It may come as a surprise to many owners, but pet skin problems are among the top reasons pets are brought in to see us. Our furry family members tend to experience a wide array of conditions that can manifest in the skin, including allergic response to pollens, molds, and even food.
Parasites cause everything from mange to chronic anxiety issues, and you might be shocked to learn that our four-legged friends often experience skin problems due to a number of different illnesses and conditions. That’s why veterinary dermatology is so important to the health and well-being of cats and dogs alike.
Pet Skin Problems: More Common Than You Might Think
When it comes to itchiness and other skin woes, spring often signals the busiest time of year. This is because seasonal allergies in pets produce symptoms like persistent scratching, skin and ear inflammation, biting at paws, and other skin-related signs of discomfort.
Atopy, or skin problems associated with environmental allergens, is present in an estimated 10-30 percent of dogs (increased likelihood for those who have existing food allergies).
Parasites are another cause for concern. Fleas, although sometimes invisible to the naked eye, can cause a type of allergic dermatitis due to a protein in their saliva that creates a reaction in some animals. Mange is another skin disease that’s caused by tiny parasitic mites, resulting in hair loss, severe itching, and possible infection. An overgrowth of yeast or bacteria can also wreak havoc on skin health.
Signs your pet may be experiencing one of these skin problems include:
- Hair loss
- Foul odor
- Excessive scratching
- Biting or licking at paws or other parts of the body
- Inflamed skin or ears
- Crusting or oozing of skin
Since there are many issues that could be causing your pet’s skin problems, we encourage you to have him or her examined right away. Left untreated, skin issues can develop into more serious infections, creating a lot of discomfort for your pet.
Dermatology to the Rescue
With the help of a thorough examination and diagnostics, we can get to the bottom of your pet’s skin woes. If allergies are suspected, we offer comprehensive allergy testing and treatment here at our hospital. Depending on whether your pet’s condition is acute or chronic, a treatment plan might entail antibiotics, medicated shampoos, topical treatments, dietary changes, supplements, and/or allergy injections.
At-home care tips to help minimize your pet’s symptoms include:
- Avoid the use of all chemical-based or fragrance products in the home, as well as cigarette smoke.
- Bathe your pet a few times a month in a hypoallergenic or medicated shampoo, and use professional grooming services regularly.
- Maintain your pet’s year-round parasite protection.
- Soak your pet’s paws in warm water to soothe and reduce itchiness.
If your pet has been itchy and scratchy lately, he or she may be experiencing an allergic reaction or other skin issue. Please phone the Clairmont team to schedule an appointment for your furry friend.