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Dog skin problems on back, neck, paw pads, ears, belly and front legs - bald spots, rash, bumps

by Greg
(Sarasota ,Florida)

Sam's back months ago... this is how it started.  This area is now 95% healed.

Sam's back months ago... this is how it started. This area is now 95% healed.

Sam's back months ago... this is how it started.  This area is now 95% healed.
Recent photo - armpits/legs
Recent photo - armpits
Recent photo

My name is Greg and the patient's name is Sam, an almost 8 years old male Collie. We have had him since he was 6 weeks old and he has always been a healthy dog.

He never had any problems till about a year and a half ago when we noticed a little bump on his left foot. No hair was growing there but it was small and vet said just keep an eye on it.

All this time we lived in the State of Illinois close to the Wisconsin boarder. One year plus ago, in May 2011, we moved here to Sarasota Florida. Right around the time of move to Florida Sam's bump started to get bigger and he was licking it a lot. So after we unpacked we took him to the vet and they removed the bump and tested it for cancer. The test came back negative and we were hoping it was the end of Sam's health issues.

Well, a year ago in September 2011 he started smelling bad. We took him for grooming and we were informed that he has a serious skin problem. The vet took a look and Sam got his first round of antibiotics and steroids which did not work very well.

The second round did not work well either, so we changed vets. The next vet gave more antibiotics, itching shampoos, skin sprays and so on. Very little improvement was noticed but as soon as this round of medication was done it all came back.

Sam's skin problem started on his back. Now his back is OK but the problem is in the front on his neck, paw pads, ears, belly and bad bald spots on his front legs. We not sure if that growth that was removed had anything to do with it.

We have tried different foods to eliminate food allergies. Water he gets only from a big bottle /water dispenser.

At first he was scratching like crazy and like I mentioned his biggest problem was on his back and his ears were clear, but now the scratching is very low and his back is fine. The problem moved to the front.

His ears look like yeast infection, something he never had so we are not sure if this is two different problems or one big problem.

He is on mix of dry and can food, he has appetite and energy ,still smells and his stool looks normal. We also have a second dog, Maja, a 5 year old female lhasa poo and she never caught anything from Sam. They have been together for this whole problem year.

Please help!

Thanks, Sam and family

Comments for Dog skin problems on back, neck, paw pads, ears, belly and front legs - bald spots, rash, bumps

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Sep 18, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog skin problems on back, neck, paw pads, ears belly and front legs-bald spots, rash, bumps
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Greg,
From the timeline of events that you sent regarding major points in Sam's life, 'healthy' but had a growth on his foot that he was itching, then moving to Florida (was he also vaccinated at this time?), then having this growth surgically removed, would be VERY stressful and cause a depressed immune system.

Then, when he was itching he had antibiotics and cortisone to further depress his immune system (hopefully he did not get any more vaccinations).

And now the itching is less, but he has 'yeasty' ears, hair loss, thickened skin on elbows, neck, abdomen and feet. All of this has wreaked havoc on his vital force, and his poor immune system is too weak to recover.

You did not mention if he had any skin scrapings or had any blood tests done. Sarcoptic mange will cause the thickened skin on elbows, chest, and ears. It is usually diagnosed with a skin scraping, but it can be very difficult to find sometimes. See our page on 'Sarcoptic mites' for more information.

A low thyroid level can contribute to a poor hair coat with hair loss and secondary yeast or bacteria infections which can be diagnosed with a blood test.

If you are applying toxic flea or tick preventives to his skin, this will also affect his immune system. Instead, apply the recommendations found on our Dog Flea Medicine and Prevention page. Specifically check out Wondercide from EVOLVE.

It would be best to bathe one time per week with an oatmeal shampoo. After bathing, use apple cider vinegar diluted 50:50 with spring water, as a 'rinse' or apply with a gauze or cotton to his ears, feet, armpits and elbows to control yeast. You may need to do this 2-3 times per week, not just the one time after a bath.

Dry food is not very healthy. A RAW diet would be much better. Although, considering he is a large breed dog, that might be very expensive. So, if you are able to feed him 1/3 part canned, 1/3 part raw diet, and 1/3 part vegetable,(green beans, carrots, yams) that would be much better.

See our 10 Best Dog Food Options page for some canned dog food recommendations. For some homemade recipes, see Dr. Richard Pitcairn's book, Natural Health for Dogs and Cats or check out our Homemade Dog Food Recipes section.

SUPPORT for the Immune System:

1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder


Sep 18, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog skin problems on back, neck, paw pads, ears, belly and front legs-bald spots, rash, bumps PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Greg,
Here is the rest of my response.

If a blood test shows a low or low normal thyroid level, he may need to be on another
Standard Process product called Thytrophin. It provides support for the thyroid gland, but does not contain any hormones.

Canine Whole Body support by Standard Process may also be needed if he has any other deficiencies noted on his blood test.

And I would advise that you seek the help of a holistic veterinarian to recommend some homeopathic remedies to remove the effects of vaccinosis and to help a weakened Vital Force.

Also, NO MORE vaccinations!!

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman


Sep 24, 2012
tests info
by: Greg

Thanks for the response.

It took me few days to get Sam's test results so....

On 3/7 he was tested for Demodectic and Sarcoptic Mange. Results of the skin scraping were negative for any skin mites, then it says... gram stains were conclusive for 100% gram positive bacteria and no yeast, so I am thinking he might have gotten something new from last time he was tested in march 2012?

One thing I don't understand is when you say ... vaccinations, you have to do it when it's required by law, right?


Sep 25, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog skin problems on back, neck, paw pads, ears, belly and front legs-bald spots, rash, bumps
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Greg,
You wrote that Sam was tested for Sarcoptic and Demodex mites and had NEG skin scraping. Sam was POSITIVE for Bacteria (no yeast). This would definitely indicate that Sam has a poor immune system, as there is bacteria everywhere--but you need a healthy immune system to keep everything in 'balance'.

Did he have a blood test, to check for thyroid levels?

Rabies vaccine is the only vaccine that is required by law. But if your dog is NOT healthy, you can have a veterinarian write an exemption form to 'excuse' him from getting the Rabies vaccination (or any vaccination, for that matter). You can still get a license for him, but just do not vaccinate him.

Inside every box of vaccine is an insert from the Pharmaceutical Company that says, "To be administered to HEALTHY animals ONLY." If Sam is not healthy, then he should NOT be vaccinated. And once he is healthy, then I would still be very cautious regarding giving him any vaccines, as it might cause a relapse and make him sick again!

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: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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