Pet Allergies and Skin Conditions
If your pet is frequently itching, scratching or biting its skin, it may be suffering from an allergy or skin condition. Veterinary Dermatology treats common skin conditions and allergies, addressing both the underlying cause for your pet’s discomfort as well as providing relief from its symptoms. Diagnostic tests make it possible to identify the condition and take steps to relieve your pet’s pain.
Allergic Dermatitis is one of the most common conditions affecting pets, but rather than experiencing watery eyes or congestion as humans do, pets suffer from itchy skin. Repeated biting and scratching creates irritated, moist skin susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. Prompt treatment for allergies is essential to relieving a pet’s painful symptoms and preventing secondary infections or more complex problems.
Allergies to pet food ingredients -- including beef, chicken, duck, fish, lamb, diary, soy, wheat and corn -- also cause pets to itch or scratch their skin. In addition, food allergies can trigger gastrointestinal upset and ear inflammation. Pets with a food allergy may bite or scratch their skin, bite or lick their paws, or even drag their rear across the ground in an attempt to relieve the itching. Pets with food allergies are often allergic to more than one food ingredient so diagnosing a food allergy can be a complicated process.
If you suspect your pet is suffering from an allergy, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Diagnostic tests or an elimination diet may be necessary to identify the cause. Then, once the allergen triggers are identified, a custom treatment can be created. Depending on the trigger, this may include a dietary change, reduced exposure to a environmental cause, and/or the use of medication.
In addition to pet allergies, common skin conditions include mange and ringworm. Mange is caused by tiny parasites called mites. Symptoms of mange include intense scratching and biting of the skin. Ringworm is a common bacterial infection that can affect both cats and dogs. Pets with a ringworm infection have circular lesions on their limbs and head. The skin will be flaky and some pets may even appear to be bald. Ringworm can easily spread to other pets, so prompt treatment is crucial.