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Bald spots on bulldog's legs.

Species: Dog
Breed: English Bulldog
Age: 1-2 years
We purchased a baby bulldog about a month ago. We already had a bulldog, Mina, and wanted her to have a friend to play with. About 2-3 weeks ago Mina just didn't seem to be acting like herself. I took her to the vet along with the new puppy (Lia), who needed a rabies shot. Mina had a low grade fever and the vet gave her a shot of cortisone. She did start acting better but I noticed a skin spot pop up on her back leg. It progressively got worse so that a week later I returned to the vet. He did a culture and said that it's most likely a staff infection. He gave us Cephalexin tablets to give her 2x a day. We've been doing this now for 5 days without any sign of it getting better. In fact, I've noticed more spots popping up. I am having a hard time believing this is a staff infection. Mina and Lia are playing very well together and Lia does tend to bite Mina on the legs. Surely this hasn't caused a staff infection.

I have taken pictures of the spots I'm referring to and have e-mailed them with the subject: Mina's spots. They are mostly on her legs, none on her stomach, neck or jowls.

Please help! I want to make it better!

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question Jennifer. And also, thank you for the excellent photos. Here are two of them:

bald spot on bulldog's leg

bald spots on bulldog's leg

Bulldogs are famous for getting staph infections and there is a good chance that this is what this is. Cephalexin is the usual antibiotic that we use for a staph infection. It is possible that you will need to have her on it longer before you see a significant improvement. It could take 10-14 days to start clearing up.

The pictures make this look a little bit like a parasite called demodex. However, demodex is not contagious from dog to dog so it's not likely something that Mina picked up from the new dog. Some dogs are born with a susceptibility to demodex and when stressed can have outbreaks. It's possible that the stress of having a new puppy (even if she likes the puppy has brought about demodex. In most cases, demodex is not serious and can go away on its own. But there are some dogs with a condition called generalized demodex that can be very serious.

If this condition is not improving in another week or so you can ask your vet to test for demodex. It is a simple test called a skin scraping.

If it's not getting better then another possibility is ringworm which is a fungal infection. Ringworm is not terribly common and I am doubtful that this is what this is but it is worth asking your vet about.

I would keep giving her the antibiotics and if you haven't seen any improvement in another 7-10 days, or if you feel that it is continuing to get worse then you could consider going earlier.

I hope things are better 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. 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:

Hi Dr. Marie,

Thank you for your response. I will continue Mina on Cephalexin. I noticed this morning that Lia, the puppy, now has a spot on her forehead that seems to have the same beginning signs as the spots Mina has.

Are staph infections contagious? Can staph infections be caused by insect bites? We have had a lot of mosquitos this summer (we're in a suburb of Kansas City)and I'm curious if the mosquitos have caused the staph infections.

Demodex seems possible but now that Lia has a similar spot is it more likely to be a staph infection? I looked up Demodex online and Mina fits the age-range that dogs who have an episode generally get demodex. Her spots do look similar to the pictures online. Mina and Lia are sisters (have the same parents, just different litters). I'm not sure if that makes a difference when determining the cause of these spots.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

A staph infection is not contagious. It does seem strange though that Lia has these spots too.

Mosquito bites can definitely cause odd skin lesions but they don't usually look like this.

Demodex is really not supposed to be contagious but if this were my case this is the first thing I would be testing both dogs for. Dogs can have a genetic predisposition for demodex so given that they are related, this is certainly possible!

If the test for demodex is negative then I would probably be testing for ringworm.

If you do have further tests done please let me know what you find out!

Dr. Marie.

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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.

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