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Black skin patches on dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: Harrier mix
Age: 11-15 years
My dog started developing patches on his side a few months ago. His hair is falling out in these patches and the skin appears to look dry, scaly, red and sometimes bleeding. It doesn't appear to hurt or bother him. He's currently not on any medications. The most recent patch looks quite large like the size of two quarters side by side. Some older patches look like hair is growing back. Is there an ointment or something I can put on it? Is this an allergy?
Thank you,
Carrie


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear about Sammy's skin problems. And thank you for sending me the photo:

black skin on dog

Are these patches symmetrical? Or, in other words is there one on either side?

If so, this may be something called flank alopecia (also called seasonal alopecia). We often don't know the cause for flank alopecia. It is common in boxer dogs but it can happen in any breed. While some people will try treating it with melatonin, it's debatable whether this works. I usually don't do any treatment and it gets better on its own within a few months.

Flank alopecia is not itchy. If this is an itchy spot then it will be something else. A fungal infection could potentially look like this, but my money would really be on flank alopecia. If this is itchy then I would have your vet look at it. If it is some type of infection then Sammy would need a prescription medication, most likely in the form of tablets in order to get better. There won't be a cream that will help.

Some dogs with hypothyroidism can have skin that looks like this. But this is not common.

If it is not bothersome to Sammy then it's probably ok to keep an eye on him for now. Otherwise it's good to have your vet take a look.

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:

It's not symmetrical. In fact, the patches are only occurring on side of him.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Seasonal alopecia still can happen to a dog even if it is not symmetrical. However, if there are a lot of spots then it is probably a good idea to have your vet take a look.



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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.