Ask Nancy: Red Spots!

There you are innocently giving your dog a tummy rub when you see red spots on that wiggling belly! What on earth could these spots be? There are a number of possibilities and I’ll list some common ones here.

Those spots might be from ringworm which you can read about here: Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin and can be passed back and forth between animals and between animals and humans. Anti fungal medications can work to clear this infection up though it can be a slow process. A frequent source for this infection is a child, or a new kitten, but the spores for this infection are found almost everywhere.

Those spots might also be from a tick carried disease such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.  Your vet can run a blood test to check for tick carried diseases. Often they do this at the same time the test for heartworm disease is run. Antibiotics can clear up the infection and limit damage done to the system.  You can read about tick diseases here:

Depending on where you live, this time of year those red abdominal spots can be due to black flies or other biting insects. The annoying black fly type springtime insects are called other names in different areas such as gnats, no-see-ums, midges, punkie etc. Their bites leave a red mark on a dog’s skin like a drop of blood staining the skin. The marks are most commonly seen on the abdomen or in areas where there is less fur. If your dog reacts to the bite there may also be a skin welt.

One more possibility is mange mite infection. These skin parasites can cause redness and irritation of the skin in a patchy manner. Usually when this infection is seen along the abdomen it is contagious also called sarcoptic mange and you can read about this here: but it might also be non contagious or demodectic mange too

If these spots look more like bruising sometimes a problem with blood clotting will show as that along the abdomen. If your dog might have gotten into a toxin or a rodent bait that could be the issue too. Blood clotting issues can also go along with tick carried diseases so bruising along the abdomen is something to check into when found.

If you can’t tell what the spot is, or it seems like the area is bruised, your best choice may be to have your vet look at your dog to determine just what is going on to plan a course of treatment, if any is needed.


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