The skin is the largest organ of the body and it carries out many important functions! Keeping your pet healthy on the outside is just as important as caring for their internal wellness; dogs and cats can suffer from many of the same skin problems that humans can along with many of the same unpleasant side effects.
Have you noticed your dog or cat itching, scratching biting or licking more often than usual? Itchiness, hair loss, bumps and lumps on the skin, rashes, ulcers, crustiness or a greasy, smelly coat can all indicate a skin problem in your pet. Ear problems are extremely common, and can happen suddenly or be very chronic in nature. These conditions can be very uncomfortable and need to be addressed as soon as you notice them.
Very broadly speaking there are 3 types of problems that might be present:
This is a bit of an oversimplication but most cases will have one of these as the underlying “driver” of the itch – some unlucky dogs have combinations of all three at the same time! These are the really challenging cases. Skin issues can be sneaky and appear in a variety of guises; we will usually recommend taking a little sample from the surface of the skin and have a look under the microscope to see what we are dealing with.
Accurate diagnosis is essential in dealing with skin problems and we have many diagnostic tools that can help us: these include fungal and bacterial cultures, skin scrapings, microscopic hair evaluation, skin biopsies and blood and urine testing.
Treatment can include oral antibiotics (some deep infections need long courses) and shampoos. Some cases involve real detective work and need teamwork from both vet and owner to achieve a happy outcome!
Many skin problems are chronic in nature, and cannot be cured once and for all. These conditions require consistent management and follow up visits to keep the problem under control and ensure the comfort of your pet.
If you are worried that your dog may be suffering from a skin condition it’s important to speak to your vet sooner rather than later so that a diagnosis and treatment plan can be started. Don’t let your best friend suffer with the itchiness, discomfort or pain of skin problems. Let our team help them live a more comfortable life!