Dog Skin Conditions and Reverse Sneezing

Posted on February 8, 2011 under Pet Health & Safety

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a practicing veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. Today I’d like to take a chance to answer some questions from our Facebook page.

The first question is, “My dog has dark brown staining on the insides of her legs that’s been there since I adopted her. Now there’s a small dark patch developing in the middle of her belly. The skin is discolored and the fur has a strange texture. She doesn’t lick it and the area is never damp. She isn’t in pain and it doesn’t itch. What could be causing it?”

This is a great question. It’s really a common change on skin and fur of dogs and it’s generally related to moisture on the skin. Places that this can accumulate are between the toes, in facial folds, in the center of the belly where there’s a kind of belly button. The moisture, just normal moisture from your dog’s skin, can create an environment that a very non- harmful yeast organism, a fungal organism, can actually live there.

It’s cosmetic and it usually doesn’t cause a problem. If it’s itchy or if it’s bothering your dog, it could be related to something else and you might want to bring it up with your veterinarian.

This question says, “My Chihuahua reverse sneezes frequently. I know it’s not a cause for too much concern but it sure sounds awful when she’s doing it. What causes this and is there anything I can do to help her?” This is great question. If you’ve never heard a reverse sneeze, the first time you do it sure does look terrifying. The majority of the time it’s not related to any sort of problem. It doesn’t mean your dog is gasping for air and it’s not an asthma attack.

There are a couple of things that can sometimes predispose dogs to it. One is size, so smaller breed dogs tend to do it more than bigger dogs. Occasionally it can be caused by allergies, so you may find that in the spring or in the fall when there’s a lot of pollens, your pet might do this more frequently. In certain areas of the nation, nasal mites can actually cause this. Another common cause of reverse sneezing is excitement, so oftentimes feeding a treat or a meal can predispose them to having these attacks.

If this is happening suddenly and your pet has never done it before, you might want to contact your veterinarian.