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Flaky skin.

Species: Dog
Breed: Shih Tzu/Lahso
Age: 11-15 years
Samson has flakey skin that is most obvious on his back toward the tail and under his belly toward his back legs. It feels a bit oiley and the flakes are small and white. It does not seem to itch, although he does like to roll onto his back and squirm around on the floor. Maybe that IS itching. It just not seem to bother him more than that.

He has had a candida infection in his ears and I wondered if there could possibly be a connection. If so, what can I do to rid him of the flakes?

The vet does not seem concerned, but this has only happened since he had a serious liver infection last March - July where he was on large amounts of antibiotics for a long period of time.

I have also noticed that he has soft lumps under his forearms (both sides). The vet aspirated the lumps and said they were "fat" and not to worry; however, he has stopped jumping onto the ottoman and today would not jump out of the car. I don't know if they are connected. They do not appear to be painful.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this condition or conditions. Are there dermatologists for animals and could this situation warrant a visit to one?

Thank you for your help.

Charlotte from Texas


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Charlotte. Sorry to hear that Samson is going through frustrating problems with his skin. While it is often hard to talk about skin problems over the internet, I can give you a few ideas.

First of all, if you would like to email me a photo at photos@askavetquestion.com this may make it a little easier for me to give you some advice.

There are a number of different reasons for a dog to have flakes over his back end. And yes, I would consider it itching if he is rubbing his back on the floor.

It is possible that he has a skin infection. Are there any lesions, red spots or bumps at all? If so, then I would likely be putting him on a several week course of an antibiotic called cephalexin. However, if your vet has examined him and didn't feel there was an infection there then this is probably not the case.

It may seem simple, but is he on a good quality flea preventative such as Frontline, Advantage or Revolution? The most common reason for skin irritation over the back end is an allergy to fleas. Some dogs are so allergic to fleas that even one bite can set them off. You often don't actually see the fleas if there are not many of them there.

It's also possible he has allergies which are causing him to get seborrheic dermatitis. This means that the skin is flaky and itchy. There are some good shampoos that your vet can prescribe that can help to reduce the flakiness. One example is a shampoo called Sebolux.

Another product that helps in case this is a dry skin issue is something called Dermoscent often helps. This is a product that you apply a small amount of to the skin and it helps to moisturize the skin.

It is unlikely that the lumps you are feeling are causing any problems.

There definitely are veterinary dermatologists. I always recommend seeing one if your vet is unable to figure out what is going on.

One other thing that either your vet or the dermatologist can do is a biopsy of the affected skin. Usually this can be done with a local anesthetic. A biopsy is a great way to find out what is going on.

I hope things are figured out soon!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.