Ask A Vet: Fixing Doggie Skin Problems


Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on They've enlisted their Co-President, Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, to answer your questions every week. Got a question for Dr. Scarlett? Ask away in the comments!






Q: My Maltipoo is six years old and in the last 6 weeks has developed brown spots/pigmentation all over his pink skin. Should I be concerned about the change? What could cause this?

A: The bit about the pink skin may be the clue to crack this case.  If you dog’s skin is pink it may indicate inflammation. Allergies are the usual suspect - chronic skin inflammation can lead to dark patches of thickened skin known as lichenification—which means becoming wood-like. If this is likely to be the case, you’ll need to figure out what is causing the allergic reaction.  Could be food or some environmental change. There are lots of commercial foods available for dogs that are sensitive to grains or certain proteins.

Talk to your vet about how to determine what might be causing the allergic sensitivity. If the skin is otherwise normal, no itching, pustules, hair loss this might just be a common and normal condition seen in Maltese and other white haired dogs.  Ok, no medical advice column would be complete without the qualifier--that there are some potentially serious metabolic conditions that can result in abnormal areas on the skin and you should see your vet if your if the lesions are raised, ulcerated, tender or if your pup is feeling ill.
Give us a call if you want to make an appointment with one of our vets to take a look 415-554-3030.

While we can’t answer all of the questions here, please feel free to ask us during our Friday Twitter Ask the Vet Chat.  If your animal’s problem is of an immediate nature, please call your vet or you can reach the SF SPCA at 415-554-3030 to make an appointment.

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