My dog has a rash on her tail. What is the cause and treatment?
Original Question: My dog has a rash on her tail and it seemed like a hot spot at first. I first noticed it about 3 weeks ago when she was itching, licking and gnawing. I took her to the vet one week ago (Aug. 24) and she was prescribed Topagen Spray and a course of Prednisone. It seemed to improve at first but during the last couple of days, it now seems more irritated (red with little lesions) and is spreading. She is otherwise active and happy. - Guenter
Canine skin issues can be incredibly frustrating. A lot of the time they clear up very well without being seen again, but when we’ve got chronic, longstanding skin rashes and skin lesions in dogs can be challenging to resolve. A skin rash can be caused by many different things, for example, a wound, an insect bite, skin allergy or parasites like fleas, mites, ticks and various other conditions.
Surface infections can be treated very successfully with topical medication, but deep skin infections can require many weeks of antibiotic tablets to resolve. So if it’s getting worse, we want to be certain that there’s not a deep infection that needs antibiotic tablets to treat and cure. Also, whenever initial symptomatic treatment fails, then it’s important to try and get to the bottom of the underlying cause and that can involve taking a detailed history that includes recent parasite control, diet, and previous skin complaints. We can take samples of skin and hair for example, that are then looked at under the microscope or sent off to the laboratory to look for bacterial disease, fungal disease, parasites, parasite transmitted diseases as well as skin diseases that are spread by insects.
The final thing to mention is that if a dog or a cat continue to lick a problem area during the start of treatment, then there’s the potential that no treatment is going to get the issue under control. This is because they’re going to be continually damaging their skin and that’s just going to perpetuate that irritation and it sets up this vicious cycle where they’re itchy and they then lick or scratch which causes temporary relief but more skin damage and then more itchiness. To stop that from happening an Elizabethan Buster collar might be needed, a cone of shame or the area might need to be covered with a bandage or something similar just to prevent them from causing further damage although clearly that’s not a long-term solution. We should be looking at determining what the cause of the skin lesion is and actually treating that specifically and effectively. Please consult your veterinarian for an assessment.
I hope this gives you some insight.
Dr. Alex Avery
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