Dog Skin Boils and Blisters

by Walter Stuart
(Sebring, FL)

This is an old blister

This is an old blister

Reader Question on Dog Skin Boils and Blisters

I have an 8 year old American bulldog (bo). Bo is in good health but he is overweight. About 2 years ago he started having these blisters come up on his back. At first they would just scab up without much bleeding and leave a scar where the skin would not grow back.

We have been taking him to the vet and he would give us some antibiotics that would help, but not cure the problem. It has been steadily getting worse over the last year. We tried changing his food to a gluten free formula thinking that it might be allergies but no success.

Now it is getting to the point where the dog skin blisters and boils fill with a red pus like fluid that bursts and goes everywhere. These blisters and boils do look painful and he does itch them alot by rolling on his back.

Bo does seem to lick his paw alot and I have read that this means he might have allergies. We are stuck and would like to find out what this is so we can take care of it thanks.

Vet Suggestion Dog Skin Blisters and Boils

Hi Walter,

Your dog’s skin condition sounds quite severe. I am concerned that it has been going on for so long. He must be quite uncomfortable and could be at risk for secondary skin infections.

Usually the first step in cases like these is to run a few simple diagnostic tests, like a skin scraping for mange mites, skin cytology for bacterial and yeast infections, and a fungal culture for ringworm. I do still recommend that these tests be run if they haven’t already because they are so easy and (relatively) inexpensive, but my gut feeling is that skin biopsies are going to be needed to get to the bottom of your dog’s disease.

This procedure is not as involved as many owners think. It can usually be done under light sedation and local anesthesia, and the incisions closed with just a suture or two. The samples are then sent to a veterinary pathologist for evaluation, and if he or she can’t tell you exactly what is going on, it is usually possible to at least narrow down the list of potential problems and make a recommendation for what to do next.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

Comments for Dog Skin Boils and Blisters

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 17, 2021
American bulldog blisters
by: Gary E

We have an american bulldog with blisters all over back and sides. Looks identical to those posted here.

Been to many specialists, tried many drugs.

Warm shampoo baths, gentle wiping relieves fluid in some but cannot rid her of this ongoing problem going on three years.


Hi Gary,

Here are some considerations regarding treatment options and potential causes:

1. Consult a Veterinary Dermatologist:
If you haven't already, consider seeking help from a specialist in veterinary dermatology. They have specific expertise in diagnosing and treating complex skin disorders.

2. Get a Second (or Third) Opinion:
Different vets may bring fresh perspectives to challenging cases. Don't hesitate to seek multiple opinions if you haven't found a successful treatment yet.

3. Consider an Allergy Test:
If this hasn't been done already, allergy testing could help identify whether your dog is reacting to something in her environment or food.

4. Review Diet:
Diet can sometimes play a role in skin conditions. If you haven't already, consider working with your vet to try a hypoallergenic or limited-ingredient diet to rule out food allergies or intolerances.

5. Try Immune-Modulating Medications:
If these blisters are due to an overactive immune response, certain drugs might help modulate your dog's immune system. This would be something to discuss with your vet.

I understand that this situation must be incredibly frustrating, but there are always more options to explore. Each dog is unique, and sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error to find the right approach.

Best of luck with your American Bulldog's ongoing treatment.

Editor and Publisher
Dog Health Guide

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Skin.