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Question
Hi Dr. Gotthelf,

I have a 5-year old Cairn Terrier. He has quite oily fur (gets oily after 3-4 weeks after washing) and is an indoor dog. However, I live in Washington state, so it tends to be rainy/damp, so he gets dirty quite quickly.

The main thing is that he has these white specks on his fur that looks like dandruff. It's mostly on his back, not on the sides. If I part his fur, there's also some red patches of skin. I'm not quite sure what this is. Can you help diagnose this problem? Thanks! He also scratches himself from time to time.

- Jeff

Answer
When there is flaky skin and the skin is red, that is often a bacterial (Staph) infection.  These infections cause vesicles to form, like when you get a burn.  The skin eventually opens and the pus is released leaving a reddened, superficial ulcerated area.  The flakes are composed of dry skin and dry pus.  Ask your veterinarian to see if your dog needs an antibiotic or an antimicrobial shampoo that will help.

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf

Expertise

Dermatology and ear diseases of dogs and cats

Experience

I am the author of "Small Animal Ear Diseases; An Illustrated Guide" published by W.B. Saunders. I have over 25 years of clinical experience with a special interest in dermatologic conditions and ear diseases.

Organizations
American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology

Publications
Veterinary Forum
Veterinary Medicine
Waltham Focus

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