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What are Skin Ulcers?

If your dog has an open sore that is oozing pus, it is likely that he or she is suffering from a skin ulcer. These lesions usually indicate injury, infection, or disease and require an examination by a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause. Treatment and prognosis varies depending on the source of the ulcer, though the ulcer itself should heal within a few weeks if kept clean and pressure free.

A skin ulcer is a deep lesion that can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from bug bites to cancer. Though the ulcer itself is not life-threatening, you should have a veterinarian examine your dog for underlying conditions, as skin ulcers are typically a sign of infection or disease.

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Skin Ulcers Average Cost

From 258 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Skin Ulcers in Dogs

A skin ulcer is visible as a lesion that is oozing or leaking. These sores can occur anywhere on the body and are typically accompanied by depigmentation or hair loss, as well as inflammation or redness around the wound. Your dog may exhibit different symptoms depending on the cause of the ulcer, including lethargy, loss of appetite, pain, and depression.

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Causes of Skin Ulcers in Dogs

Skin ulcers are lesions that affect deeper layers of the skin and result when the upper layer is compromised. These are a symptom of many different conditions and may occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Adverse reactions to bug bites or to drugs
  • Trauma or burns
  • Fungal infection, such as blastomycosis or cryptococcosis
  • Bacterial infection
  • Nutritional disorders
  • Cancer, such as lymphoma and basal cell tumors
  • Parasitic disorders, including mange
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as pemphigus
  • Congenital disorders – the skin is abnormal at birth, in which case the abnormality may or may not be inherited
  • Metabolic disorders

Some breeds may be more susceptible to certain causes for skin ulcers, whether due to genetics, age, physical characteristics, or environment, though all dogs are at risk of developing these lesions over the course of their lives.

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Diagnosis of Skin Ulcers in Dogs

If you notice a lesion on your dog’s skin, bring your dog in to a veterinarian for a thorough examination. Be prepared to provide a history, including your dog’s recent activity, places you may have visited, and any additional signs or behaviors that are out of the ordinary.

As part of this examination, the veterinarian may conduct blood tests, take cultures of any fluids to identify the infection, and perform a biopsy of the affected skin. This helps determine the cause of the ulcer and discover any other conditions. Depending on the results, the veterinarian may recommend further tests, such as x-rays, ultrasounds, or urinalysis, which will reveal more information regarding the root cause of your dog’s skin ulcers and show the extent of the condition. This allows the veterinarian to determine the best course of action and prescribe treatment accordingly.

Monitor your dog carefully throughout this process. Even if your dog does not initially exhibit unusual signs beyond the ulcer, further symptoms may still develop over time. Alert the veterinarian immediately if you notice any changes.

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Treatment of Skin Ulcers in Dogs

Treatment varies widely according to the cause of the skin ulcer. Most lesions can be successfully treated at home, though the veterinarian may recommend hospitalization, depending on the underlying condition. In all cases, the ulcerated skin must be kept clean and free of pressure. The wound should be kept moist, as this allows sufficient blood to reach the area and enhances the healing process. You may want to ask the veterinarian about hydroactive wound dressings, which mold to the sore and keep the area moist without additional intervention.

If the lesion is the result of fungal or bacterial organisms, the veterinarian will prescribe medication to fight the infection. Any other conditions, such as cancer or burns, will need to be treated according to the veterinarian’s directions.

Treatment will need to be administered for several weeks as the wound slowly heals. During this time, you should monitor your dog for additional symptoms and to ensure that the skin ulcer is closing.

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Recovery of Skin Ulcers in Dogs

The recovery process may take several weeks to several months, depending on the underlying condition. Prevent your dog from biting or licking the wound, and do not allow your dog to swim, as this may lead to infection. If necessary, remove any dead tissue from the wound as it collects to stop it from interfering with the healing process.

You may need to bring your dog in to the veterinarian for a follow-up exam to check how well the lesion is healing, as well as to monitor any underlying conditions. The ulcer itself should heal within a few weeks with proper care, though the overall prognosis varies according to the extent of the disease.

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Cost of Skin Ulcers in Dogs

The treatment for a skin ulcer depends on the cause. However, most skin ulcers can be treated at home after consulting with a veterinarian. It’s important to keep the area clean to avoid infection. A soap made for sensitive skin, such as Cetaphil can be bought at most drug stores and can cost $3 per bar on average. The veterinarian may want you to use an ointment or cream to keep the area moist. Depending on the type of skin ulcer your dog has, an ointment or a cream may not be enough and may cause pain when applied. Check with your veterinarian about a skin care spray (such as Vetericyn) that can assist the healing process; keep it clean and avoid additional pain to the area. Vetericyn costs between $25 and $45 per bottle. The veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to help treat the skin ulcer if the cause is fungal or bacterial. Antibiotics usually cost between $15 and $45. The total cost of the above supplies is between $38 and $63. The total cost and treatment plan will vary greatly if the cause is cancer or a burn.

