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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32720
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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I have Bishon Frise and he has black scabs on the inside flaps

Customer Question

I have Bishon Frise and he has black scabs on the inside flaps of his ears and they are sensitive to touch. Both ears same scabs
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
Can you tell me, please, if Buster's ear margins are affected as well or are the black scabs restricted to the flat inferior side of his pinnae (ear flaps)?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Only on the same spot on each pinnea

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information, Nicole. When a symmetrical inflammation on the inferior surface of the pinna is seen, we should have a high suspicion for autoimmune skin disease such as the pemphigus complex. Autoimmune skin disease describes Buster's immune system becoming upregulated (overactive) and attacking Buster's own tissues.

The black scabs you're seeing would constitute a crusting papular dermatitis consistent with pemphigus foliaceus. This is a steroid-responsive skin disease and so as long as Buster's scabbing is mild, you can see what a steroid-containing cream or gel such as an over the counter hydrocortisone cream or gel applied twice daily to the affected areas does for Buster.

Buster's vet has more potent creams of this type and if you want confirmation of the diagnosis sooner than later, his vet will need to biopsy affected skin and send the biopsy to his pathologist. Can you upload a close up photo of Buster's ear(s) to our conversation? You can do so by using the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (not if you're using the chrome browser) or by using an external app such as or I can be more accurate if I can see what you're seeing.

Please continue our conversation if you wish.