Sun, Nov 26, 2023

I noticed a small scab on his back leg one day, and I thought he must have scratched it on something. It looked like it had healed and scabbed over, and a small line of hair was missing. I kept an eye on it and assumed it was always a scab. A few weeks later, it started to look very dry, patchy and yellowish in color. The hair is still missing and I think it has grown slightly in size.

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Dr. Miller

The symptoms you've described—a scab on the back leg that appeared to heal but then became dry, patchy, yellowish, and has grown slightly in size, accompanied by hair loss—could be indicative of several underlying issues.

One possibility is a bacterial or fungal infection, which can cause skin irritation and scabbing. These infections can worsen over time if not treated, leading to the changes you've observed. Another potential cause is a skin allergy, which might be due to environmental allergens, food, or contact with irritants. Allergies can cause persistent itching, leading to self-trauma and secondary infections.

Parasitic infestations, such as mites or fleas, could also be responsible. Even without a history of flea and tick preventatives, these parasites can cause intense itching and subsequent hair loss and scabbing. Additionally, an underlying endocrine disorder, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease, might manifest with skin changes, although these are usually accompanied by other systemic signs.

At home, you can take several steps to monitor and potentially alleviate your dog's discomfort:

Keep the affected area clean. Gently clean the area with a mild antiseptic solution to prevent further infection. Avoid using any harsh chemicals or irritants.

And prevent your dog from licking or scratching the lesion. Consider using an Elizabethan collar or protective clothing to prevent self-trauma, which can exacerbate the condition.

If the lesion continues to grow, becomes more irritated, or if you notice any of the following, it would be prudent to seek veterinary attention promptly:

- Signs of infection, such as pus, a foul odor, or increased redness and warmth around the area.
- Behavioral changes, like increased lethargy, loss of appetite, or aggression when the area is touched.
- The appearance of additional lesions or a significant increase in hair loss.
- Any signs of systemic illness, including vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive thirst and urination.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to come back to us! Thank you.