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Redness and sores dangerously close to vulva

October 6th, 2007, 09:57 AM
I need some advice/help because my vet has not been of great assistance in this matter.

We (me and my vet) think that due to bad seasonal allergies this year, my 3-year old dog has started developing some skin lesions on her abdomen and upper, inner thighs and rear end (these cleared up quickly after shaving the hair and applying Baxedine to keep them clean) . However, she is now experiencing terrible pain and discomfort because of more lesions (2) really close to the vulva area and some mean-looking redness almost "touching" the vulva in one spot. Cold water compresses help, and I have been applying Polysporin as close as I can, very carefully, because Polysporin accidentally contacting mucus membranes would sting but I know that it's important to prevent infection and hopefully speed healing. So far one lesion looks like it's crusting over and drying/clearing up, but one newer lesion has a very pink central area plus there is some very red skin near the vulva. She is suffering terribly at times (crying, licking the air, rubbing the area on the floor) and I don't know what else I can do. At least she can't reach the area with her mouth or paws to irritate it further.

These two lesions in her genital area appeared about 2 weeks ago and looked very "mild" at the onset; they were pinkish, 1/4 inch roundish areas (hidden under her fur) that looked like an innocent pimple or bump but spread larger to about 1/2 inch after a few days and became irregular "patches". She was constantly sitting down so I thought that perhaps her anal gland was the problem. The vet confirmed it was not, and after seeing the developing small pink areas around her vulva, she wanted to give antibiotics and cortisone. I did accept a cortisone spray (applied topically for 7 days only) but I refused the oral medications because these will weaken and confuse her immune system further since she is experiencing allergies which are probably causing all of these skin lesions. Also, I have been able to keep the area quite clean with Baxedin and I have been using the Polysporin so no infection seems to have developed. Every day I soak her affected areas and itchy paws at least once in water with some baking soda added (I have tried oatmeal water too). It seems to help a lot.

I am trying to find a vet who will see her today because I wonder if this may actually be something other than a result of an allergic reaction to pollen, but I suspect they will again try to get us to administer worthless antibiotics (she doesn't have infection!!!) and cortisone which causes thyroid issues. There has never been any visible oozing pus, so I don't think these are "hotspots" from what I have been reading. Also, it seems that hotspots are quite large (book said they start at one inch and grow) and her largest lesion area is irregular and about 1/2 inch.

My questions are these:

1) Does anyone have some good suggestions to alleviate her suffering? I believe it's an itching/burning sensation. Please keep in mind the delicate skin area near the mucous membranes. I tried a homeopathic cream with apis to numb the skin but she literally screamed...I am now just using cold water when she has an "episode". I am thinking about an anti-itch cream that a woman might use in that area but would it be safe?

2) Has anyone seen this before? Do you all think that it truly is allergy-related or something else? (I don't use harsh detergents and chemicals in the house, she doesn't have fleas or any known food allergies, she does get an occasional wasp bite; I am sure that administering an anti-inflammatory and antibiotics after a dog bite 2 months ago didn't help her immune system, not to mention her heartworm prevention which I have now stopped for the rest of the year. We do go for regular walks in a forest...maybe something there?)

Any help and suggestions are appreciated!!!

October 6th, 2007, 10:23 AM
I'm sorry your puppy is suffering so much.

I don't have much in the way of suggesting how to alleviate her, but have you tried a second opinion? What does your vet say about the new lesion? There must be something they can give her to ease the pain.

October 6th, 2007, 10:46 AM
I have heard that global warming is making some allergies worse.
That being said, have you looked at food allergies? I've learned that even a dog that has not exhibited food allergies before can develop them.
Did the vet ever take a scraping of the area or do some other test to confirm his theory or exclude other possibilities?
I understand why you don't want to load your dog up with drugs, but at the same time a round of antibiotics would give you more information than you have now. And it may give him some relief.

