A Question From A Concerned Reader

* Due to recent spam received on our forum, I have closed down the forum when we moved servers, and am in the process of rebuilding a new forum from scratch. As such, I am unable to refer a concerned reader’s question to our forum, and instead offer to post it in the main blog here. If there are any Vets or Groomers or PetLvr’s out there who have experience or knowledge with this type of problem, please help Dick out by offering some advice in the comments … – Thank-You ..// HART / PetLvr.com


Dick Mattson asks a question on our post 10 Reasons for Grooming Your Dog on a Regular Schedule

We have a problem with our dog, we been to the vet at least three times, we had the hair on her back cut down to the skin, there formed a crust next to her skin, we are treating that, but now the rest of her back from the middle of her back towards her head is doing the same thing.

The area we treated was from her tail to the middle of her back, what is causing this? Is this a cancer, she seems to be in a good mood, but this other area is there now?

Should we shave that area as it looks the same as the other area??

Anything you could advise will be very helpful.

Dick Mattson

Dick .. first of all know that I am an accountant not a vet nor am I a groomer. You should be cautious of following advice you read on the internet, especially when it involves health and safety of your family, or pets – and, especially from following advice from me! But, I do have two dogs, grew up with dogs all my life, and in the development of this blog have read many articles!

Also .. although each of the many authors, whose articles are posted in this blog, claim to be an expert in their field, never assume that their advice is always the best advice for every situation. That is why I try to post as many articles as I can to get the many different viewpoints and suggestions on the various topics within this blog, to offer a greater variety of options to consider. (For instance, every dog barks .. it’s part of their nature. An expert can suggest how to stop your dog from barking, but it won’t stop all dogs from barking. But, perhaps another expert might suggest a different method that might help stop YOUR dog from barking .. etc etc)

That being said .. I’ll start with some advice and comments from myself – and hope I can contribute to any brainstorming efforts to find out what is happening with your dog.

When you say “3 times to the vet” .. are you saying that every time you groom your dog – this happens?

I know of one dog in a friend of a friend’s family that use to do the same thing. In the hot summer, the family thought it was the best thing to do to cut their kerry blue terrier’s hair down to the skin to keep the dog cool. The only problem with that, is they had an electric shaver that wasn’t used for dogs – but quite sharp. It shaved the hair off down to the skin and burned the back of the dog. Then, all shaved, they shampooed the dog and from descriptions, I think not rinsed too well (with a hose in the back yard while dog was trying to get away). They had crusty problems with that dog. They took it to their vet, who treated it and warned that it was a grooming issue. The family never did that again, and started to use a professional groomer and never shaved the dog again.

I remember this, because it had partly influenced my wife and myself on our choice of dogs when we finally decided to get a Papillon in 1998 (because they don’t have to be groomed) when Kirby the Papillon won the Westminster Kennel Dog Best in Show that February. Papillons shed like crazy, but that’s another story.

So – if I were to offer advice? Seek another vet’s opinion and, even contact a professional groomer and wait before shaving your dog’s back – you might make things worse.

PS: .. do you have any pictures? I will update this entry with them if you send them to me. Can’t guarantee anybody will respond though!

If this is kind of a help or related to your dog’s problem, http://ThePetCenter.com has a few good articles that might be worth reading:

* Learn All About How To Groom Pets – Pet Grooming: Notes For Newcomers
* Hot Spots! Just What Are These, Anyway?

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  1. T J Dunn, DVM
    | Reply

    Hart made some good points in his post; every case is unique. You didn’t say what the veterinarian came up with as the diagnosis. What’s the cause? Sometimes, especially in the Schnauzer, there are somewhat different numbers and sizes of sebaceous (oil) glands running along the midback of the dog from tail to head. These sebaceous glands are prone to bacterial infections, rashes and crusty dryness. Various conservative means can be used to control the oily seborrhea.

    However, if in your case this skin issue started right after being groomed, Hart was right on about the potential for a “clipper burn” which may actually be microscratches from the blade leaving tiny scratches along the surface but deep enough to admit superficial bacteria. Add to the scratches irritating soap, heat from the blade, then a moist environment after rinsing, and you have a perfect setup for bacterial dermatitis to arise. Antibiotics topically and orally may be needed and sometimes for 3 to 6 weeks with the oral medication.

    In tough cases that don’t respond veterinarians can culture and test the skin bacteria for antibiotic sensitivity and even tiny skin biopsies can be taken and sent to veterinary pathologists for a microscopic analysis of the skin/hair roots.

    My advice… get a second or third opinion from other veterinarians who will do a “hands on” exam and then you may get the diagnosis. A diagnosis must be made before appropriate treatment can be given.

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