Dog Skin Problems: A Guide To Symptoms And Treatments
If I have one pet peeve, its a furry friend that scratches and licks itself all night. Unfortunately, its not always their fault when skin conditions strike. When your dogs scratching instinct is in full force, it may be because they have a skin problem. Smelly sores, bald patches, skin flakes, or pus are sure signs that your doggy needs a vet checkup and an immune boost.
Several illnesses or health issues can cause dog skin problems, which we will unpack below. Many times though, a vet will need to take a closer look at causative diseases that could be creating problems on the skin surface.
Symptoms Of Fungal & Bacterial Skin Infection In Dogs
These are common signs of both fungal and staph infection in dogs.
Common clinical symptoms of yeast dermatitis include:
- Recurring or chronic ear infections
- Itchiness and redness
- Elephant skin or thickened skin
- Crusty, scaly or flaky skin
Common clinical symptoms of staph infection include:
- Pus-filled lesions on the skin
- Excessive licking, itching or chewing
- Patchy fur with peeling, moist or crusty skin
- Systemic infections in the ears, eyes, skin or respiratory system
Safe Ways To Remove Ticks
Skip gasoline, nail polish, petroleum jelly, alcohol, or a hot match. These methods can force infected fluids back into the bite. Instead:
- Use gloves or tissue to cover your hands.
- Grasp the tick with tweezers from the side, by its head, close to the skin.
- Pull straight up. Don’t twist.
- Don’t squeeze the bloated belly.
Wash the bite area and your hands. Mouth parts that remain rarely cause serious problems. Questions? Call your vet.
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The Most Common Dog Skin Conditions
At Animal Trust, dog skin conditions are one of the main causes of treatment at our clinics. Skin issues are fairly common, and can cause significant discomfort for your pet, from itching to soreness.
Skin problems in dogs are more common during the warmer seasons, which is when seasonal allergies , insect bites and other allergic symptoms are more likely. Its important to pay attention to any skin conditions your dog suffers from, even if they appear relatively minor. Skin symptoms in dogs such as itching, rashes or bald patches, could be an indicator of an underlying cause or health condition that hasnt already been diagnosed by a vet or vet nurse.
A dogs skin condition can range from mild to severe. Many skin conditions require professional treatment to resolve and keep from getting worse. In fact, when a skin disease is left untreated for a while, the condition can often become complicated and significantly more serious. For example, an allergic reaction may become secondarily infected with bacteria, or a bacterial infection may also become infected with yeast. Some of the most common skin disorders in dogs include bacterial skin infections, environmental allergies and parasite allergies.
To help you understand the range of dog skin problems and identify the more obvious symptoms typically associated with each issue , we have summarised 10 of the most common skin conditions in dogs.
Turkey Tail Mushroom For Skin Health
Turkey Tail Mushrooms have been used as part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Mushrooms are rich in beta-glucans, and Polysaccharide K. Studies have found that these substances increase host immune defense.
The fungi also provide the body with antioxidants which play a significant role in keeping your dogs body healthy and disease-free. The purpose of antioxidants is to fight free radicals, thereby shielding the canine body from bacteria, parasites, and disease. As a result, the immune system is more robust, and dogs are healthier and less likely to show flare-ups on their skin.
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Have A Question About Your Dog’s Skin Condition Our Vet Will Answer It For Free
Do you have a question or comment? Share it!Our editors will pick 1 question to answer each week. Please include your dog’s age, breed, medical history, medications and if possible, a picture of the condition.We will do our best to get back to you quickly . If you do require an immediate response we suggest using this online dog veterinary service that is available now.
How To Identify Skin Issues With Dogs
As you can see there are a multitude of skin lesions and skin problems that can affect dogs, some of which are more obvious than others. Some lesions may cause your dog to display symptoms such as itchiness or pain, whereas others may go for months or even years undetected. It is therefore important to have a regular routine for checking your dogs skin and coat.