October 6th, 2007, 11:09 AM
Really don't think it's food allergies since we haven't changed her food (she eats some holistic dry mixed with plain cooked chicken or beef or lamb, and a bit of veggies). The vet did examine some skin scrapings under a microscope and said there was nothing abnormal but these were of the lesions on her abdomen and what is really bugging her (us) now are the lesions near the vulva which may not be the same. She has really been going nuts in this last hour, regardless of cool water applications. It's worse than ever. We are going to see a vet in an hour for yet another opinion and hopefully some useful advice but we have a feeling she will just stick to the antibiotics/cortisone prescriptions. As I have read in books and on this and other websites, antibiotics are to be avoided if there is no infection because this can lead to other problems (yeast infections, etc) and a vicious cycle develops, especially in a dog with allergies. As for the cortisone, it can't be used very long because it has side effects (we don't want more problems), plus the benefits are short-lived. The problem usually comes back.

It'll all clear as soon as it gets cold outside if this truly is allergy-related (can't wait for winter!!!) but in the meantime we have to find a preferably drug-free way to ease her discomfort......

October 6th, 2007, 11:20 AM
Good luck with the vet. Please keep us informed.

If its not food allergies, I wonder if perhaps it could be some allergy to maybe something she's sleeping on or sitting on? Does she sleep on a doggy bed that you have been washing with something different? Has she come into contact with another animal? Are there any bugs around that might have bitten her?

October 6th, 2007, 11:42 AM
"Really don't think it's food allergies since we haven't changed her food (she eats some holistic dry mixed with plain cooked chicken or beef or lamb, and a bit of veggies). "

I don't think you can rule out food allergies because you haven't changed the food - both my dogs developed food allergies after an extended period of time on one food - they now get frequent changes of food and lamb was one of the culprits!

October 6th, 2007, 02:21 PM
Just came back from the vet. There is no yeast infection or parasites (yay!:thumbs up). The sores really seem to be allergy-related and we already knew that the timing is right for seasonal allergies (small lesions on the abdomen started appearing in late July). The redness close to the vulva could be just the allergies or the result of a possible urinary infection (although she is not showing the regular signs of an infection) so to rule that out I will have to try to get a urine sample on Tuesday for analysis (this is a long holiday weekend in Canada). The vet prescribed something called Surolan (a mix of miconazole nitrate, polymyxin B, and prednisolone acetate). Not exactly chamomile and oatmeal, I know, but we had to stop her suffering ASAP! It is a topical antifungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory for cats and dogs, usually used for ear infections but also very effective for the sensitive genital areas. We must apply this twice a day for 10 days. Obviously this is not a cure for allergies or allergy-related skin issues, but I will bake the vet a cake if this can at least keep Jessy comfortable until the allergy season is over in a few weeks. For the "bigger picture" of seasonal allergies which caused this skin problem, we are working hard at normalizing her immune system with natural vitamin powder and about 1000 mg per day of Udo's Choice oil from capsules; this is a mix of oils that will help her system to cool its reaction to allergens (omega 3 and 6 from fish, plus flax, primrose, and several others). The oils will also help her itching but it's only been 10 days and these treatments take time to kick in. I've heard that some dogs are quite allergic to flax, and as some of you have mentioned, she might have an additional food allergy but I will know more when the pollen season has ended. However, she was not itchy in the winter or May, June, and most of July; just the early spring and the late summer/fall, and this was the pattern last year too. But it was never this bad, and I really think the meds she took after the dog bite early August confused her system. We intend to consult a homeopathic vet in a few weeks who can help prevent this reaction from being so strong next year, since there is no cure for allergies.

These allergy issues are really terrible, aren't they?-because it could be food, pollen, mold, bacteria in the water when she swims in the lake, fabric softener, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! It takes time and patience to do the process of elimination and try to find the culprit(s). I am trying to have patience.......:pray:

Thanks for all your comments and suggestions; I will indeed keep an eye out for a possible food connection or other. For now, at least she's resting and comfortable so I can breathe and maybe get some sleep tonite!!! :sleepy:

October 6th, 2007, 02:37 PM
At least she's getting some kind of relief, so that's great.

