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Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 9011
Experience:  13 years of experience with domestic and exotic dogs, PLEASE rate my service when satisfied.
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I have a number of problems with my westie, first he is losing

Customer Question

I have a number of problems with my westie, first he is losing hair on his backside, and on his chest with the skin going black and very thick almost like elephants skin. We have tried different skin shampoos and 6 months ago he underwent a course of anti biotics and steroids.

Secondly his claws are overgrown I have tried clipping him but the quick seems to be very close to the end of the nail.

He has also had a lump on his front right shoulder, for the last 2 years which has grown bigger, we have seen a vet but he says it does not look good as it is attached to the muscle, he inserted a needle into it but found no pus only blood came out, the dog is 9 years old, and really happy and lively I really dont want to go down the route of having him operated on as I believe it could do more harm if it is cancer. it does not bother him and he does not have any pain with it even when you put pressure on it the limp fill my hand.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Dan replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help you.

I'm sorry that your pooch is experiencing these problems. As for the lump if your vet is worried about mass then it probably should be removed. The number one cure for cancers in lump form is surgical removal. If it is cancer allowing it to remain allows it to take more nutrients from your pet as well as increase the likelihood it will spread to other parts of the body. Leaving the mass alone is likely a mistake.

As for his other symptoms hair loss, and skin thickening that does not respond well to medications is strongly suspicious for cushing's disease. This condition is a problem of excessive steroid production from the adrenal glands and is typical in this breed. I would ask your vet to test for cushings, if present it can be treated. For more information on this condition see this website:

Dr. Dan
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The symptoms for his skin complaint could this be Malassezia Dermatitis?


I have looked it up on the internet the condition of my dog is described is exactly what is on this webite:


Can you recommend a treatment?



Expert:  Dr. Dan replied 4 years ago.
This certainly can be one of the side effects, yeast and bacterial overgrowth can be secondary to the primary cause. The yeast if present can be treated but this may not be the complete problem so be prepared for relapses.

The only over the counter treatments available are antifungal creams like athletes foot or jock itch creams/sprays. If these do not work then a test to see if it's yeast or bacteria should be run at the vet. Then the appropriate antifungal or antibacterial can be used... however they are all be prescription.

Dr. Dan