The best way to check your dog is to make a habit of it. Pick the same time once a month or even once a week and take the time to thoroughly inspect your dog. Let your dog think its a game and be sure to reward them afterwards. Your dog will also see it as a grooming session, helping to make the bond between you and your pooch stronger.
First look at your dogs skin and coat from a distance. What is the quality like? Is the coat dull or in poor condition? Are there any obvious areas of redness or inflammation?
Next run your hands over your dog feeling for any abnormalities or lumps. Pay close attention to your dogs reaction while you do so, even subtle facial expressions may give away areas of discomfort or pain.
Run a brush through your dogs fur and make a note of how much hair pulls out if large clumps come away and leave areas of baldness then there is likely an issue. Next wipe the brushings on some wet paper towel, if any small specks turn red then they are likely flea dirt , indicating that a flea infestation is present.
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Treatment For Common Skin Problems
If your pets skin problem is minor, or youre dealing with seasonal allergies, then youll want to bring some relief to your itchy pet. Natural soothing treatments like an oat bath, apple-cider vinegar spot treatment, or the use of CBD coconut oil can soothe dry patches and relieve itching temporarily.
Dry And Itchy Dog Skin
Dry and flaky skin can be a dog’s worst nightmare and an owner’s as well. But if you suffer from dry and flaky skin, you’ll know how uncomfortable it can be. Dogs can have dry and flaky skin as well. It can happen due to allergies, bacterial, fungal or yeast infections, seasonal changes may also bring these symptoms. What is dry skin? Skin dryness or xerosis is a common condition. It is characterized by the symptoms of tightness, scaling, flaking and itching. The most common causes of dry skin are: low humidity, detergents, frequent bathing or bathing with the wrong shampoo, low sebum production and other factors. Feeding your dog with high-quality food can solve this problem and sometimes its necessary to use fatty acid supplements to support their digestion. As an external solution use gentle and natural dog shampoo to moisturize your dogs skin.
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How Is Seborrhea Treated
Treatment is aimed at the underlying cause. If no underlying cause can be found, then a diagnosis of primary or idiopathic seborrhea is made. Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for primary or idiopathic seborrhea.
In general, treatments that help manage seborrhea include:
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
- Antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections
- Antifungals if yeast infections are present
How Is Seborrhea Diagnosed
Tests that can aid your veterinarian in diagnosing your dog’s seborrhea include:
- Complete blood cell count , serum chemistries, and electrolytes to look for subclinical or hidden underlying conditions or imbalances
- Skin cytology and skin biopsy to assess for inflammatory cells, bacteria, yeast, fungus, or abnormal cells
- Skin scrapings and hair pluckings to check for external parasites
- Skin culture to test for bacterial and fungal infections
- Hormone tests to check for hormonal imbalances
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How Can I Treat My Dogs Skin Infection At Home
Many excellent topical antibacterial products can be used with antibiotic and shampoo therapy. An excellent product, Be Soothed Tea Tree Oil Skin Relief contains natural tea tree oil, which is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal compound. It can be applied up to 2-3 times daily on affected areas of the skin.
Dog Skin Allergies From Food
If you suspect a food allergy, the best approach is to try ahypoallergenic test diet where the number of ingredients in a dog’sdiet is minimized. Do not provide treats or other food during the testperiod. A diet needs to be tested for 10 weeks to see if there is anyimprovement. One new diet worth considering is PurinaHA Hypoallergenic that makes proteins in the diet nonallergenic. This could be a convenient way to see if proteins are thecause of the problem. Usually a sensitiveskin dog food contains one simple protein such as fish and asimple carbohydrate such as potatoes, with no artificial ingredients,flavors or coloring.
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What Causes Yeast Infection Of The Ear
A dogâs ear canal plunges downward and then towards the head . That gives yeast a favorable environment in which to grow. If your dog swims or is bathed frequently, trapped water or debris in the ear canal can lead to yeast infections. Allergens like pollens, mold, dust, feathers, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, and certain foods can also lead to ear infections in a dog.
