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My Lab’s Elbow Sores Won’t Heal

We recently rescued a yellow Lab that we think is about two or three years old. He is in good health except for his elbows, which constantly have open sores.

We’ve tried iodine and Neosporin, but our other Lab licks the salve off of his pal and the sores never seem to heal completely. The rescue vet originally took a quick look and said “not tumorous,” so what can we do to get them healed?

We hate to separate the two dogs, as the rescued Lab currently has a lot of separation anxiety when he’s without his friend. Thanks for any advice.

– Connie

Hello Connie,

Thank you for your inquiry and for rescuing a pet in need of a home. He is very lucky to have a caring owner like you who is looking out for his health and quality of life.

The skin on dogs’ elbows can certainly be a tricky location when it comes to healing. The fact that your dog will constantly lie down on the elbow skin makes it more susceptible to trauma, inflammation and infection. As a result, healing time is often delayed as compared to less traumatized sites on the body.

I am glad that the examining veterinarian did not feel as though the sites merited concern for neoplasia (cancer), yet chronic, non-healing lesions may need to be addressed via more means than how you are currently treating them with topical iodine and Neosporin.

Your dog may need oral medication such as an antibiotic, pain reliever, etc., or a different topical medication. Occasionally, surgery is needed to remove unhealthy tissue, collect a biopsy sample or close the site.

If your dog is having problems healing, blood testing may be in order to look for the underlying reasons why (such as hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, immune system deficiency, etc.).

Applying a warm and moist cloth (i.e., a warm compress) or a warm water spray (hydrotherapy) to the sores for 10 minutes every eight to 12 hours can promote blood flow, oxygenation and removal of unhealthy tissue and toxins.

Protecting the sores with a “sleeve”-type harness or similar device, such as that made by DogLeggs, can greatly reduce trauma.

Giving your dog a soft surface to lie on (for instance, a carpet instead of a wood floor or cement) can also provide more cushioning and less trauma.

Overall, if the sores are not healing, have your dog examined by a veterinarian to work out the best solution to the current situation.

Gook luck,
Dr. Mahaney

PHOTO: sports.espn.go.com

Dr. Mahaney

Patrick Mahaney, VMD, CVA has a thriving veterinary practice in Los Angeles. His clients respond favorably to his combination of Eastern and Western medicine, including acupuncture. In addition to making house calls, Mahaney makes himself available via social media outlets such as his blog and Twitter. He is dog dad to i Love Dogs canine ambassador Cardiff.

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December 30, 2010 By : Category : ASK A VET Skin Problems Vet Popular Topics Tags:
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