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Red spot near vulva.

Species: Dog
Breed: Lab mix
Age: 5-8 years
My six-year-old spayed, lab mix has a small red area near her vulva. She bites and licks at it constantly, but shows no other symptoms to indicate illness. She is eating and drinking normally and she appears to be urinating without any problem and on her normal schedule. I have also noticed her chewing at her paws and sides. Is it reasonable to assume this is a bug bite, or some other allergy or should I be more concerned?

I've recently been out of work for surgery myself and I simply can't afford a vet bill unless it is absolutely necessary. If she had an infection would I notice the symptoms getting obviously more serious? Is there anything I can try to rule out a bite/allergies? Thank you!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Cleo is so uncomfortable.

I won't be able to say for certain what this red spot is but I can take some guesses.

If this spot has only been there for a day or two and if you live in a climate that is warm enough to have biting insects at this time of year then, yes, it's possible that it is some type of a bug bite like a mosquito bite. If this is the case then it should go away on its own in 24-48 hours.

If she's also itchy on her paws and sides this can be a sign of an allergy. There are a lot of different things that she could be allergic to. One possibility is fleas. A flea bite could cause the red spot. Flea bites tend to be small - like 1/3 of the size of a mosquito bite.

If you think it may be fleas, then have a good look at the skin over the base of her tail. Can you see any tiny black flecks? If so, put them on a white piece of paper towel and see if they smear with water. If they smear a rusty color then this is flea dirt. If you do think this is due to fleas then I don't recommend any over the counter products for fleas. Prescription products are usually necessary.

It's also possible that there is an allergy to something else and now there is a secondary skin infection. If this is the case, then you should notice areas of the skin that are scaley or flakey. If this is a skin infection then prescription antibiotic pills are necessary.

At this point it doesn't sound like you need to rush in and see the vet right away. But, if the problem doesn't go away within 48 hours then it is probably necessary. In the meantime there is no harm in using a small amount of polysporin/neosporin three times a day. But, I don't find it is terribly effective though.


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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.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much for your quick response. Cleo has always had issues with allergies (runny eyes, sneezing). The red spot is much better today. I was able to keep her from gnawing on it this morning by giving her a chew and she appears to be much better this afternoon.

I checked for flea dirt, but did not see any. She is currently on Comboguard for heart worm preventative as well as flea treatment, but she has recently been switched, so I am unsure how effective it is. I live in South Carolina, so fleas, ants, and mosquitos are already out in full force. Thanks again for your help and advice.


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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.