October 6th, 2007, 06:27 PM
My dog has had the Surolan for his ears and it was very quick acting...Hope your baby is okay.


October 10th, 2007, 09:51 PM
The mystery yeast infection (vaginitis), no urinary infection, no abnormal bacteria on the skin, anal glands OK, and the Surolan has done a great job of clearing up the small sores and redness but she is still whimpering at times and dragging her "privates" on the floor. My guess is that she has itching (and maybe burning) related to her seasonal allergies; hopefully this will clear up when the weather cools. If it does, then the mystery is solved....but I hate that there's nothing we seem to be able to do to help her when she's having "an episode" (:yell: ) except apply a cool water compress to alleviate the discomfort.

If this continues and it's not the result of allergies, what could be irritating her genital area so much? Ideas are welcome.... (she is 3 years old and spayed, by the way).


October 10th, 2007, 10:04 PM
Did you try a steroid topical? I'm not crazy about them in the least but since we're talking very short-term, I would just as soon see my dog comfortable until the allergy season passes and not risk the possibility of an infection resulting from scratching/ opening lesions.

You might also ask your Vet about a powder called PreDef ~ it's like Goldbond for the genitals and has an antifungal, anti-bacterial component.

October 10th, 2007, 10:07 PM
Forgot to mention that you might find a frozen bag of peas better than a cold water compress (you don't want to keep the area moist !) in reducing inflammation, soothing the burning feeling and reducing the itch by numbing the surface area.

October 10th, 2007, 11:37 PM
All I can think of is something with a numbing agent in it. My son had tonsillitis so bad,they called out xylocaine to put in water for him to drink and he got instant relief. I don't know if they have a xylocaine topical agent or if you can put it on dogs because they WILL lick it. But if a vet says you can,I would try that. It numbs the area.:sick:

December 16th, 2007, 10:52 PM
The homeopathic vet said he sees it all the time and diagnosed her in under 30 seconds. He said that Sentinel (for heartworm prevention) is what is giving her the intense reaction, and now her liver is taxed and must be cleaned. He gave us some homepathic meds and within the first week she had already regained her sparkle and zest for life. It's been about 6 weeks now and she is better but not all of the lesions are gone. They take time to heal. He warned us it could a few months to completely heal the damaged liver and see the lesions disappear. We will not be able to administer heartworm meds ever again. Supposedly, Sentinel is the worst of all of them. Please be warned. We will be using a natural mosquito repellent instead and we will make sure she comes in when the mosquitoes start up in the evening.

Thanks so much for your concern and advice - it was really appreciated.


December 17th, 2007, 01:59 AM
What about that baby bum rash stuff? It might help keep the pee away from the sore spots?:shrug:

December 17th, 2007, 03:14 PM
Thankfully, there are no more lesions near the vulva anymore (an area I keep trimmed and wipe each time she comes in). The sores in that area have scabbed and flaked off. I did use a homeopathic cream to ease the pain when they were bad a few weeks ago, as I am doing right now around her anus. It's called Homeoplasmin and it doesn't sting these delicate areas. I usually do her daily brushing and then check all the "spots", disinfecting them first with a mild solution, letting that dry, and then applying the cream as the homeo-vet recommended. She almost seems to enjoy it now because it's part of our daily routine and she gets a cookie.

I do my best to alleviate her discomfort but the skin issue is a symptom of the liver problem caused by Sentinel, and will only completely clear up when her liver has healed and the toxins are completely out. It has only been about 6 weeks and I was told it could take up to 3 months. But it's encouraging to see progress! I have read some stories on this site from people who have been through all kinds of treatments and drugs and vets and money, and still their companion is sick and there are no real answers. I'm just happy that I found this great homeo-vet who has improved my dog's life and therefore our lives as well! :)