Skin problems including pruritus (itchiness) and hair loss are common in dogs and cats and can have multiple causes. Among the most common contributors to skin disorders in pets are allergies, infections, endocrine or hormonal imbalances and external parasites including fleas, ticks and mites. Frequently a pet has multiple etiologies contributing to his or her skin problem. Certain dermatologic conditions such as sarcoptic mange and dermatophytosis (ringworm) are zoonotic diseases, meaning they can be spread back and forth from you to your pet. For this reason and for the comfort of your pet skin issues should be addressed promptly.
Some skin problems can be diagnosed by taking a thorough history and conducting a complete physical examination of your pet. However, most dermatologic diseases or conditions require additional diagnostic procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis. Depending on your pet’s symptoms and the results of our physical exam, we may run blood work, fungal cultures, skin scraping, or biopsies to help determine the cause of your pet’s problem.
Skin issues can be chronic and difficult to treat and often require multiple therapies. This can include both systemic (oral or injectable) and topical medications and shampoos. In addition, food allergies or dietary imbalances can contribute to skin problems so we may suggest a prescription diet or dietary supplements for your pet.
The sooner your pet’s skin problems are diagnosed and treated the better. Please call us to schedule an appointment if you notice your dog or cat scratching excessively or if he or she develops any bare patches, scabs, scaling, redness, inflammation, lumps, or bumps.