Skin disease is quite common amongst pets, as up to 25% of small animal consultations relate to skin issues. Part of the reason why skin conditions are so common is that skin only reacts in certain ways despite many different causes, and don’t forget that ears are lined with skin as well. Skin conditions cause irritation and pain, therefore understanding the cause means a quicker resolution.
Common signs of dermatological issues in pets
Pets suffering from skin problems show a variety of symptoms, such as:
- Rubbing excessively against carpet or other surfaces
- Chewing at the skin
- Red, irritated skin, rashes, or sores
- Weeping sores or spots
- Excessive scratching or licking of the legs, feet, or body
- Repeated rubbing of the face or ears
- Flaky and dry skin
- Loss of fur
- Lumps and bumps
If you notice any of these symptoms, we advise you to book an appointment to see us.
Causes of dermatological issues
Pets can develop skin issues for many reasons. Some factors include allergies (environmental, food, or parasite), bacterial infections, acne, hair loss, or parasites such as fleas, ringworms, or ear mites.
The resulting skin irritation can vary from mild or temporary to severe infections or other health concerns.
Testing and treatment for dermatological issues
There are a variety of ways to test for dermatology issues. In many cases, one of our vets or nurses collects a small sample of material such as a fur pluck, skin scrapes, or skin swabs and examines them under a microscope. They will be looking for mites, yeast, bacteria, and other explanations for why your pet could be in discomfort. Allergy testing is commonly performed by a blood test or skin prick test.
The most common treatments available for dermatological issues are:
- Flea and mite treatments
- Oral or injectable anti-itch medication
- Allergy desensitisation
- Topical medications (creams or ear drops)
- Medicated shampoos and conditioners
- Skin supplements
- Hypoallergenic diet
In many cases, we will ask you questions about what you have observed regarding your pet’s behaviour. This critical information, paired with their physical examination findings, will allow us to determine the best action plan to correct your pet’s skin condition.