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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21205
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My dog has dark almost black areas of skin developing near

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My dog has dark almost black areas of skin developing near her rear and on the underside of her rear lag area. she is a 12 year old terrier mix, 32 pounds. Healthy other than her epilepsy.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Has Harriette Louise had any issues with historical skin disease or itching in this area?

Are these patches flat or raised? Any changes to the skin's texture?

Any redness, inflammation, soreness, pustules, pimples or scabs?

Here is a dramatic example, but does Harrietta's black patches look similar to THIS or THIS?

If possible, could you take a photo of this? If you can do so and post them online, I am happy to have a look (since it will let me see what you are seeing). To post them, you can either use the wee paper clip on the tool bar. Or you can post them on a 3rd party site (ie Flickr, Photobucket, etc) and paste the web address here.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Her black patches are in fact similar to the example you showed, much less of her body is affected though.

Thank you for confirming what you are seeing with Harriette Louise.

As you can appreciate, I hadn't thought that Harriette Louise's skin was as severely affected as those examples. It was only that more mild cases were difficult to give an accurate appreciation of on photo alone. And it is quite important for you and I to be able to be on the same page with what you are seeing on Harriette Louise's skin (especially since raised black lumps can be a sign of melanomas).

That all said, if her skin looks similar to the examples I have provided, then that does shed some light on what you are seeing. And in this case, what you are seeing with her skin is what we call hyperpigmentation. This is a phenomena that arises when skin is chronically irritated. (It is similar to the way our skin darkens when 'irritated' by the sun too much, though non-reversible). If it has taken into her older years to form and she hasn't been overly itchy or had any skin issues in this area, then it may just be a skin response to a low grade irritation (ie food allergy, flea allergy, contact allergies to laundry powders, etc).

In that case, you may want to review her exposure to potentially irritants over the past wee while. For example, if you have recently (in the past month or two) changed her food, forgotten to treat her for fleas, or changed your carpet or laundry powder, these could be the trigger for her signs and may need to be addressed. Or it may be that she is developing an allergy to a seasonal pollen just now. If she is showing irritated skin, then you might want to speak to her vet about a trial on anti-histamines or steroids. And if she has been drinking more or experiencing any health changes (though you didn't mention any), then we'd way to consider having a check-up with her vet to make sure we are seeing an indirect hint of a systemic health issue (ie Cushings disease).

Overall, hyperpigmentation of her skin is not a worry in itself. It is typically a benign side effect of the skin being irritated. Therefore, if this has suddenly appeared, then do consider monitoring for any skin itchiness or irritation and reviewing her environment. If you do find any of these amiss, then it may be a hint that Harriette Louise has a wee skin irritation or allergy that needs to be addressed.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


Remember that if you have any lingering questions or concerns, please reply so that we may continue our conversation. I will be happy to work with your further and do everything I can to provide you with the service you seek. Please remember to rate my answer when you are satisfied (with4-5 stars or a happy face) so that I may receive credit for my assistance. Thank you & have a great day. : )

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