A dog’s outer ear extends from the outside of the earlobe to the ear drum. An infection in this part of the ear is called otitis externa. An infection in the middle ear — otitis media – typically develops in association with an outer ear infection. Then once the middle ear is infected, the infection can spread to the inner ear, where it will affect the dog’s sense of balance and position. An inner ear infection can also cause deafness. Catching and treating an infection early, while it’s still in the outer ear, will help prevent more serious middle and inner ear infections.
Yeast infections can also show up elsewhere on your dogâs skin. When one does, it causes the skin to become scabby, reddened, or crusty. with a foul odor.
Common Skin Problems In Dogs And How To Treat Them
Reviewed by Dr. Sarah Wooten, DVM.
Under all that floof, our furry friends have skin, just like us. Skin problems are one of the most common ailments dogs can suffer, with a wide range of causes, conditions, and treatments. These skin problems can range from mild to severe, with some being contagious to other animals as well as humans. Lets take a look at some of the most common canine skin issues, their symptoms, and how to treat them.
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References For Skin Disease In Dogs
Swaim SF, Henderson RA Small Animal Wound Management Lea and Febiger, Philadelpha, pp 52-86
Skin and coat care of the atopic dog. Laura Navarro Combalia. Departamento de Patologia Animal. Facultad de Veterinaria. Universidad de Zaragoza. Clinica Veterinaria August. Zaragoza. October 2012.
Food Allergy Dermatitis S. Colombini Osborn Southwest Veterinary Dermatology, 2006
Washington State University
Carmichael, L. Recent Advances In Canine Infectious Diseases
Management Challenges in Canine PyodermaPeter J. Ihrke, VMD, Diplomate ACVD
Treatment of Canine Generalized Demodicosis R.S. Mueller, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ludwig-Maximillians-University, Munich, Germany
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, David Scott, D. W., Miller, W. H., Griffin, C. E.Muller and Kirks Small Animal Dermatology
Canine and Feline DemodicosisDidler-Noel Carlotti Dr. vet DIP ECVDEysines , France EU
Sarcoptes, Demodex and Otodectes: Treatment Options, R.S. Mueller, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Lugwig-Maximillans-University, Munich, German
Dermatophytosis: Still Underdiagnosed & Overdiagnosed. Dr. Peter J. Ihrke
Viral Diseases of the Dog, Remo Lobetti, PHD, Internal medicine Braystron Veterinary Hospital
A Standard of Care, Flea Allergy Dermatitis. Peter F. Ihrke, VMD, Diplomate ACVD, Professor of Dermatology, School fo Veterinary Medicine, University of California.
Food Allergy Skin Rashes
Food allergies in dogs present differently than environmental allergies. Food allergies tend to manifest as itchy paws, itchy skin, chronic ear infections, or as gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea. Another distinguishing feature is that food allergies tend to occur year-round, in contrast to atopy, which is typically seasonal.
To diagnose a food allergy, your veterinarian will have you feed either a limited ingredient, hydrolyzed or a novel protein diet to your dog for at least eight weeks. This is called a food trial. It is essential not to feed your dog anything else during this trial, including treats and flavored medications. It may take the entire eight weeks to see a difference, so do not stop early. If/once an ingredient is pinpointed that a dog is allergic to, typically a protein source in the food, its important to find a new diet that doesnt contain that ingredient and stick to it to prevent further flareups.
Dog Skin Infection Treatment
Treatment for dog skin infection varies by the types of dogskin disorders:
Bacterial Skin Infection as cause of Dog SkinDisorders:Like most infections, antibiotics are used when a bacterial problem isdiagnosed. Bacterial infections are often caused by another condition such as allergy, an immune mediated skin reactionor a hormonal problem . There are different types ofbacteria that can lead to a bacterial skin infection in dog. Testingwill determine the specific type of canine bacterial skin problem to betreated. Antibiotic therapy usually lasts for 3 to 12 weeks dependingon the severity of the condition.
