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Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck

by Klaudia Edmondson
(Brisbane, Australia)

Rash on Neck with Pimples

Rash on Neck with Pimples

Rash on Neck with Pimples
Rash on Neck with Pimples
Rash on Jaw with Pimples (hard to see)

I have a 12 month old female Boxer (Stella) and I have been trying to get on top of her skin rash for the past 6 months.

Currently she has a constant red rash on her neck and underside of her jaw (the tip). She scratches very hard on her jaw sometimes. Sometimes she will have a few small red bumps on her belly and she licks her genitals & tries to bite at the base of her tail. Occasionally she will also lick/chew on her paws. There are tiny little black spots in between her toes.

I will give you a history run-down first:

1. At about 4-5 months Stella had an ear infection. I discovered it quite late and due to this she also had further infections on her skin (mostly under her armpits, they got swollen and red). Once this was treated, she seemed fine. The vet also recommended to bathe Stella regularly with Malaseb Medical Shampoo.
2. At 6 months of age Stella was spayed and a few days after she started licking her paws a lot to the point where they got really red and infected. She was on antibiotics to help heal her wound. I tried to keep the paw licking under control with wiping her down after every walk and it seemed to keep it in check, but she never fully recovered from it. I tried various things like Epsom salts, oatmeal rinse, raw apple cider vinegar....all of which reduced the symptoms slightly but never fully healed her.
3. I tried to change her food (I always fed raw but now tried different brands and go from different angles - I live in Australia and even tried kangaroo meat). I contacted a naturopath who assessed Stella through a hair sample (bio-compatibility test) but it was no real allergy test for pollens or environmental triggers. So really it didn't help much. Any supplements/homeopathic skin formulas didn't really work.

4. I visited the vet and he prescribed antibiotics and steroids to treat the symptoms but this failed. She responded only the first couple of days whilst the dose was high but as soon as the dose lowered the pimples came back on her neck.
5. She is an outside dog and sometimes digs in dry soil near the house where the grass doesn't grow. She also chews on the grass sometimes or the odd plant (I have already removed a few plants that she often chewed on).
6. I have changed her bedding to a flea resistant type.
7. She receives natural flea treatment and homeopathic tick prevention formula. I also give her the usual monthly all-rounder wormer chews. Previous to the natural flea/tick formula I gave her sentinel instead.
8. Since the 12th of June (about a month ago) I have fed Stella only raw chicken (minced chicken frames from the butcher), whole chicken frames, veggie pulp and a health booster supplement. I wanted to see if the food is the cause, but the rash is on & off (or less inflamed and more inflamed) from time to time. It has never completely gone away but she is about 70% better than she was 6 months ago.
9. When she developed her severe rash 6 months ago, it was high summer.
10. I haven't bathed her for at least 4 months, as I don't think it is necessary and she really doesn't seem to need it (her coat looks nice and doesn't smell).

My questions are:

1. What allergy do you think Stella suffers from (food, flea, bacterial, atopy, environmental)?
2. What treatment do you suggest?
3. Is it safe to keep feeding her just raw chicken and supplements for the time being?

Attached are some photos.
I look forward to your reply.

Regards,
Klaudia

Comments for Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck

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Jul 11, 2010
My Online Vet Response for Dog Rash on Mouth and Neck
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman


Hi Klaudia,
From the photos you sent and your description of the other locations where she chews, licks and itches, my first assumption was a flea bite dermatitis, with some Atopy (inhaled allergies). Since there was no (or minimal) response to the antibiotics and steroids, that leaves a dog food allergy as a cause. Although, it is not uncommon at all for food, flea and inhaled allergies to occur all in the same patient.

For flea control, it is vitally important not only to work on the dog, but also on the environment to control the flea eggs and larvae. And even if you have removed all fleas from your dog, she will still scratch for 3-4 days from one flea bite if she has a flea bite allergy. Check out our Natural Flea Control for Pets page for more information.

For food allergy, you are on the right track with what you are feeding her now: "Since the 12th of June (about a month ago) I have fed Stella only raw chicken (minced chicken frames from the butcher), whole chicken frames, veggie pulp and a health booster supplement."

