Dog Skin Care

Skin care is not just about esthetics. Having healthy skin and a healthy coat are important to the quality of life for your canine companion. We often see dogs with a variety of skin issues – some are mild, and some are advanced. Dogs can present with mild dander in their fur, a single, moist ulceration on the skin, scaling, fur loss, pustules, abscesses to name just a few signs. Often these pets are in great discomfort, itchy, scratching, chewing and licking at the affecting areas which compound the problem. It is a myth that a dog licking their wounds heals it. The opposite is true. They are actually making it worse. Seeking medical attention early is important.

What are the causes, symptoms & diagnosis of bacterial skin infections?

Skin infections may occur for a wide range of reasons. It can be from fleas or mites environmental and/or food allergies, thyroid disease, parasites, anxiety to name just a few. In combination with the history of your pet and a physical examination, our veterinarians will discuss with you the options available to determine the cause of skin disease in your dog and the treatment plans that will be most effective. A variety of diagnostic tests may be needed to get a diagnosis of what is causing the skin disease. It could be through doing a food trial to rule out food allergies, skin testing to see if there is a bacterial or a yeast infection or blood work. Skin infections can come on suddenly and never happen again or can be chronic conditions that need to be managed. We will work with you to ensure your dog gets the relief they need.

What are the causes, symptoms, and treatment for ringworms?

Most of the times when dogs get ringworm, it comes from a person that has ringworm. Ringworm is not actually a worm but rather a fungal infection, similar to athlete’s foot. The symptoms of ringworm are a scaly patch on the skin, but the presentation can vary. There are a variety of treatment options for ringworm including oral medication or topical treatment. Your veterinarian will discuss the variety of treatment options available to determine which approach is the best for your dog.

What are the causes and treatment for allergic skin diseases?

There is no conclusive evidence as to why some dogs develop allergies and some do not. We do know that some breeds of dogs are more predisposed than others. Labrador Retrievers and Staffordshire Terriers are just two examples of dogs that may develop allergies some time in their life. People will often present with sneezing, runny and itchy eyes when they have allergies. Dogs rarely have those symptoms but instead develop itchy, irritated skin. They lick, chew and scratch at themselves and cause self-trauma as a result of being so itchy. Dogs can be allergic to food or the environment. It can be through direct contact, inhalation or ingestion of the allergen. Rarely are dogs allergic to only one thing. Treatment options vary but may include a special diet, medicated shampoos or medication. Unfortunately, allergies cannot be cured – management of the allergies is the goal. It is important to prevent secondary bacterial infections from developing and to keep the skin as healthy as possible. Your pet’s comfort and quality of life depend on effective management of their symptoms.

What are the causes and treatment for Parasitic skin diseases?

Just the thought of parasites crawling over, burrowing into and feeding on your pet is enough to make your skin crawl. The good news about parasitic skin diseases is that they are usually fairly easy to diagnose and fairly easy to treat. The most common parasites we see are fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. Left untreated, these pests can create great discomfort for your dog. Our winters are getting shorter, so flea and tick protection is needed almost year-round now. There are a lot of wonderful products to keep your dog flea free! But don’t be fooled, some are more effective than others! If you have kitties in the home, be aware that some parasite products for dogs are toxic to cats. Mites, lice, and other less common creepy crawlies may require a prescription. If you suspect your dog may have a parasitic skin disease, please call and speak with one of our healthcare team members.

What are the causes and treatment for hormonal skin diseases?

Dogs can develop hormonal skin diseases which may be confused with normal signs of aging. Skin symptoms may include, fur loss, darkening of the skin or recurrent skin infections. These dogs can have other symptoms as well which can include changes in urination, water intake or appetite. Diagnosis is made through examination and blood work. Treatment usually involves giving medication to your dog to get them feeling better again.

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