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Itchy dog skin with rash and bald spots

by Boris

I have 1.5 years old German shepherd female and she is not spayed. She developed a red rash first when she was 8 months old. The vet said that it was skin infection and prescribed novolexin antibiotics. This helped and she was free of the stomach rash. Everything was good and she went into heat period.

Right after the heat period - 3 weeks after antibiotic treatment - the rash came back. She started to scratch and bite, creating bald spots, and then we put her on peroxin for 3 days. That took care of it, but it came back after 2 weeks.

We went to vet again and they said to treat her with advantage flea treatment but that it could be due to allergies to food (they didn't find any fleas).

So I came home she got treated for fleas. I cleaned everything in the house as well, and I also treated my other dog and a cat for fleas. I repeated the treatment again one month later. This didn't help at all.

I also changed her food that she has been on since she was born. I got holistic food for allergic dogs; I was advised to use three different types of holistic grain-free food and alternate them every 2-3 weeks (kind a cleansing for a dog). That didn't make any difference and she's been on her new food now for over 2 months.

Finally I decided to wash her with a mixture of peroxide and borax detergent that I used for my
first German shepherd (this treatment cured him from mange that he had on his eye).

24-36 hours after washing her she was getting better: no itching except increased itching on her ears. I didn't applied so much borax on head because it could hurt her if it gets in her eyes.

Everything was going good but after 3 weeks it came back she is scratching everywhere, but mainly biting and creating bald spots all over her point of rump and hips, and she has a mild rash on her stomach.

I shaved her hip just to get a better view for the photos. The rash there is red and it feels bumpy - almost like under-skin pimples. I am not sure if it is from excessive biting or...????

Her coat is nice and shiny (no dandruff). She is an indoor dog and she is very happy and full of energy.

I am getting ready to treat her with borax again, but I want to find a permanent fix to this because I feel that I am treating symptoms but underlying problem is not getting solved.

A month ago I started to boost her immune system by giving her olive oil and small amounts of garlic, plus one pill of 500 of C vitamin per week. In between she eats one apple a day, and she loves apples carrots and cod liver oil.

I was also treating her 4 months ago with organic cider vinegar by applying it to her skin. This helped with itching but nothing else.

Comments for Itchy dog skin with rash and bald spots

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Jan 10, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Itchy dog skin with rash and bald spots
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Boris,
Your poor German Shepherd has had skin issues for more than half of her short life! From the photos you submitted, it appears that she has superficial pyoderma, what you describe as 'bumpy--almost like under-skin pimples' is caused by inflammation of the hair follicles with secondary bacterial infection.

(That is the reason the antibiotics worked temporarily.)

See our page on Dog Skin Conditions for more information.

One test that you did not mention was a skin scraping to rule out dog mange. Mange mites can be a big factor in a young fast growing dog, especially around the age of puberty when the immune system is stressed.

Another factor is that all of her skin problems seemed to start after her last vaccinations were given (although, you did not mention if she had any vaccinations - if she did, they are ALSO a big stress on a dog's immune system).

Therefore, I would suggest:

1. Skin scraping for mange mites

2. Treat homeopathically for 'vaccinosis' by a holistic veterinarian knowledgeable in homeopathic remedies.
Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

3. Boost her immune system to help her heal completely and not be susceptible to skin inflammation. Instead of olive oil and garlic, use Omega 3 fish oil for dogs, 500-1,000mg TWO times daily in her food. This may help decrease the inflammation.

Instead of 500mg of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), use a BUFFERED VITAMIN C. Since a dog's stomach contains 10 times MORE Hydrochloric acid than a human, it is safer to use a buffered form, such as OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder.

It is ok to continue the apples and carrots as treats, but consider a RAW dog food diet for her. Raw meat contains vitamin C, provides adequate moisture for the skin and hair coat, and is a natural hypo-allergenic diet. See our page on 10 Best Dog Food Options for suggested foods.


Jan 10, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Itchy dog skin with rash and bald spots PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Boris,
Here is the rest of my response:

Other good immune system supplements are:
1. Immuplex from Standard Process - Open and sprinkle one to two capsules into her food two times daily.
2. Missing Link Canine Formula

Bathe her every week with an oatmeal shampoo, which may help to decrease itching. And you can spray on topical Rescue Remedy, (a Bach flower essence, add 20 drops to 4 oz Spring Water in a pump sprayer) and use as needed on her abdomen to 'calm' down the skin.

You can also use Aloe Vera juice (the kind you drink) in a pump spray bottle to spray on her skin as needed (It is kept refrigerated after opening, so it will be cold. I have found that seems to provide relief to the hot and inflamed skin area).

The apple cider vinegar I would only use if she has yeast or fungus in her skin. And the borax and hydrogen peroxide only as a temporary means to decrease itching.

If all of the above helps and she returns to normal, only to flare up at her next heat, then I would wonder if hormones are a factor in her susceptibility to these skin issues. Something to consider.

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.

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

Oct 13, 2012
itchy skin
by: Anonymous

My dog has similar problems. I give him 2 25mg of Benadryl or the cheaper knock off from Rite Aid. It stops him from scratching but does not cure the problem. He is a 70lb lab.

Oct 13, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Itchy dog skin with rash and bald spots
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for your question. I'm happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).
Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

May 12, 2013
My dog is still itching
by: Vesna

I've treated my dog 3 times in the past week and he's still scratching . Today I poured it all over him so I wouldn't miss any spots..he's been losing fur for the last 2 weeks with all of his scratching. I'm at a loss as to what to do next. I used it on him today and 10 min later he vomitted. I'm thinking he licked his paws.

May 21, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Itchy dog skin with rash and bald spots
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Dear Vesna,

I do not know what you have poured all over him, and if he has licked it off and is vomiting, I would take him to an Emergency Clinic as soon as possible.

In the meantime, thanks for the question. And I am happy to help, but we only accept new questions from subscribers (the original question above was from a subscriber).

Please click here to sign up and submit your question and photos. I'll then get back to you right away at the bottom of your newly created web page.

Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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