If a food allergy is her main problem, veterinary dermatologists advise continuing the 'restricted' or hypoallergenic diet for at least 3-6 weeks, to see if there is a response. Since you mentioned that she has partially improved, you must continue longer.

Dog Atopy, or inhaled allergies, are due to genetic predispositions, and certain breeds of dogs are affected worse than others. Boxers are known for their poor immune system and high susceptibility to dog cancer and tumors.

If she received numerous vaccinations at 3-4 months of age, and that is when the ear 'infection' appeared with inflammation under her armpits, I would suspect the vaccines triggered or stressed her immune system at that time. Then when she was spayed at 6 months (another big stress on the immune system, and surgery will also suppress the immune system), she started with licking her feet, a big symptom of atopy.

The redness, swelling and pimples are due to the secondary bacteria that are causing the problem to worsen. The bacteria did not start her skin problem, her susceptibility to allergies started and then the bacteria invaded later.

(Continued below...)

Jul 11, 2010
My Online Vet Response Continued for Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

(Continued from above: Part 2 of Question Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck)

Even though her skin does not smell and looks OK, she needs to be bathed to remove this secondary bacteria. A once a week shampoo using an oatmeal shampoo would be fine. And in between, shampoo under her neck every 2-3 days since the bacteria in her toenails will transmit to the skin under her neck as she traumatizes her skin by scratching.

I would also suggest taking a fecal exam every 3 to 6 months to see if she even needs to be dewormed. Do not automatically deworm her monthly.

For heartworm prevention, I suggest giving it every 45 days, not every 30 days. She will still receive the protection. Also, if the heartworm prevention is of the chewable nature, be very cautious of the 'food' additive added to it. Dogs have been known to be allergic to the food additive.

Finally, make sure that your veterinarian does a skin scraping to rule out mites (dog mange).

Finding a holistic veterinarian is of paramount importance to address the vaccinosis issue in your pup. This way you are going for the 'root' of the problem to correct the imbalance in her 'vital force'. Classical dog homeopathy would be the best treatment plan (that page will also show you how to find a homeopathic 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

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.

Aug 12, 2010
dog skin rash improved
by: Klaudia

Hi Dr. Tillman,

Thank you for the quick response. I have been busy and struggled to find time to reply to your message.

Firstly, I can already say my dog has improved - yay!

Upon reading your message, I made sure to rid my house and yard of fleas and also treated my dog in other ways using sprays and natural deterrents (found eucalyptus oil to be a good deterrent). I always thought my dog wouldn't have fleas but the more I thought about it and read I figured that I actually haven't considered all the areas where fleas could be present.

As soon as I started on the flea treatment, I saw improvements in my dog. The pimples have gone away and the hairs are finally growing back - this is so good to see after 6 months of constant redness on her neck.

My yard has a few dirty/sandy spots which I've also sprayed with flea deterrent (+ IGR), as she digs in those and I have a feeling she gets flea bites or other issues from that (including her licking on toes).

Since it is winter now (in Australia), I'm cautious as to whether her sudden improvement could be incidental with low flea presence in the environment. I will need to monitor this and keep up the flea control to see if there are any changes again.

Regarding the diet, I have followed your suggestion to keep going for now. I have kept feeding the human-grade chicken and found it to be no issue. As soon as her neck is fully back to normal I'm planning to introduce some beef and see her reaction to this. I have a feeling the beef is not good for her but I will find out.

In terms of worming protection, I've contacted the manufacturer of the product and found out the tasty chews are flavoured with dried beef and bacon. Fortunately, the manufacturer offered some alternative products which do not contain any flavours.

I often check my dog's poo as I pick it up in the yard or on walks, and haven't seen any worms.
I will follow your advice and give the worming treatment every 45 days instead.

Now I have one new question for you:

1. My pup weighs 23kg and being a Boxer she's quite active. How much food would you say she needs? I feed her roughly 0.5kg - 0.8kg per day (raw chicken frames minced up, human grade).

