For about the past week my 3 year old German Shepherd, Bella, has been excessively licking her belly.
In the beginning there was just a discolored spot, roughly the size of a US half dollar coin. Now the color seems to be getting darker and there are small blisters that look like sores starting to appear. So, this is not spreading, but it is showing signs of getting worse. Put simply, I need to take some sort of action.
Normally, I'd immediately shoot over to my vet that has been my vet for about 20 years. But, I just moved to New York City and my vet is almost 100 miles away and my car is almost just as far. I did email some pictures to my vet and I'm praying for a speedy response. Until then, I figured I'd take doing some research into my own hands.
I've attached some pictures and have done a little research on the web. One of the first things I've read was that German Shepherds are predisposed to skin problems, great *sarcasm*.
So, since I'm not a vet, I've been trying to compare pictures on the internet to what I see on my dog to try to get a better understanding of whats going on.
Throughout my research process, a few things strike me as a possible culprit:
A) Ringworm - which i am dreading if this turns out to be the case, but I do give her a preventative named "Interceptor Plus" monthly.
A little about Interceptor plus from their website:
"Interceptorģ Plus (milbemycin oxime/praziquantel) is the chewable tablet flavored with real chicken that prevents heartworm disease and treats and controls adult hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and tapeworm infections* in dogs and puppies 2 pounds of body weight or greater and 6 weeks of age and older.
*Heartworm (D. immitis), hookworm (A. caninum), roundworm (T. canis, T. leonina), whipworm (T. vulpis) and tapeworm (T. pisiformis, E. multilocularis, E. granulosus and D. caninum)"
So I'm assuming this does not protect against ringworm and the patch is kind of shiny/circular. Although, it is more of a patchy spot than a "ring".
B) Fleas - because my dog has been licking this spot, possibly the licking can be because of itchiness, which can be caused by fleas. The color and spot pattern seems to match up fairly accurately. But, I do not see any bumps/sores in the flea pictures on the internet.
C) Acral Lick Granuloma - this is a possibility because she is excessively licking the spot, the color matches up fairly similar and it is more patchy, rather than being a perfect circle like ringworm examples I've found.
D) Hot spots- I was thinking that this could potentially be a bad case of hot spots, but that might seem a little far fetched due to the color and the bumps.
A little more information:
1) There is only one circle on her belly. This has not spread to other parts of her body.
2) She is licking herself in this spot more than usual, but it hasn't become constantly licking. I'd say she licks this spot about 2-4 times a day. Until I noticed the patchy spot and then the sores, I did not think anything of it.
3) The weather has been extremely cold around here recently.
4) I just moved to NYC to attend a new college and its hard to tell whether this started before or after the move. But, maybe her new environment plays a role in all of this.
It may seem like I've been neglecting the issue, but I'm very reluctant to take my dog anywhere besides her primary vet. I've had very bad experiences with vets in the past (before I found my primary vet) and I've heard about many bad experiences with vets. I also do not want to be taken advantage of due to the fact that I'm a 23 year old college student. To arrange a ride back to my primary vet, it would probably take me a day or two, but I do not want to see my dog uncomfortable for that long and I want to take action immediately if this is urgent because this looks nasty.
Thank you for your time and input. I'm looking forward to becoming a part of this community.
Attached are two pictures, one shows a close up and the other shows the size of the patch relative to her stomach. I apologize for the poor quality, but she will not let me get a good picture.