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10 Common Skin Problems For Dogs
If your child has a severe rash, they will understand the words “Do not bite.” (Whether she listens is a whole different story!) Unfortunately, that’s not the case with pets. They hurt, they itch, they cry, they scratch, and before you know it, the situation is worse.
Dogs can suffer from a wide variety of skin problems, including:
1. Canine atopy: seasonal pollen allergies that occur in dogs 1 to 5 years old, starting in late summer and fall. Symptoms include itching around the face and paws that may spread to the ears, armpits, elbows and groin. Up to 75 percent of dogs diagnosed with atopy experience recurrent ear infections. Immunotherapy is the most effective treatment, sometimes in conjunction with antihistamine treatment or an essential fatty acid dietary supplement.
2. Chiggers (also known as trombiculiasis): Common skin parasites found in the central United States that cause severe itching and irritation of the skin around the legs, head, and abdomen. Blackbirds are usually found in large numbers during spring and autumn in grassy areas. These mites look reddish-orange, and although you often won’t be able to see them, you’ll notice a small welt. Treatment consists of a couple of pyrethrin-based immersions a couple of weeks apart, or the application of a topical antiparasitic drug.
3. Dermatitis: allergic inflammatory skin conditions such as: pyotraumatic dermatitis, which appears as a red, moist, hairless sore; acral lick dermatitis, which results in a sore that your dog will likely lick all day; contact dermatitis, caused by direct contact with an irritant, such as fertilizers or bleach; and flea allergy dermatitis, caused by a sensitivity to saliva or fleas. Your vet may recommend an oral antibiotic or an injection to treat the dermatitis.
4. Ear mites: small, crab-like parasites that live in dogs’ ear canals. They are very contagious and common in puppies. Although they live on the surface of the skin of the ear, they can spread to your dog’s back, neck and tail. If you notice your dog excessively shaking his head or scratching around his ears, or if you see dark debris in his ears or notice a foul odor, mites may be to blame. Several over-the-counter medications treat them effectively.
5. Allergies to fleas: proteins in flea saliva cause severe itching. A single bite can cause a reaction for 5-7 days. Desensitizing injections are not generally effective because it is difficult to collect enough flea saliva to make a serum. Consult your veterinarian for a flea control program that won’t further irritate your dog’s skin.
6. Impetigo: An inflammatory skin condition characterized by shallow blisters that break easily. In younger animals, you’ll notice large, swollen whites on the stomach. It will ooze pus, dry out, and then crust over. You can treat impetigo with daily applications of an antiseptic powder, such as BFI.
7. Puppy strangle (juvenile cellulitis): a skin irritation affecting the face, ears and lymph nodes of puppies under four months of age. The pimples develop and break, and then scabs and small ulcers form. Your puppy may have difficulty eating or swallowing, and may become depressed or develop a fever. Strangulation can be treated with antibiotics.
8. Ringworm: skin disease that looks like a round sore with scabs or scabs, caused by a fungus. As the disease progresses, you will notice more of these sores. Treatment consists of cleaning infected spots, applying a fungicide regularly, keeping lesions clean to prevent infection, and maintaining proper hygiene to prevent spread.
9. Scabies (sarcoptic mange): A condition caused by mites that causes hair loss, itching and lesions. Mites burrow into the surface of dogs’ skin, often on the abdomen, chest, legs and ears, depositing their eggs in a trail behind them. You’ll just notice a few scabs and maybe some hairless patches. The most effective treatment consists of the application of topical solutions, such as Salamectin.
10. Ticks: large parasites that attach to the skin. They are usually found under the ear and where the hair is thin. Ticks can transmit a variety of diseases, including tick paralysis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Now that you know some common skin problems that affect dogs, you’ll be better equipped to identify them.
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