Regards,
Klaudia

Aug 13, 2010
My Online Vet Response for Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck
by: Carol Jean Tillman DVM

Hi Klaudia,

Great question, and thank you for taking the time to fill in all of her long background history. It is not uncommon in this day and age, from too many vaccinations, our polluted environment, contamination in crops, poor genetics from over-breeding, etc. that veterinarians are seeing 'chronic' illness in younger and younger patients.In homeopathic terminology, your pup has what Dr. Hahnemann, (the founder of Homeopathic Medicine), would call, Psora. It is one of the three Miasms, characterized by itching, eruptions on the skin, ear inflammation, and scratching of the extremities.

From the photos you submitted, she has secondary bacterial infection, (that is what is causing the pimples to appear), the ventral distribution of all of her lesions, (under chin, neck, chest/armpits, abdomen, feet), mean she has a contact allergy. She is allergic to something she is laying on either in the house or the yard or in the car.

Also, with the ear, feet and genital inflammation and itching, she probably has a food allergy, too. Dogs with contact and food allergy, often will be susceptible to inhalation allergy, (atopy) and flea allergy. For the food allergy, you are on the right track with the 'elimination' diet of only raw chicken and bone. It will take a minimum of 3-6 weeks to see obvious improvement, usually about 2 months. Once she is not itching as much, you can start to introduce some other foods into her diet, to make it a little more balanced. Dr. Richard Pitcairn has an excellent book, Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, with recipes, (including hypo-allergenic recipes).

To give her some relief in the meantime, and to reduce the bacteria on her skin,(every time she scratches herself, she is introducing more bacteria from her toenails into her skin), you should bathe her 1-2 times per week, with a mild oatmeal shampoo.

You can also use Rescue Remedy, diluted 10-20 drops to 4 oz of Spring water,(in a pump spray bottle), to spray onto her chin/neck area to calm down her skin. (It can also be given orally to calm her down if she is itching and frantically scratching through the night.) Make sure you give it to her diluted into her mouth, not straight from the bottle.

DO NOT give her any more vaccinations for the next 3 years if possible, or until she is back to normal.

Continue the natural flea and tick preventive, and consider covering her bed with a plain cotton sheet that is washed with a hypo-allergenic laundry detergent. (Provide the same thing for the car also.)

To be continued in part 2.

Aug 13, 2010
Part 2 My Online Vet Response to Dog Skin Rash on mouth and neck
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

(continued from above)

You did not mention if she had any skin scrapings done to rule out Demodectic Mange. You can also check out our page on dog skin conditions.

A holistic veterinarian would want to do a skin scraping, also.

Find a homeopathic veterinarian to start her on either Sulphur 12c or Thuya 12c. These are homeopathic remedies for Psora and Vaccinosis, respectively. To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
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

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.


Aug 13, 2010
My Online Vet Response for Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Klaudia,

For an active athletic breed, such as a 50 lb Boxer dog, (23 Kg), you should feed her about 850 calories per day. It is best to divide it into two feedings of 425 calories twice a day. Now you need to figure out how many calories per chicken frame, and proceed from there.

As for examining her stool, and looking for worms, you will not find any worms in the stool. Worms live in the intestine, colon or cecum. If they are dead, they will be digested. Although, in some instances of acute severe vomiting, you may find round worms which may be vomited up. It is the microscopic eggs which are passed in the stool, and the only way to detect them is with a microscope. Take a stool sample in to the veterinarian to get her checked.

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

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.







Sep 26, 2010
Stella
by: Klaudia

Hi Dr. Tillman,

Thanks for your many comments regarding Stella's condition. This is very helpful.
She has been quite well recently with hardly any scratching and her fur is growing back on her neck (no redness on her skin).

However, I've noticed she generally develops the itchiness at the neck after wet weather. She has a tendency to dig when it's wet (those few places around the house where the grass is scarce and soil is sandy), so I'm sure this also contributes to the bacterial infection.

Anyway, I'm taking your advice and am washing her more often (at least her feet and neck regularly).

I have not done a skin scraping, but from your comments and my own observations I feel atopy seems to be the true cause of her problems. I have continued with her chicken diet and would prefer to stay on this until December to wait out the seasonal changes. I do understand her diet needs to be balanced out a little more which I will work on. Thanks for the book suggestion, I will keep this in mind and try to get my hands on a copy.

