Skin concerns are one of the top reasons owners bring their pets to the veterinarian. From rashes, to skin discoloration, to various lumps and bumps, pet owners often ask, “What’s up with my pet’s skin?” Following are some common dermatologic conditions of pets, and their typical signs. Of course, if you are concerned about your pet’s skin, you should see your Stone Ridge veterinary team for an evaluation.
Like their owners, pets can suffer from allergies, but while we may have a scratchy throat or watery eyes during a flare-up, pets often develop itchy skin, and uncomfortable secondary infections. Allergic skin problems often manifest as pustules, patches of reddened skin, or hair loss where the pet has been licking. Some pets will develop exudative lesions under the fur where bacteria proliferate, and form a “hot spot.” Sometimes, the skin surface may become darker, often indicating a chronic skin problem. Dermatitis, or skin inflammation, can occur anywhere on the body, but affected areas usually include the inguinal region and the feet. Pets can be allergic to virtually anything, but allergic skin disease is most commonly caused by flea saliva, a dietary protein, or an environmental allergen. Diagnosing your pet’s allergy can take time, but is worth the effort, especially if your pet suffers from year-round allergic skin disease.
When skin cells produce an excess of keratinous and sebaceous material, seborrhea occurs. This condition is characterized by a greasy hair coat, and dry, flaky skin. Seborrhea is often secondary to an underlying condition, such as allergies or a hormonal imbalance, but can also be a genetic problem in certain breeds, such as the cocker spaniel, basset hound, and West Highland white terrier. Diagnosing any associated disease is essential to combat this unpleasant skin disorder, which can lead to inflamed sebaceous glands, cysts, or secondary infections, if left untreated. If your veterinarian diagnoses seborrhea or seborrheic dermatitis in your pet, expect to go home with a medicated shampoo, a skin supplement, and medications necessary to treat underlying conditions.
Hair loss, or, alopecia, can occur because of a variety of underlying problems. Itchy, allergic dogs may lose hair from their constant licking and chewing at the skin. Other pets may have patchy hair loss as a result of ectoparasites, like fleas or mites. Still other pets may exhibit alopecia because of hormonal dysfunction, such as a thyroid condition, or Cushing’s disease. If your pet is losing more hair than normal, or you notice missing hair patches, contact your Stone Ridge veterinary team.
This uncomfortable skin problem occurs when a type of mite (i.e., Sarcoptes scabiei, Demodex cani, or Demodex cati) finds a cozy home on your pet. To survive, the mites burrow beneath the skin, feeding off skin cells and other tissues, and causing intense itching, hair loss, scabbing, and sores. Treatment often involves a combination of anti-parasitic and anti-itch medications, along with topical products, to help relieve your pet’s discomfort. While Sarcoptes scabiei is contagious to other pets—and humans—most Demodex species won’t spread to other people, or animals.
Lumps, bumps, and tumors are exceedingly common in pets, and can present anywhere from large, fatty lumps under the skin to small, red, raised growths. Fortunately, many skin tumors in pets are benign, but some can be malignant and aggressive. If your pet has an unusual growth on or under the skin, we can perform some simple diagnostics that will help them make the right diagnosis.
Great skin and coat health starts with great grooming. While your Stone Ridge veterinary team should be your first stop if your pet has a dermatologic condition, keeping up with their regular grooming appointments is an important component of maintaining clean, healthy, refreshed skin. If our veterinarian prescribes a medicated shampoo or conditioner, ensure you bring these to your appointment, along with any grooming recommendations. Contact our salon for an appointment, and let us help your pet.