Pet dermatology is the name given to a specialism of veterinary care that focuses on the diagnosis, management, and treatment of skin diseases in pets. Whilst many skin diseases are fairly straightforward to diagnose, treatment is not always quite so simple. There are many different types of dermatological treatment and it is often a case of trial and error to find which is most effective for your individual animal. Other skin problems require some investigative work to effectively diagnose them, before treatment can begin.
Many people don’t think of skin is an organ, but that is precisely what it is. The purpose of skin is to prevent things, such as water or heat, from leaving his body, but also to prevent bad things, such as viruses or bacteria from getting into the more vulnerable parts and causing your pet health problems.
Skin conditions are one of the most common reasons why pets such as cats and dogs are taken to see their veterinarian. Unfortunately, many skin problems are fairly easy to overlook and as such, they can be advanced before professional help is sought. One of the biggest problems associated with this is the risk of a secondary infection. Secondary infections occur when an initial problem is not dealt with properly, or at all, and so bacteria are left to thrive and cause infection.
Skin conditions can also be a symptom of other underlying problems such as a parasite infestation. Treatment is essential to prevent further complications from developing that could have serious consequences for the health of your pet.
If you think that your pet might be dealing with a skin issue, you should seek an appointment with a trained and experienced pet dermatologist as soon as possible. The more quickly a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can begin. In order to reach a diagnosis, your vet will need to eliminate as many potential causes as possible.
Some of the most common triggers of skin conditions in pets include the following:
Our pets can develop allergies in the same way that we can. Some of the most common are triggered by hypersensitivity to something in the environment around him, such as pollen, dust or mildew. Some animals can also develop sensitivity to allergens such as cigarette smoke and perfume.
Food sensitivity isn’t the most common cause of skin conditions, but it can definitely be a contributor. Some pets find that they develop an allergy to a substance that results in intense itching, or a rash. Beef, dairy and wheat tend to be amongst the biggest triggers. As you might imagine, pinpointing a food sensitivity is anything but straightforward, and your vet will help you create an elimination diet that will involve cutting our various foods at a time to try and determine the allergen causing your pet’s skin problems.
Parasites live on or inside your pet’s body, feeding off him to survive. External parasites are well-known for causing skin problems. Many cats and dogs develop allergic reactions to flea saliva in a skin condition that is known as parasitic dermatitis. Tick bites can also trigger a similar reaction. The result is excessive and uncontrollable itching that is often so severe that animals damage their skin, putting them at risk of pain and infection.
Whether bacterial, fungal or yeast, skin infections are surprisingly common amongst pets. As we know, some can be caused by prolonged or aggressive scratching, while other occur as a result of coming into contact with another infected animal.
If you would like to know more about the importance of pet dermatology or find out about our pet dermatology services at our veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, CO.