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Skin Ulcers Average Cost

From 258 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

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Skin Ulcers Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hello my 1 and a half year old bully has had some sort of red swollen sore on is right leg that has been there for about 2 month I asked a mobile vet when he looked at it and said it was a common ulcer I think it a a infected ulcer from when he got out of his cage a while back but am unsure u have caught him and my other Bully licking at it and I am worried if it is something infected it could spread to my other dogs so any advice is greatly appreciated.

today

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

I'm sorry to hear this. Without seeing it, it is hard hard comment accurately. It isn't normal for a dog to have a chronic skin lesion or ulcer and he needs vets treatment. It may be an acral lick granuloma from excessive licking or a decubitus ulcer from laying on a hard surface. A secondary infection could cause ooze and redness and requires a course of antibiotics. I do hope this helps.

today

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Pit Bull

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

My dog has some sort of sore on her back paw. How can I treat this?

Jan. 31, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Hello, You can clean this with chlorhexidine solution that you can get from the human drug store. Then apply triple antibiotic ointment. Try to keep your dog from licking this area. This may mean that he needs to wear a cone of shame while it heals.

Feb. 12, 2021

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Yorkshire Terrier

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Seventeen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

My dog has these pimple like bumps growing on her and one on her front paw is bothering her to wear she is licking so much it’s bleeding what should I do

Dec. 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello these may be warty growths. They are very common in yorkies and poodles. You vet can remove the ones that are causing issues. This could also be something more seizures since there is not a picture, it is hard to tell for sure

Dec. 22, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Sore on chest that hasn’t healed approximately 1 month duration. Scab stuck in hair over the sore. As seen in the picture there is dark discoloration and a red ulcerated area. The white specs are sand. Not showing any symptoms, not scratching and no changes in appetite mood etc.

Nov. 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

Unfortunately no picture has attached. I would advise swabbing the lesion in case of a resistant bacterial infection. With lesions like this, we often need to sedate the dog to clip the fur, flush the wound and check for e.g. foreign bodies.

Nov. 23, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Redness

Large red spot with no hair on left hip that was not there this morning. I can’t find anything he cut it on.

Oct. 17, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. From your picture, it seems that may be an area of infection, fungal disease, or self trauma. You can try keeping the area clean with a chlorhexidine wash like hibiclens for a day or two oh, and if it is not getting better after that, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian.

Oct. 18, 2020

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Bain

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Pit bull

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6 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Redness
Swelling
Tires Easily

Our family dog has somewhat a type of skin ailment on his genitals. It started out looking like he poked himself with something in the yard but now the size of the redness has increased. He constantly licks it so it looks raw like some fungal sore that's now turned yellow with white spots. He seems to be in pain.

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Zoey

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Cocker Spaniel

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethary, Loss Of Appetite

My dog Zoey, a 6 year old Cocker Spaniel has some kind of scab/lesion on the top of her head. It has been there on and off for about 18 months. It doesn’t seem to bother her much most of the time, but when the lesion breaks open(we have no idea what causes this either) her head becomes very sensitive. In the last few weeks she has become very lethargic and never even wants to go outside for her walks. I have also noticed that she has had much less of an appetite. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Oliver

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Terrier mix

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12 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Raw Skin, Scabs

My dog has an autoimmune diagnosis after a biopsy of the tissue around his eyes. The skin won't heal. He has horrible scabs and raw skin around his eyes. I have tried everything including 5 different vets, steroids, grain free food, antibiotics, allergy shot, cone of shame. We almost had it healed after laser treatments twice a week for months (I had to stop that because of the 45 min drive & cost)

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Kaka

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Samoyed huskey

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Bloody
Torn Skin

I just got my dog off a woman who was selling him he is Beautifil and playful but I was giving him a belly rub one day (a month after I got him) and I found he had a lump on the side of his penis he has long hair and when he pees it dries and clumps to the hair around but when I looked it was an open wound with black muck all over it so I trimmed the hair around the area and cleaned it up best that I could, he doesn’t seem bothered by it at all and it’s not pussing it’s just a open wound, any ideas at to what it could be?

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Bear

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Rottweiler

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10 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Foul Smell And Puss Discharge

Pus, horrible odor, tumorlike in the upper belly area. He has full panel bloodwork late last year that stated he had anemia and prescribed him prednisone for inflammation

Skin Ulcers Average Cost

From 258 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

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