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Canine Skin Rash

by Robin Groenke
(Orono, MN)

Within a week of her arrival at my home, my dog developed hives. I gave her Benadryl and they went away. Not long after, I noticed a rash.

She doesn't incessantly lick or scratch, but it does seem to bother her some. It's now been a month and she still has the rash. Pictures here.

Her name is Daisy, and she is a 2 year old ChoclateLab/GermanShorthair/Pointer mix. Rescued from a young couple who's change in relationship status and finances made keeping the dog impossible. I feed Solid Gold dry - a mixture of three kinds.

I do have another 6 year old Black Lab/German Shephard mix. Because the other dog is fine, I'm ruling out fleas.

By my research, that leaves a food allergy, or a contact allergy. The dogs have free roam of 2 acres enclosed by an Invisible Fence. There are several planting areas, but it's mostly mowed grass lawn.

As of last Friday, I am feeding Daisy only home made chow. Currently a mix of Buckwheat, Nutritional Yeast, Carrots, Green Peppers, Pork Roast and Blueberries. I am also giving her a skin tonic from PetAlive that I saw recommended on your site. In three days she has not gotten any better. I have much experience with human dermatitis and assume a quick change is unlikely.

If it's a contact allergy, I'm assuming a good frost will take care of that.

Looking at the pictures and given your experience, am I on the right track? Is there any other action you would recommend?

Thank You!

Comments for Canine Skin Rash

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Aug 09, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Canine Skin Rash
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Robin,
You mentioned that when you first adopted her she developed hives, which responded to Benadryl. Had she also just had a vaccination?

After that, she developed this rash, which has persisted over the past month. You said it is not itchy, but it does bother her some.

Also, you have ruled out fleas because your other dog does not have fleas.

From the photos you submitted of this rash, it is difficult to give you any diagnosis, as you did not include a photo of her whole body. From what I can see of the thinning of the hair on her hind legs, I would be concerned with dog Flea Allergy, Hypothyroidism, nutritional deficiencies or stress from a change of environment.

Usually dog allergies, whether flea, food, contact or inhaled allergies, are VERY itchy.

It is very possible for fleas to be on one dog and the other dog not to have any. Fleas are parasites and are attracted to 'weak' animals. A healthy dog, can be surrounded by fleas, but not be affected by them (or just not have any allergic sensitivity to them).

Solid Gold food is an excellent dog food. Although, if you were feeding a dry food only diet to Daisy, it may not have enough moisture in it for her to maintain a healthy skin and hair coat. Especially if she is going through a stress period with a change to a new home. (Also, if she received a vaccination before you adopted her, this would have effected her immune system and made her more susceptible to a skin problem).

The home prepared food you have made is adequate for short term (over several months), but it needs a good source of calcium. You may need to add in a bit of the Solid Gold Dry food to help keep the Calcium/Phosphorus ratio balanced. The PetAlive skin tonic is a good one, but for Daisy I would also add in some Omega 3 fish oil for dogs 500mg to 1,000mg two times daily to her food. This new diet with supplements will take about 3-6 weeks to see improvement.

In the meantime, I would also suggest a total blood panel, to include thyroid and heartworm test to see how healthy she is internally, and a fecal to rule out parasites (If she is positive for parasites, you should deworm your other dog, too.)


Aug 09, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Canine Skin Rash PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Robin,
Here is the continuation of my response:

For emotional balancing, give her a Bach combo of Rescue Remedy plus Walnut plus Honeysuckle (this will help with dog anxiety, getting adjusted to change and also to help with homesickness).

A holistic veterinarian can help with Bach flower essences, and also with homeopathic remedies to treat 'vaccinosis'. But start with a blood panel first to see if there are any other problems that need to be addressed.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click here:
find a holistic veterinarian in your area

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: This educational advice is based on the depth of your question and the picture you submitted. The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- Dog Skin Conditions,
- Dog Itchy Skin,
- Dog Skin Rash,
- Dog Skin Allergies,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Skin Rashes, Marks, Spots, Lesions & Patches (including itchy skin and mange) Section,
- Ask a Vet Online Library - Dog Hair Loss Section

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