Skin issues are a common problem with many dogs. Allergies, both environmental and dietary, and bacterial or fungal infections can make your dog very itchy and uncomfortable. If you notice your dog often scratching, chewing or licking at their skin, or if their skin looks red and irritated/”rashy,” you should bring your dog in for an exam with a veterinarian.
What are the causes, symptoms & diagnosis of bacterial skin infections?
Scratching or chewing/licking at the skin and having deep skin folds are just a couple of the many causes of bacterial skin infections. Symptoms include itchiness, hair loss, redness, discharge and a foul smell. A veterinarian can often diagnose a skin infection just by looking at it, but sometimes more diagnostic tools are required, such as a skin scraping.
What are the causes, symptoms, and treatment for ringworms?
Ringworm is a fungus (not a worm) that causes dry, red, itchy skin, hair loss, and crusty skin lesions. Ringworm can be diagnosed by testing skin and fur samples, or by looking at the skin under a Wood’s lamp. Treatment of ringworm usually includes antifungal medications or baths. Ringworm is very contagious to other animals and to people as well, so it is important to wear gloves and take the proper precautions to not spread the infection.
What are the causes and treatment for allergic skin diseases?
Allergies are a common cause of skin problems in dogs. Both food and environmental (dust, pollen, etc.) allergies can cause itchiness, redness, and hair loss. Dietary allergies can be treated by simply switching the dog to an appropriate hypoallergenic diet, depending on the ingredient the dog is allergic to, while other allergies are usually treated with medication or by eliminating the allergen in their environment if possible. Sending a blood sample for allergy testing is the easiest way to determine what specific ingredients or allergens your dog should avoid.
What are the causes and treatment for parasitic skin diseases?
Some parasites, such as fleas, mites and lice, can affect the skin as well! Treatment involves choosing the safest and most effective antiparasitic for that specific parasite, such as revolution or advantage. With some parasites, like fleas, it is very important to treat the house to completely eliminate the infestation. In severe cases, antibiotics may be required.
What are the causes and treatment for hormonal skin diseases?
A hormonal imbalance, such as problems associated with the thyroid gland or reproductive hormones, can also potentially cause skin issues for your dog. Symptoms of this include hair loss, itchiness, redness and dry skin. The only way to treat the hormone-related skin problems is to treat what is causing them. For example, if it is thyroid-related, medication will likely be required to control it. If it is related to reproductive hormones, the best treatment is to spay/neuter!