Species: Dog Breed: Beagle spaniel mix Age: 2-5 years
When I got home from work today, my dog had several large red spots on his stomach. They are circular with small white spots in the center. They are very red. There are at least 6 red spots on his belly. They appear to trail up to his chest. The hair has not fallen out (at least not yet). He did not have them last night. Any ideas? Can I treat it over the counter?
Dr. Marie replied:
Thanks for your question. I have a few ideas for you, but I won't be able to give you an actual diagnosis.
The most common reason for sudden red spots on a dog's belly are insect bites. I used to practice in an area that had a lot of blackflies. Dogs with blackfly bites can be covered in huge red spots and yes, sometimes there can be a white bump in the center. Mosquitoes will do this as well.
Here is a picture of a dog with mosquito bites:
If this is what it is, then the red spots will go away on their own. It may take 1-2 days for them to calm down. It won't hurt to use a small amount of neosporin/polysporin on the spots to help with the itch if this is the case.
Another possibility is if these are a bacterial skin infection. It would be a little bit unusual for a bacterial infection to suddenly pop up as red spots on the stomach though. But, if the red spots start to get crusty edges and if the white bits are popping and have pus in them then you may be dealing with bacteria. For this reason, if the lesions are still there in a few days you'll need to see the vet to get some prescription antibiotics. Bacterial infections of the skin always need either oral antibiotics or an injection of Convenia. Creams will not work.
Those are the most likely explanations. Ultimately, if they are not bothering Barnie I would do nothing. If they are a little bit itchy you could try the neosporin/polysporin cream. Or, it won't hurt to give Benadryl at 1mg per pound 2-3 times per day. But if the problem lasts more than a couple of days or if it seems like it is very uncomfortable to Barnie then I'd have a vet take a look.
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Thank you very much for your prompt response. I should have mentioned that he is mostly an inside dog. We did go to the lake this weekend and dogs sort of run free there. Do you think there is a chance it could be ring worm?
Dr. Marie replied:
I would be very surprised if this is ring worm. I can tell you that almost every time I have seen a dog because of insect bites (black flies or mosquitos) the client has asked me if it could be ringworm. :)
When dogs get ringworm it doesn't tend to be an obvious ring like people get. Plus, it likely would not have come up so quickly.
Given that you were just at the lake, that makes fly bites even more likely! Barnie's system likely isn't used to getting fly bites and this could be why he reacted strongly to them.
Thank you so much. I feel a lot better. I will continue to watch him over the next fees days.
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Dr. 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.
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