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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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Mutt

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Open Wound

My dog has an open sore. It's hard and raw and is a bit open but it is not red. It's on his left back thigh/ butt

Aug. 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, This may be a hot spot. It would be best to clip the hair away from this area and wash it with soap and water. After your dog dries, put triple antibiotic cream to help it heal. If this area does not get better in a day or two, it would be best to see your vet, they can start your dog on oral medication to help.

Aug. 16, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

I just noticed this on the back of my dog! Can you tell me what this is?

Aug. 11, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That looks like an infected area of skin, though it is difficult to say for sure without being able to see your dog. Those infections can get worse quickly, especially in dogs with thick hair coats, and having your dog seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible would be a good idea. I hope that all goes well!

Aug. 11, 2020

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Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

Five Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Itchy

The red lump was originally a scab and didn’t seem to bother him. I just today noticed its no longer a scab and looks like a red skin like bump and he wont stop trying to lick it

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Dogs can get growths that are benign, or they can be cancerous. If he will not stop licking at the lump, he may make it infected or cause it to worsen. Since this is a new lump and he is bothering with it, it would probably be a good idea to have a veterinarian examine him to see what it might be, and they can let you know if it needs to be removed or if it is okay to monitor it. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 4, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

Big red spot with no hair.

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There are many possible causes for this spot on your dog. There could be a parasite, a bacterial or fungal infection, or a mite. If this is something new that you have noticed, and it does not seem to be getting better, it would probably be best to have your dog seen by your veterinarian, as they can actually examine him and see what is causing this problem. Once they know more they will be able to let you know what sort of treatment options are available. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

My dog seems to have a pressure sore on his tail from sitting on it. Can i treat it with calmazine?

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If it is not infected, you can try putting the calmazine on as long as your dog does not lick it off. That is the problem with most appointments on dogs, and we often have to use oral medications or injectables so that they cannot lick them. If it looks like it is infected, it may need antibiotics, and it would be best to have him seen by your veterinarian. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 2, 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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0 found helpful

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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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0 found helpful

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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

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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

Nutramax Welactin Omega-3 Supplement

For dogs with dry skin

Shop now
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