Clients often follow up with Dr Carol after she has treated or recommended treatment for their pets. One such client writes:
Dr Carol – My baby girl [a Westie] has developed black crusts around her lips that I cannot seem to remove. Our local veterinarian has tried steroids and antibiotics, but the condition appears to be worsening. What can I do? What causes this?
Black crusts around the lips are actually quite common in some dog breeds, including Westies. Westies often have various skin allergies as many dogs of this breed have a genetic lack of internal immunity. This lack of immunity can lead to the development of a condition known as canine atopy.
To remove the black crusts, try applying Vitamin E oil to the affected areas. Applying the vitamin E oil two to three times daily will help soften the crusty areas. Do not attempt to pull these crusts off your dog, but instead let them heal and fall off naturally.
Be certain that you are only feeding your dog using ceramic, glass, or stainless steel water and food bowls. Seek out pet toys that are made from natural materials. Try to avoid rubber and plastic items that your dog may come into contact with, as both are potential allergens. Chances are, your dog’s mouth is coming into contact with something that she is allergic to causing the lesions that eventually result in the black crusts.
On a final note, due to the Westie’s compromised immunity, a well balanced diet and natural supplement should be considered.