iLD Ask A Vet: Could the Sore on My Dog Be Related to Her Mobility Issues?

April 26, 2013

Courtesy of Rosalind R.

Courtesy of Rosalind R.

Through i Love Dogs (iLD) premium canine supplements I’m able to reach pet owners worldwide to answer their questions through the iLD Ask A Vet webpage. This post originally appeared on i Love Dogs as: Could the Sore on My Dog Be Related to Her Mobility Issues?

I just found a round wound matted with blood on my dog Shadow. I cut away all the hair and found a large boil-like substance that is quite flat, white and circular with a diameter of about 5 centimeters. It looks like it has burst in two places and blood has been coming out of it. It doesn’t seem to be bothering her, but I’m quite concerned about it.

I know she hasn’t been in a fight or anything, but she does have problems with her right back leg. Since she’s 13, I thought that was most likely related to old age and perhaps some arthritis, but now I’m wondering if the sore could be related? She does favor the leg, and seems to tire quickly. My vet put just her on a diet and gave her pain killers for her stiffness.

I did ask him about a lump that was there at the time, but he told me not to worry about it. I can’t recall whether this sore is in the same place as the lump. He did tell me that she may be too old to undergo X-rays to get more information about her hindquarters, as her heart may not be able to handle going under. Do you have any ideas?


Hi Rosalind,

Thank you for your question.

There are a variety of underlying reasons that could potentially cause the appearance of Shadow’s skin as you describe and photo-document, including:

  • Infection–bacteria, yeast, parasites, virus, etc.
  • Inflammation–seasonal or nonseasonal environmental allergens, hypersensitivity reaction (to an insect sting or bite, for example), food allergy, etc.
  • Trauma–penetrating injury from a stationary environmental object, bite from another animal, exposure to an irritating substance, etc.
  • Cancer

Any changes in the skin like the ones you describe are best evaluated by your veterinarian or local emergency veterinary hospital. If your regular veterinarian is currently closed and you are quite concerned, I suggest taking Shadow to an emergency veterinary facility for immediate evaluation. If you do not know of an emergency veterinary hospital in your area, you can do a quick search on Find A Vet or ask a friend, family member or neighbor for a referral.

Regarding Shadow’s right hind leg, it is definitely worthwhile doing some investigation to determine if there is an underlying change in one or more of her joints that could be consistent with arthritis, degenerative joint disease (the progression of chronic arthritis), infection, cancer or some other condition.

If she is as non-weight-bearing and quick to tire as you describe, then it is important to have your veterinarian do a thorough evaluation amd physical examination, and get some X-rays. Most dogs do not need to go under anesthesia to get X-rays; however, some dogs that are very uncomfortable or difficult to handle should be mildly or more deeply sedated. In general, we have to consider that the positioning for X-rays is often unusual for animals. Additionally, if they are in pain, then the positioning could cause them to struggle and exacerbate an already uncomfortable underlying condition.

If your dog has arthritis or is potentially prone to the condition based on her genetics or age, then having her take a chondroprotectant (supplement that promotes joint health) is a smart idea. Please consider i Love Dogs Glucosamine & Chondroitin with Green Tea and Reishi. It’s a unique product made with human-grade standards that utilizes Chinese medicine principles by incorporating Reishi mushroom, which modulates the immune system, and decaffeinated green tea, which helps reduce inflammation.

Regarding the lump, there are a variety of causes of masses on both dogs and cats, which can be cancerous or non-cancerous. Cancerous masses are either benign (non-life-threatening) or malignant (life-threatening). One means of determining the type of cells involved in a mass is to do a fine needle aspirate (a needle is attached to syringe and inserted into the mass to collect a tiny tissue or fluid sample) and cytology (microscopic evaluation of the cells). This provides you with the basic idea of what the next step should be, which may be watchful waiting or creating a plan to remove and biopsy the mass, depending on the results.

Good luck with diagnosing and treating what sounds like multiple issues affecting Shadow’s health. Please keep us updated as to her condition.

Good luck,
Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA

Ask a Vet is intended for informational purposes only. If your dog requires veterinary attention, you should take him to your vet or animal emergency clinic for an examination. Click here to find a veterinarian near you.

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Thank you for reading this article.  Your questions and comments are completely welcome (I’ll respond).

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Copyright of this article (2013) is owned by Dr Patrick Mahaney, Veterinarian and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Republishing any portion of this article must first be authorized by Dr Patrick Mahaney. Requests for republishing must be approved by Dr Patrick Mahaney and received in written format.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

TheOldBroad April 29, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Would a skin scraping be of any value?

Patrick Mahaney May 2, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Skin scraping and impression smear can give a better idea of the potential for an infectious agent (bacteria, yeast, mites, etc.) to be involved in the process.
I always like to know what I’m treating, so both tests are commonly done on my patents having “new” (non-recurrent) skin problems.
Dr. PM

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