Common Skin Conditions in Pets
Skin Issues Requiring Veterinary Care
You might not be alarmed at your pet scratching himself or biting at a passing itch. However, if your pet does this all the time, he might have a potentially serious skin condition that requires examination and treatment. Remember, the skin is an organ, just as the liver, kidneys, and stomach are organs. The skin protects the body from infection and harmful substances and helps prevent dehydration. Here are four such conditions that commonly afflict dogs and cats:
1. Dermatitis – This catch-all term for skin irritation causes your pet to scratch, bite and lick obsessively at the problem area, creating bald patches that reveal red, scaly or swollen skin. As he continues to aggravate the area, the skin may become broken, and is commonly referred to as a hot spot, which can lead to secondary bacterial infections. Dermatitis can be caused by direct contact with an irritant, flea infestation, an allergic reaction to food, or may even be airborne. Treatment may include dietary supplements, antihistamines, steroids, shampoos, and antiparasitic drugs.
2. Autoimmune and Secondary Skin Diseases – Secondary diseases are those that initially involve other organs, and thereby affect the skin, such as hypothyroidism. There are several autoimmune skin diseases, and diagnosis is made via blood tests and surgical biopsy. Treatment may include dietary supplements, steroids, and immune therapy drugs.
3. Sarcoptic mange – This scabies mite infestation can create many of the same symptoms as the various forms of dermatitis mentioned above. Sarcoptic mange tends to start in relatively hairless areas such as the ears and abdomen before spreading out to cause obsessive scratching all over the body. To play it safe, you should have a veterinarian at an animal clinic treat all your pets for this illness even if only one of them shows symptoms.
4. Ringworm – Ringworm stems from a fungus that invades the skin to create scaly, inflamed skin. Your pet may also start losing hair. Ringworm can spread to your human family as well as your other pets, so prompt treatment from a veterinarian is a must. Treatment may include topical and systemic antifungal drugs and antifungal shampoos and rinses.
Treatment for Scarsdale and White Plains Pets
If your pet suffers from a skin condition, the Scarsdale veterinary services at Central Animal Hospital can help. Our veterinarians can test for underlying disorders resulting in skin issues, then prescribe medications and/or lifestyle changes to get the problem under control. Since our animal clinic also offers pet boarding, we can even address these issues during a pet boarding stay. Let us help your pet enjoy life again!
Does your pet scratch himself constantly? Is the skin broken?