I have a 4 year old rescue who recently had emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage. When picking him up from the vet I noticed some sensitive areas on his back which I assumed were from pre-surgery shots. A week after the surgery I found he had been scratching at one of the areas and all the hair was gone and there was a raw spot. I immediately took him back to the emergency vet to have the situation evaluated. They shaved a large area of his back, gave me no diagnosis and sent me home with an anti-inflammatory and a spray to soothe the area. At this point the area was really red and irritated. After a few days we noticed some of the skin was hardening and nothing was really better. We took him back to our regular vet to have this checked. Was very shocked to hear that the skin that was hardening was now dead and would have to be removed (which is being done today) and we may have to have skin grafts done if the area does not heal properly. Was wondering if anyone knew what may have caused this. We thought at first it may have been a burn but have since ruled this out. He has been on cephalexin for over a week and the cultures have come back negative for bacteria but obviously something was going on before the antibiotics kicked in. I have pictures I could provide to show the progression. I just want to figure out what could have caused this. He was perfectly fine before the blockage surgery and unless he had a reaction to some medication or something that should not have caused his current problem. I am desperately looking for some direction to find the cause of this!
The skin that is removed today must be sent in for biopsy in order to establish the cause for the dead skin; potential reasons are thermal burn (heating pad, prolonged sun exposure) or interruption of the blood supply to the area (vasculitis, infarct/clot). (sometimes blood clots can occur during anesthesia). Make sure that the veterinarian asks for a dermatopathology consult on the biopsy to get the most information. Depending on biopsy results, further treatment or consultation with a veterinary dermatologist may be needed.
Kimberly Coyner, DVM DACVD
Dermatology Clinic for Animals of Las Vegas
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