Skin Care

4 Common Skin Conditions in Dogs

1. Allergies

Allergies are one of the most common skin conditions seen in dogs today. Some of the allergies that cause skin problems in canines include; flea allergy, allergic inhalant dermatitis (atopy), and food allergy.

• Symptoms – Itchy skin, excess licking between toes, skin irritation, runny eyes or nose, and sneezing are all signs of allergies in dogs.

• Diagnosis – Allergies are usually diagnosed based on symptoms and a physical examination. However, you can ask to be referred to a dermatologist so that your dog can undergo further testing and receive the best possible care.

• Treatment – Like with humans, seasonal allergies in dogs are treated with antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs. Conditions such as food allergy and flea allergy on the other hand, are resolved by eliminating the triggers.

2. Mange

There are two main types of mange in dogs; demodectic (Demodex canis) and sarcoptic (Sarcoptes scabei). Mange is caused by microscopic mites that burrow beneath the skin. The parasites spread through direct contact, and although they don’t live long on human hosts, they can also be passed on to people.

• Symptoms – Mange can cause a series of issues including; itchiness, inflamed or irritated skin, hair loss, scab formation, and skin infection.

• Diagnosis – Both sarcoptic and demodectic mange are diagnosed using a microscope. A skin sample is taken, placed on a slide under a microscope, and then scanned for mites.

• Treatment – Some of the medications used to treat mange in dogs include; ivermectin, Advantage Multi, Revolution, and Interceptor.

3. Hormonal Imbalances

An excess or lack of certain hormones can cause skin problems in dogs. Examples of these include; hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormone), hyperestrogenism (too much estrogen), and hyperadrenocorticism (too much cortisone).

• Symptoms – The signs of hormonal disorders in dogs can vary, but there are general symptoms you can look for. These include; hair loss, skin infection, darkening of the skin, increased or decreased appetite, lethargy, spontaneous production of milk, and change in behavior (irritability, depression, etc.).

• Diagnosis – Veterinarians use blood tests that measure hormone levels in the body to help them make a diagnosis.

• Treatment – The main goal for treating hormonal imbalances in canines is to get the hormone levels balanced. For example, patients with hypothyroidism are treated with hormone replacement therapy.

4. Seborrhea

Seborrhea is a skin condition in dogs that is characterized by dry or oily skin. The disease can either be genetically inherited or secondary to other problems such as allergies, autoimmune disorders, and parasites.

• Symptoms – Cracking, dryness, and oiliness of the skin are some of the common symptoms of seborrhea. Other signs of the disease include; scab formation, itchiness, red/inflamed skin, loss of hair, dandruff-like particles on the skin, bad odor, and skin infection.

• Diagnosis – Since seborrhea in dogs can develop as a consequence of other conditions, most veterinarians will want to check for additional health problems before making a diagnosis. Once all other possibilities have been ruled out, the condition will likely be diagnosed as genetic.

• Treatment – Although there is no cure for canine seborrhea, medication and other treatment can help keep the condition under control.

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