does chew in that area, and when the hair comes out it appears to have dandruff attached.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. A flea saliva allergy is the most common skin condition that manifests primarily on the saddle area ("low back"). I would redouble your flea control efforts by first thoroughly bathing her to remove the excess scales, fleas, flea eggs and larvae and then apply an over the counter flea spot-on such as Advantage, a fipronil-containing product such as Frontline or one of the newer prescription flea products available from Belle's vet. If you find that her skin is "broken out" once you've wet her down, her vet can administer a short course of prednisone which should do wonders to help clear her skin. Dogs can be such effective groomers that you may not see evidence of fleas but applying a flea spot-on is still important. Disinfesting the premises is important as well. An over the counter area treatment spray (not the inefficient foggers) containing an insect growth regular (IGR) which doesn't allow flea eggs or larvae to develop into adult fleas such as methoprene can be found in the Siphotrol Area Treatment Spray and is recommended.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Dr. Salkin. I'm disabled, so I can't bathe her myself, but I will take her the earliest available day in the week to have the groomer do it. And I will follow your other advice as well. My phone service is slow, but I believe your advice is sound. I give you a very good rating.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

You're quite welcome. Thank you for your kind words and accept. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.