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Brown spots and hair loss.

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden Retriever
Age: 5-8 years
Hi again Dr. Marie,
My 6 year old Golden Retriever is itchy. I noticed that she is losing hair in circle spots but it is not red or weepy. The skin there feels a little "tacky and she has tiny brown spots that are easily washed off. I have tried benadryl, oatmeal shampoo, coal tar shampoo, hydrocortisone and currently I have started using malesab spray on the patches. The picture I am sending is NOT her but the skin in the pic is exactly what hers looks like in the spots. Do you have any hints or thoughts on this? She is fed a very high quality diet. She is spayed. She has had no other health problems. Thank you for your time,
Lisa Roach


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you for your question. Here is the image that you sent me that represents what you are seeing on Gracie's skin:

brown spots on dog's skin

I can't give you an exact answer without seeing Gracie in person. But, the skin in the photo that you sent me looks relatively normal. Sometimes dogs can get some areas of increased pigmentation and it can mean nothing. However, if it is itchy then there is probably something else going on.

There are a number of possible reasons for a dog to have hair loss in patches and also itchiness. One possibility is a bacterial skin infection. These are really common in Golden Retrievers. Often the cause is unknown. Some Goldens who get repeated infections can do so because of a condition called hypothyroidism. But even dogs with a normal thyroid can get skin infections. If this is what it is then she will need oral antibiotics prescribed by the vet. Antibiotic creams and sprays will not work.

Another possibility is sarcoptic mange. Mange usually causes patches like this that are most commonly on the elbows and ears but can appear anywhere. Mange is very itchy. Most vets will treat this with a heartworm and flea medication called Revolution but there are other treatments.

Ringworm, which is a fungal infection, can look like this as well. Ringworm is not terribly common in dogs in my area, but it is possible. Ringworm needs prescription medicine as well.

An allergy is a less likely possibility. Allergies can cause skin itchiness but it's more likely to happen on the toes and inside the ears.

Unfortunately there is not likely to be an at home treatment for this. If there is something that is causing itchiness then most likely Gracie is going to need a vet to take a look and prescribe medication to fix the problem.

I wish I could offer you more over the internet!

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.

Customer reply:

Thank you for your reply.
The malesab spray seems to be relieving the itchiness dramatically. She is do for her blood panels soon so I will make her appointment. Thanks,
Lisa


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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.