I live in Brisbane, Australia, and so far I could only find one holistic vet in my area. I'm planning to contact them soon for some extra support.

Stella's yearly vaccination is due this month, but I'm holding off for now. I did discuss the vaccination process with my current vet and whilst he understands the reasoning he argues that there is no way of telling when the vaccination wears off if not vaccinated regularly (unless blood test are taken to check immune levels).

Anyway, I do also believe it should not be necessary to vaccinate every year but I need to have a clearer understanding of it all to make up my mind.

Thank you so much for the great support, I will be in contact again to update you on Stella's progress.

Regards,
Klaudia

Sep 26, 2010
My Online Vet Response for Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Klaudia,
Thank you for the progress report on Stella. I am so glad to hear that she is improving, and doing well.

Here is an article on Annual Vaccinations. It is from a veterinary text called Current Veterinary Therapy XI. This text is published every 4-5 years with a compilation of all of the latest advances in veterinary medicine. This one is from 1992, the most recent CVT is XIV, I believe.

From the text: Current Veterinary Therapy XI (1992) Canine and Feline Vaccines
by Dr. Tom Phillips and Dr. Ron Schultz

"ANNUAL VACCINATIONS

A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccinations. Almost without exception there is no immunologic requirement for annual revaccination.

Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal. Successful vaccination to most bacterial pathogens produces an immunologic memory that remains for years, allowing an animal to develop a protective anamnestic (secondary) response when exposed to virulent organisms. Only the immune response to toxins requires boosters (e.g. tetanus toxin booster, in humans, is recommended once evry 7 to 10 years), and no toxin vaccines are currently used for dogs or cats.

Furthermore, revaccination with most viral vaccines fails to stimulate an anamnestic (secondary) response as a result of interference by existing antibody( similar to maternal antibody interference).

The practice of annual vaccination in our opinion should be considered of questionable efficacy unless it is used as a mechanism to provide an annual physical examination or is required by law (i.e. certain states require annual revaccination for rabies)."

Another text that might be useful for you in researching vaccination, is Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, by Dr. Richard Pitcairn.

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

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.

May 16, 2011
Mange?
by: Gogo Diaz

Did you ever have her tested for Demodectic Mange? I have a dog who is part boxer and she has been suffering a lot of the same mysterious symtoms. She had pimples on her belly, tested positive for d. mange and has been treated for the last year with TONS of drugs and antibiotics. Now she tests clean for mange but has an ongoing rash mostly under her neck and chin and by her stifle area, sometimes under her tail. She eats premium raw food and takes tons of vitamins.

It could be a yeast infection and the oxy drops at Nzymes.com really helped her irritated paws but nothing helps her neck rash and it just comes and goes at will. so weird.

May 16, 2011
re: mange?
by: Klaudia

Hi gogo diaz. Thanks for your comments and very interesting to hear your story. I was about to try the Nzymes product for Stella but am still torn as to whether it will really help her. I did have a skin scraping done a few months ago and it came back clear. She's been a bit better lately, though it's autumn here in Australia and usually her rash improves with the cooler temperatures. I've also been given chinese herbs from my vet which have cleared the red paws and licking. Now it's only the acne on her neck that's still coming back periodically. Not sure what is going on but she's otherwise very happy and I just keep treating the rash naturally when it flares up. I've noticed over the past months it's become less frequent and severe but still not on top of it completely.

May 22, 2011
My Online Vet Response for Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Claudia,
For Stella, I am not sure if the NZymes would work. In my experience, of the many, many skin cases that I have treated, I had a few in which the owners wanted to try the NZymes. None of them showed any improvement.

The best response was usually with the use of homeopathic remedies (if that was not successful, then the use of Chinese herbs), also, improving the diet, decreasing or stopping vaccinations, and avoiding unnecessary toxins/chemicals on the skin.

If the Chinese herbs are helping, then perhaps using them in conjunction with Antronex, a glandular supplement from Standard Process will help, especially is if there is a seasonal component to the flareup. Antronex is a liver supplement that helps the liver remove histamine from the skin. In effect, acting like an 'anti-histamine'.

