My dog has a bump and his front leg on the front of it. It looks like all of the hair is gone and is going up his leg. First it turns pink and when it "heals" it turns shiney with no hair. The vet gave him antibiotics and medicine to put on it to stop the ich. Any idea what this could be.
The most common reason for an itchy hairless lump on the front of the leg would be a lick granuloma with bacterial infection. Less common causes would be fungal skin infection or a tumor or cyst. Lick granulomas form secondary to repeated licking, and the licking is often due to underlying allergies (food or pollen/dust). Prior trauma, boredom, anxiety, and underlying bone pain can also predispose a dog to lick, but I find most lick granulomas to be multifactorial. It is important to 1. identify and treat the underlying cause (ie. hypoallergenic diet trial for possible food allergy +/- referrral to a veterinary dermatologist for allergy skin testing for pollen/dust allergies), 2. treat secondary deep bacterial infection with 1-3 months of oral antibiotics (sometimes bacterial cultures are required to find the right antibiotic), and 3. stop licking to prevent further self trauma (sometimes topical medications to stop itch are helpful, many dogs require bandaging or an elizabethan collar to prevent licking, and some dogs benefit from oral medication to reduce anxiety related licking). If your dog continues to have problems despite antibiotics and topical medications, then your veterinarian can help you go further diagnostically or refer you to a veterinary dermatologist to treat this often difficult and frustrating disorder.
Kimberly Coyner, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Dermatology
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