Canine Fungal Skin Infection as cause of DogSkin Disorders:A dog fungal skin infection is diagnosed with a devicecalleda “woods lamp” which is used to check skin appearance under the light.Skin scraping tests will confirm any diagnosis that is made. A class ofmedications called antimycotic agents are prescribed to treat caninefungal skin infection. These include Griseofulvin and Ketoconazole . Side effects of treatment can includevomiting, diarrhea and nausea depending on the medication selected.
Tests will be conducted 2 and 4 weeks after testing to confirmthat all of the dog skin disorders have been properly treated.
Skin Issues In Dogs By Breed
Dog breed can also provide some clues when it comes to skin conditions, particularly in purebred dogs. Since these dogs are bred for certain traits, they also tend to pass on the same undesirable traits, including skin disease. Disease is also passed on genetically through line or in-breeding when a small stud population is used for breeding. Dog skin problems can be limited to one litter, one breed, or could be seen across certain breeds. Some of the more common breed specific canine skin diseases and conditions are described below:
BreedSpecific Diseasesand Conditions Canine Skin
Treatment involves the use of retinoids , but only of some benefit.
Some veterinarians see potential in the use of the topicalmedication immune modulator imiquimod and the NSAID diclofenac gel.
There is a risk of a dog relapsing if there is continuedsun exposure. Dogs need to be re-examined every 6 months.
If a lesion becomes cancerous thensurgical removal is required.
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No 1 Atopic Dermatitis
One of the most commonly encountered skin problems in dogs, canine atopic dermatitis is a chronic condition that generally starts at about 6 months to one year of age. Also known as canine eczema, its closely associated with allergies, although its often difficult to pinpoint exactly what substance triggers the allergic response. Like humans with eczema, dogs with CAD have elevated blood levels of a substance called immunoglobulin E , a protein that helps the body mount an immune response. According to the National Eczema Association, researchers think excess IgE may be responsible for the dogs hypersensitivity to normally harmless substances in his environment.
Any dog can develop atopic dermatitis, but some dogs breeds appear to be predisposed to the disease. These include:
- West Highland white terriers
- Golden Retrievers
Bulldogs are prone to a number of hereditary issues, including atopic dermatitis.
The hallmark signs of atopic dermatitis are red, irritated skin and severe itching. Your dog may lick, chew, rub or bite the affected areas to the point that they are red, raw or even bleeding. In extreme cases, this persistent chewing can lead to oozing, open sores that become infected with bacteria. Your vet may refer to this as moist dermatitis or wet eczema. But most lay people call these sores hot spots.
Although atopic dermatitis can occur anywhere on your dogs body, the most commonly affected areas are the:
Causes Of Bacterial & Fungal Skin Infections In Dogs
The immune system typically controls the many fungi and bacteria that live on the skin, so they do not cause issues under normal circumstances. But skin conditions may change or the immune system may become suppressed, leading to fungal or bacterial infections.
Two common causes for yeast infections include deficiencies in the immune system or a buildup of oil on the skin. While yeast infections are not contagious, they will often return unless the underlying allergy or skin condition is corrected.
Certain breeds may be genetically susceptible to yeast infections, such as the Chihuahua, Lhasa Apso, Silky Terrier, Basset Hound, Australian Terrier, Cocker Spaniel, West Highland White Terrier, Maltese Terrier, Shetland Sheepdog, Poodle, and Dachshund.
When a dog excessively licks, chews or scratches his skin, the skin can become irritated, kicking off a vicious cycle. These behaviors may begin to appear if your dog is allergic to something in the environment, food or medication, or fleas.
Staph infections may also be caused by secondary infections, such as chronic debilitating diseases, fungal infections in the blood or allergies. Dogs of any breed or age can be afflicted, but older and senior dogs will be more vulnerable due to their weaker immune systems.
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