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

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: 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

Jun 14, 2012
Grass Pollen
by: ANGELA

My 7 month old Boglen terrier has the same problem. I got her in February and she was fine untill about May is when I noticed her rash. I noticed it appeared only after she has been outside playing. The vet prescribed her Benadryl for allergies. I give her it 20 minutes before she is going to be playing or spending time out doors. After observing her behavior while outside and much research I have figured out her allergy was actually grass pollen. This usually only occurs during the late spring and summer months. It is important to wipe them down with a wet rag before they enter the house to rid any pollen or grass they might carry in. Washing their bedding area often. All of the signs you have mentioned are right on with allergies of grass pollen! Best of wishes!

Oct 14, 2012
Home Remedy
by: Ryan

Based on your story and the pictures, I believe my dog has had the same issues as yours: ear infections accompanied with a rash and thinning of hair around her neck and chest. While I agree with the Vets' statements on most aspects, may I suggest a home remedy to try before spending tons of money on special foods and/or medications. Firstly, I think diet is of utmost importance so if you are feeding a low quality food, you should do what you can to improve that. The symptoms my dog suffers from are caused by a yeast infection. The one thing that has solved this problem is YOGURT! Feed a couple tablespoons of plain yogurt (my dog gets what we get - whole fat, organic, simple yogurt) during feeding - you can mix it in or feed as a treat. For skin rashes you can apply a small amount of yogurt directly to the skin once or twice daily until symptoms clear (for our dog, one or two days and the rash is gone). The reason yogurt works is that the active bacteria that makes yogurt, well...yogurt, acidophilus, keeps yeast populations in check. The reason you use plain yogurt instead of flavored is because the flavored ones usually contain extra sugar (yeast food!!!) and will cancel out the effects of the wonderful acidophilus. Another good way to feed the yogurt is to freeze it in ice cube trays and feed as a treat (they'll love it). I do everything I can to prevent giving my dog a bunch of pills. If there is a symptom, it means there is something wrong, and usually a pill just masks what is causing the problem to occur instead of actually fixing the root cause. Yogurt is natural, safe, and beneficial in more than one way for your dog (not to mention way cheaper than life-long medications or expensive designer diets). I hope this helps, and best of luck to you and your furry companion.

Oct 14, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Ryan,
You are correct, DIET is very important.
Your suggestions for using yogurt both in the diet and topically on the skin, are very good ones. I have even suggested applying plain yogurt into the ear canal for really stubborn yeast problems.

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

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

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us
by clicking the like button at the top of the left
margin
. Thank you!

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.



Oct 15, 2012
Yoghurt
by: Klaudia

Hi Ryan, thanks so much for sharing your experience and the yoghurt remedy! Stella has improved a lot the last few months and it tends to be that way during dry winter times (here in Australia..). She doesn't get any kibble but high quality meat rolls and a powdered natural supplement for healthy skin. I will definitely start adding yoghurt to see what it does. It also seems to me that as Stella matures she has less and less of these outbreaks.

Thanks again for taking the time!


Sep 18, 2013
Antiboitic/Steriod combo used during surgery
by: Anonymous

I recently had surgery and was given antiboitic/steriods during the surgery and 10 day oral antibiotic after surgery.
This combo killed all of the 'good' bacteria in my gut and allowed from an overgrowth of yeast in my gut. LUCKILY, I caught this very early on and started a natural yeast cleanse and doubled up on a good probiotic.

I don't think anmials are any different, I'm not a Vet but it sounds like since this started after you had her spayed, her gut balance is off - yeast has taken over

I would suggest, along with the yogurt, sprinkle probiotic on her food.

I see this was posted a while ago so I hope she's doing well.

Sep 21, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Skin Rash on Mouth and Neck
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

September 21, 2013

Dear Anonymous,
Yes, your suggestion is valid. Dogs and cats do need beneficial bacteria in the intestine, and antibiotics can kill off the 'good' bacteria.

Thanks for your comments!

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

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


P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!


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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