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Skin Problems in Dogs - When the Skin of Your Dog Permanently Itchy

Find out the most common skin diseases in dogs.

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Skin diseases in dogs: a frequent problem

Benny can’t stop nibbling at his paws. They must be itching like crazy given the way the Australian Shepherd is behaving. His mistress takes him to the vet and finds out that Benny has harvest mites irritating his skin. Everything is back to normal after the right treatment. Benny is not a lone case – skin problems are quite common in dogs and have various causes.

Blood count, skin swab and parasite check

Is it to do with his diet, does the dog have allergies, is it caused by parasites or even an autoimmune disease? If your dog has red, itchy patches on his skin or is constantly scratching, the vet needs to first find out the cause. You can help with this by writing down exactly when the symptoms occur in your dog. It is also important for the specialist to know about any illnesses, medications that the dog is taking, and information about the dog’s environment. The vet will then have a blood test performed to exclude any organic problems being the cause. Allergy tests, skin swabs, an exclusion diet and checks for parasites can also provide information on what is causing the problem.

There can be various causes of skin problems

In effect, parasites are very often the cause of skin problems, for example fleas. Why? The saliva from fleas can trigger allergies that manifest in itching and small bumps on the skin. Ticks can also cause localised inflammation of the skin. Harvest mites mostly affect the paws, but can also pass to the ears and stomach and cause incrusted, really itchy sites. If parasites can be ruled out, a dermatophyte may also be the cause. The vet will perform a fungal culture test for this. Beware, a dermatophyte infection can also be passed on to humans! Bacterial causes are also a possibility. So-called hot spots are exudative skin inflammations that particularly affect long-haired breeds in the summer. Mange, on the other hand, causes skin alterations that are extremely itchy. This is passed on by foxes. Also allergies, for example to certain ingredients in their food, can cause severe itching. An autoimmune disease is rarely the cause.

The right treatment is important

As the dog is naturally very affected by the constant itching, a sustainable treatment is important. The specialist will know what to do once she has made her diagnosis. Then she can, for example, prescribe antibiotics. Switching food is a tested method for allergies. Using appropriate protection from parasites is important for preventing skin problems. With spot-on treatments, you can protect your dog from fleas and ticks.

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