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Red bumpy skin patches with hair loss and crusting

Published on: November 16, 2022 • By: zac · In Forum: Dogs
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zac
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November 16, 2022 at 06:54pm
Hello, my 11-year-old male Labrador has red bumpy crusty red patches on the forehead, feet, and face. There's hair loss on these patches and also in other areas around. IMG_1193IMG_1181IMG_1179 Is this a parasite infection? Please suggest appropriate treatment options. There aren't any vets nearby so any help is highly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
November 16, 2022 at 08:42pm
Hello- and I think the first thing  to make clear, is that although we can all list various scenarios that might have caused these lesions in this animal (and I will in just a moment), that's not much good to you or your lab.  If that solved our cases, vets would have closed in the last couple of decades and a series of picture- matching apps would be busy taking over.  I would no doubt be charging you for my services online. The reason that this hasn't happened, is that our job is more complicated than that.  For example, the symptoms we see here could be caused by multiple illnesses, and it is a very good idea to understand the correct cause of the symptoms before throwing treatments at them.  Sure, some red blotchy skins can be cooled down by putting cream on them, but that only works in some cases and doesn't address the cause.  So as soon as the cream wears off, the signs would likely continue.  In some situations, the cream might even make the cause worse.   If there is bacterial infection in these follicles, a vet might prescribe superficial antibiotics and research into why it got infected.  If it is caused by demodex mites, it will need a specific treatment, which might include a particular medicated wash that is usually left on for a set amount of time.  There are safety precautions involved with that.  If the signs are connected to underlying endocrine issues, for example hypothyroidism, the underlying disease would need to be addressed.  If an autoimmune disease is suspected, then anti-immune drugs might be needed.   If an allergy is suspected, less strong anti-immune drugs are sometimes given and the cause of the allergy possibly addressed.   If external parasites are suspected (Demodex is actually just one example of this), they will need to be treated with the correct antiparasiticide for the parasite.  Most commonly, on first presentation, a combination of different possibilities are identified (we call this the differentials list) and the vet has to do tests to rule out some of them - for example, superficial skin scrapes for superficial mites, deep skin scrapes for demodex, biopsies for autoimmune diseases and cancers, blood tests for endocrine diseases (eg thyroid) and so on. As you can appreciate, the possibilities list for signs like this is complex and varied.  Guessing the disease and treating (trial by error) is a long game and unless the cause is identified first, then the symptoms can worsen while it progresses.
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
November 16, 2022 at 08:52pm
I would therefore strongly reccommend making that trip to the vets - perhaps if you make them aware of your journey distance, they will try to do tests thst day if possible, or keep repeat visits to a minimum.  I'm not sure where in the world you are, but if clients are spread over a long distance eg in the states, some vets may be happy with  teleconferencing for the initial consultation.  As ever, if it may be an emergency or if your dog is changing fast, most vets will offer some kind of triage system to determine how urgently you need to be seen.  I hope that something here is helpful.
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
November 16, 2022 at 11:52pm
I dislike giving long answers.  For summary / clarity 1) it could be linked to many disease including allergy, parasites (including demodex), autoimmune disease, cancer, endocrine, infection and so on.   2) Tests may be needed to decide between some of the options (as the treatments are all different) so this is one for your vets.   3) good luck - and please keep us informed if you can bear to.
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