Boxer Skin Problems

by Leslie

My female boxer mix (1 year on 12/8/10) has had vaginitis since 3 months of age. They said it would go away after we got her spayed, but it has not. It's usually yellow to clear in color and has no odor.

It makes her uncomfortable because she is constantly licking; She will stop in the middle of walking or playing to sit down. In July she began to have pimples on her lower belly. Small in size (smaller than a dime) with a red outer circle and a pustule in the middle. It looks exactly like what a human would get with acne.

The vet treated her for Staph (twice a day for 30 days). Three weeks after finishing the antibiotic it came back. She was treated again with the same meds for another 30 days. This time the pimples never cleared. I then saw another vet who did a culture that came back negative and he said it was allergies. She was given a steroid (which had no effect) She takes antihistamines, fish oil, and has been on a hypoallergenic diet since august.

It is now Dec and the symptoms have gotten better but have not disappeared. It now also looks like there is dirt on her belly. Brownish-black dirt in the hair follicle right under the skin.(Again similar to when humans get black heads. Is this allergies?! What else can i do?

Editor Suggestion Boxer Skin Problems

Hi Leslie,

Of course I can’t tell you exactly what is going on with your dog without examining her, but here are a few thoughts.

If your dog has a recessed vulva (i.e., it looks small and tucked in) her chronic vaginitis is probably a result of her anatomy. If I see vaginitis in a puppy, I usually wait to spay until after she has gone through one heat cycle, which will often clear the canine vaginitis and make her anatomy more adult-like. Since she has already been spayed, weight loss if she is overweight and/or surgery to remove folds of tissue around the vulva could help.

Regarding your boxer’s skin problems, it certainly sounds like she has an underlying dermatological disorder that predisposes her to skin infections. Allergies are possible but so are some other diseases that would probably need to be ruled out through diagnostic testing like skin scrapes to look for mites, fungal cultures, skin cytology and maybe even biopsies. If you are not happy with your dog’s response to her current treatment, consider seeing a veterinary dermatologist.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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