When to Worry About an Itchy Pet

February 9, 2021


Why Treating Your Pet’s Skin Issues is So Important

Did you know your pet can have allergies? When is an itchy pet a sign of something more serious?

One of the most common medical issues we see in animals is skin disease. This type of illness is not only preventable but can save you a ton of money by treating it early. 

Dog skin conditions are unfortunately all too common. Uncomfortable allergic reactions can cause:

Left untreated, they often lead to hair loss and painful lesions, referred to as hot spots, that become infected without proper care. Environmental factors such as grasses, dust, mold, pollen, mildew, and other airborne allergens might also make your pet itchy and uncomfortable

Food allergies are less common, but when food allergies do occur, the condition is usually caused by specific protein in the food.  Common food-causing allergies are beef, chicken, lamb, pork and wheat. Resolution to these types of allergies can be explored by talking to your veterinarian and may result in a food trial in which you try a different type of food to try to identify the allergy causing ingredient in your pet’s food.  Food trials may also lead to putting your pet on a prescription diet.

Dogs can also develop an allergic reaction to flea bites, which is an immune response to flea saliva known as parasitic dermatitis. This can cause excessive itching, inflammation, and hair loss.  While flea allergies are the most common cause of ectoparasitic allergies, tick bites can also trigger a similar reaction in dogs.  Ticks can also carry a wide variety of other diseases, so making sure your pet is on proper flea and tick prevention is a key component to your pet’s health.  Other types of parasitic infections can be caused by skin reactions from various types of mites, such as demodex or scabies.  These conditions must be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian as some forms of mange and mite infections can be spread to humans and other pets.

Pets can also develop skin infections caused by bacterial, fungal, or yeast infections. One common cause is fungi commonly known as “ring worm”.  These fungi can be contagious to other pets and humans and require topical and sometimes oral medications provided by a veterinarian to resolve. Yeast infections are often secondary to other forms of allergic dermatitis and often found as the core cause of ear infections along with other bacterium.  Other causes of skin infections and alopecia can be a result of an internal disease processes that may require further lab work and/or blood work to properly diagnose.  In addition to treating any underlying medical conditions, antibiotics, antifungal medications as well as topical medications are typically prescribed to address these types of skin issues.  It is important that if your pet struggles with chronic skin issues your vet may need to try several different courses of action to get to the root cause or find the best method of keeping your pet comfy. 

Consistent care, compliance and communication with your veterinarian are important contributions pet owners can make to successfully providing your pet with a life less itchy.

To make an appointment to discuss your pet’s skin issues contact your veterinarian or our Community Clinic click the button below!