Skin on Dog's Belly is Falling Apart
Our problem began 6 months ago. I started noticing dark patches of skin under my dog Otto's armpits that were very itchy, and the skin was peeling up, allowing the back areas to be rubbed off. It smelled very similar to a yeast infection that one of my other dogs had some years back.
I cleaned Otto's belly with a spray shampoo that has essential oils and smelled like coconut, and I applied clotrimazole cream, 2%. It seemed to be helping, but then I went out of town for 4 days, leaving Otto in the care of my husband. He said Otto mourned and mourned and would not eat, and when I returned, the black rash had spread to his entire abdomen.
Otto is unable to scratch when he itches, and most of the areas in the photo shown, Otto can neither reach to lick or chew. Returning home, I cleaned his whole belly with witch hazel, and then applied a mixture of the clotrimazole cream and bactroban cream. I thought it would be either fungal or bacterial, so one or the other should do the trick.
The back rash would wax and wane, leading me to believe I was doing some good, but now, patches of his fur the size of a quarter are coming off WITH the skin, leaving a bloody sore. He is no longer able to wear his harness to go for walks, because his skin is so weak, it breaks down very easily and comes off.
I bought a spray that has 2% Chlorhexidine, 1% Ketoconizole I use once a day, and Allercain, with Lidocaine 2.4% and bezalkonium chloride. I ended up adding more of my own Lidocaine just so he can sleep.
I was giving him Benedryl 50mg 2 x day, but now he won't let me give him pills of ANY kind. He even bit me, and he picks through the hamburger I give him pills in to make sure I have not put a pill in.
I've been giving pills for years to dogs - 40 years, and dozens of dogs, and Otto has whipped me on this front. No more pills of any kind.
This grunge is weepy and smelly, very itchy, sometimes crusting as you can see in photo, along with the healed circles where he lost hair and flesh.
We don't have fleas. I alternate Advantage and Frontline and have combed Otto out with a flea comb. I brush him several times a day with a stiff brush because he can't scratch and is so itchy.
He has an undercoat like a husky, and the skin disease has accelerated through the shedding season. He used to lay on his stomach with his back legs out like a frog, but is no longer comfortable that way and only lays on his sides.
I know humans develop pressure sores laying in bed too long, and that occurred to me because of his paralysis, but as you can see in photo, the black grunge has extended to places with no pressure at all, like the sides of his stomach on either side of his phallus.
It began in his front arm pits, but they are clear now. It has just exploded on his belly.
Otto's bladder is expressed 3-4 times per day outside. I wheelbarrow him because he has gained a lot of weight these last 2 years. I took him off of grain dog food as soon as this started, so 6 months on a very expensive bison based, meat based food, which has improved his coat overall and his energy levels, but did not help with the grunge. This came with increased weeping of the eyes, not like conjunctivitis, but clear excessive tears, and copious leg licking.
He is 12 1/2 years old, has the beginning stages of cataracts in both
eyes and does not see well, he weighs 60 lbs, is paralyzed, and I know age is not helping matters, but since the original site of this grunge cleared up, I do not know why I am unable to heal it completely.
He drinks about a half gallon of bottled water a day, and I have reduced his food intake because the extra weight is not helpful when he has to walk on just his fronts to go outside to pee. His ears are clean as a whistle, and he has all his teeth with no tarter.
So, I have treated for bacterial and fungal, and tried to treat his anxiety with diphenhydramine, but no more pills per Otto. he does have massive anxiety when I leave.
I quit my job to care for Otto and his handicap, but I do have to get out and get away sometimes.
Can I be using too little of the antifungal?
Afraid to use more, because it thins the skin, and we already have a problem with him losing patches of fur that take away the upper dermal layer and it leaves a wet bloody patch that does not actually bleed unless pressure is applied.
I'm doing everything I did for another dog I had and was instructed by the vet. Otto's is beginning to suffer now and I can't live with that. I'm sure he is arthritic.
Otto communicates with me when he needs water or food by tapping his foot, but now at night when he is panting and panting, and has had plenty of water, has had a BM (which is solid), and been out to pee, and has had the numbing spray applied, I just don't know what else to do to make him comfortable. I have Tramadol for him and he sleeps very comfy when he takes it, but I can no longer get him to take it no matter which trick I use.
Some more history...
Otto is a 12 year old mixed breed dog. In 2009, he became paralyzed on his back legs, and has a 4 inch dead zone on top of his back, starting at base of his tail, and moving toward his head.
His tail is not paralyzed, and he has some nerve action in his legs. He will draw back if you tickle his foot.
Since his world is very small, the highlight of Otto's existence is going for a walk in his walking wheels, which has a harness, side rails and the wheels (ordered from handicapped pets, a wonderful device that has given Otto 4 years of freedom and happiness).
I am out of tricks, and my best friend is suffering. We did get a new dog just after the first signs of this showed. We rescued a male American Bulldog and got him neutered asap. Otto doesn't like him, but does not seem OVERLY pained by his presence.
3 dogs in home overall. Otto, Otis the bulldog, and Dixie, and black lab / American bulldog mix that was born with me and has grown up with Otto and his handicap. She is protective of Otto and they love each other. None of the other dogs have any skin disorders and no parasites.
That is every detail I can think of. I just want this guy to be comfortable. He saved my life quite literally, and I am beyond attached and in love with my little guy.
He is otherwise in excellent health for his age, and the no grain, meat based dog food seems to have made a big difference in his energy levels, and all the dogs coats and muscle tone. Still little Otto suffers. I say little, because the other 2 dogs are jumbos, over 100 lbs. Otto's normal skin color is all pink - no black at all.