The Types of Treatments for a Spot or Ulcer on a Dog's Skin

Any unusual spot should be diagnosed by a veterinarian prior to treatment.
Any unusual spot should be diagnosed by a veterinarian prior to treatment. (Image: black dog image by Stefan Andronache from

Treatment for any spots or ulcers that you find on your dog's skin will be determined by the cause of the problem. Spots or sores can be caused by parasites, infection, an injury, bug or animal bite, skin condition or disease. Once a veterinarian diagnoses the cause of the spot, they can guide you to a course of action that might include over the counter or prescription medications, topical treatments, biopsies or surgeries.

Over the Counter Treatments

For bug bites, minor scrapes, skin allergies or fungal infections that cause unusual spots, sores or ulcers on the skin, topical cortizone creams, oral antihistamines, anti-fungal creams or topical antibacterials may be appropriate. Some skin conditions also do well when treated with soothing pet shampoos using oatmeal as a main ingredient. Due to the number of problems that can cause spots or ulcers, a veterinarian will need to determine the exact cause of the abnormality prior to any treatment being administered. An anti-fungal cream will not heal a spot caused by a bacterial infection.

Precription Drugs

In some cases, when the spot or ulcer is found to be caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics and steriods may be needed to heal the skin. The specific antibiotic will be determined based on the diagnosis. If a bacterial infection is involved, you can expect that your dog will be on antibiotics for an average of seven to ten days.

Some large ulcers can be diagnosed as hot spots. Hot spots are quiet common in long haired or double coated dogs that live in warm areas of the country. Treatment for a hot spot usually entails clipping the area free from hair, application of topical drying agents and a course of antibiotics.

Biopsies and Surgery

If a spot or ulcer is considered to be pre-cancerous or cancerous or your veterinarian cannot determine its cause, your dog will undergo a biopsy to determine the exact nature of the spot. Surgery may then be performed to remove the affected area to the point where the veterinarian can determine that the margins of any pre-cancer or cancerous spots are clear and free of disease. After surgery your dog will often be placed on antibiotics while healing to prevent secondary infection. Further treatment options are totally dependent on the diagnosis of the spot. Cancers fully removed by surgery often need no further treatment.

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