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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33322
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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About a month ago my westie 10yrs old started having dark/red

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About a month ago my westie 10yrs old started having dark/red patches on her body which have spots with puss coming out. I took her to the vet and she said it was soft spots and gave me steroids and antiibotics also an injection. Its been over 2 weeks on the medication and she still has these nasty sores and seems to want to sleep alot and pants alot also wees alot. She does not seem herself. Should i take her back to the vet has she still has a few prednisolone tablets left. I really worry about her has she always suffers from skin problems. What do you think.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you. To answer your question directly, I think that we need to have a more specific diagnosis than "soft spots" before both an antibiotic and glucocorticosteroid are prescribed. Did you mean "hot spots" instead? I'm not familiar with the term "soft spots".

Chloe's panting and excessing weeing is directly related to the steroids she received. I'm concerned that these steroids are also preventing the antibiotics from clearing her skin infection because steroids are immunosuppressive - they inhibit her immune system from helping the antibiotics work.

Can you tell me, please, if Chloe is pruritic (itchy)? It's one thing to scratch and bite at oneself to the point of ulcerating and infecting the skin (causing "hot spots") which might be addressed with both antibiotics and steroids but another thing altogether for a pyoderma (bacterial skin infection) to arise in which steroids should be scrupulously avoided and antibiotics continued for a minimum of 3-4 weeks and 1 week past clinical signs.

In general, Westies have a high incidence of allergic skin disease which then can become secondarily infected. If this is the case, a low dose of steroid can be prescribed and then tapered over a couple of weeks while an antibiotic is maintained for the period of time I mentioned above or for many months in some patients. The new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib should be considered instead of steroids in these patients because that drug isn't immunosuppressive as are the steroids. Unfortunately, there's a problem keeping that drug in stock currently.

In summary, Chloe's skin condition needs to be re-evaluated either by her vet or a specialist veterinary dermatologist as can be found here:

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou for your reply Mr Salvin. Yes it was hot spots the vet said she had got. She has been scratching for sometime before these horrible sores started to appear but now it seems to be just her ears she is scratching. At first they were red large patches with small spots which were spore like and weeping. The vet shaved her fur off around the area and they really looked sore. Now after the treatment the sores are scabbing black but look horrible. Her fur is growing back and i can feel small scabs under her skin. The prednisolene tablets have to be broken in half and given every other day she has 4 tablets left do you think she should have any more?. The other tablets have all gone. I have also noticed that she breathes heavy and pants alot which worrrys me. She is eating well but then has to lie down and sleeps alot. Also noticed that she follows me everywhere has if she does not want to be on her own. She does not have that sparkle of old. I will take her back to see the vet and ask to see a dermatologist. His this contagious to humans has i have grandchildren and they play with her. Does it hurt her if i pick her up? Also she has always slept at the bottom of our bed on her blanket.


Waiting for your expert advice.


Thank you for the additional information. The prednisolone tablets need only be continued if Chloe continues to dig at herself. The scabbing will fall off and leave normal skin underneath. Her breathing as she's doing is also the result of the prednisolone and it will normalize once she's off that drug. Changes in behavior are also consistent with prednisolone usage.

I would like to get to the bottom of her skin disorder which apparently has been lifelong. As you can see, the prednisolone helps but its side effects are severe and so I'd like to find another manner in which to address her allergic dermatitis. That may be by altering her diet to a hypoallergenic one or perhaps administering that new drug I mentioned above. You don't really need a specialist for these alternatives - just a local vet who's amenable to alternative therapies for allergic dermatitis. I would never argue with Chloe seeing a specialist, however.

Please continue our conversation if you wish. I'll be away from my computer for a couple of hours but promise to reply to you as soon as I return.
Dr. Michael Salkin and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a few weeksfor an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.