A dog's owner does not want to see a rash on the dog's stomach when it rolls over for a good belly-rub. Aside from the fact that the rash indicates something is wrong, a rash on a dog's stomach can be extremely painful and itchy. Should the canine scratch the area too much, it will cause further damage, and possibly infection, of the skin. Taking the dog to the vet at the first signs of a stomach rash is crucial in treating it.
Contact dermatitis has two sources: allergies or irritants. Allergic contact dermatitis is rare, and occurs when a dog is actually allergic to its surrounding environment. Irritant contact dermatitis is far more common, and can be the result of the pooch coming in contact with something such as poison ivy or certain tree saps. Symptoms of contact dermatitis include lesions - small, red bumps and blisters - and itchiness on the stomach, paws, and mouth area, including the lips. Patch tests are usually performed to determine the cause of the allergy or irritant behind the contact dermatitis. Removing the irritant from the dog's environment is key to treating its resulting rash.
Sarcoptic mange is also known as scabies and causes a rash on a dog's stomach, earflaps and elbows. Sarcoptic mange is caused by the Sarcoptes scabei mite. The severe itching, redness and scaly irritation that accompanies sarcoptic mange is because the female mites burrow under the dog's skin to lay their eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae also move about the dog's skin, developing into adults and laying more eggs. Sarcoptic mange is difficult to diagnose, and usually skin scrapings to identify the presence of mites are not conclusive because the dog might have scratched the mites away. In most cases, Mar Vista Animal Medical Centre explains, veterinarians will conduct "Maybe Mange" testing, treating sarcoptic mange for two to four weeks with commonly prescribed medications. If the mange begins to clear up, the dog's stomach rash was the result of sarcoptic mange.
Staphylococcal pyoderma is the official term for a skin staph infection. The staph-related rash on a dog's stomach can range in severity from crusty lesions to severe redness, itching and drainage. Unfortunately, a staph infection suggests that there is something more chronically wrong with the canine, such as allergies, hormone imbalances or parasites. Tests to determine the underlying cause of the staph infection, as well as a confirming skin biopsy, are used to diagnose the condition. Depending on the degree of the infection and its underlying cause, treatments range from antibiotics to steroids. Sometimes a vaccine designed to build up the dog's immunity to the allergen causing the staph infection can be prescribed too.