Dog Nipple Bleeding

by Heather Conrad
(Copperas Cove, Texas, USA)

I have a chocolate lab puppy who will be three in a few months and I just noticed that two of her nipples have dried blood around them and I'm really not sure what to do. She does have some problems with dry skin and is always biting and scratching but I don't believe that she can reach the area where these two nipples are located.

She has been spayed and is up to date on all of her shots. If you could give me an idea of what this could be before I schedule a vet appointment I would greatly appreciate it!!

Thank you

Vet Suggestion for Bleeding around a Dog Nipple

Hello Heather,

I’m afraid that I can only make an educated guess as to what might be going on with your dog without examining her first. Since you mentioned that she has a chronic skin condition, I think there is a good chance that this ongoing problem is playing a role.

Most dogs can scratch or chew at their whole underbelly if they are itchy enough, and even if she can’t, self trauma isn’t necessary to result in the symptoms you describe. Infections and irritation can be sufficient. If your dog were my patient, I’d start with a physical exam, and unless the problem were obvious, move on to a skin scraping to look for mites, a fungal culture to rule out ringworm, and skin cytology to look for bacterial and yeast infections.

The test for ringworm can take two or three weeks to complete, so while we were waiting for those results I would treat for anything that I diagnosed with the other tests, perhaps prescribe a broad spectrum parasiticide like Revolution to deal with some of the mites that can be hard to find on skin scrapings, and pursue any other leads that I might have.

If the fungal culture came back negative and your dog was still not better, we’d have to consider additional diagnostic tests like skin biopsies, a hypoallergenic food trial, or environmental allergy testing. As is probably evident from my answer, getting to the bottom of skin problems in dogs can take time and patience.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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