Humans and their dog and cat companions share many of the same health conditions, and among the most troublesome and common of these are skin conditions caused by allergies and other environmental factors that can lead to irritated, itching, flaking, and inflamed skin, as well as hair loss and other unpleasant symptoms. Veterinary dermatology, or more simply stated pet skin care, is a specialized discipline that concentrates on the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions in animals, most commonly cats, dogs, and other household pets, although it can also be applied to exotic pets and farm animals. Skin conditions are very common in pets, and even a minor problem can make their lives miserable. The itching that usually accompanies skin conditions leads to your pet constantly scratching, biting, and licking at their skin, resulting in pain and swelling, open wounds, and patches of missing fur. Eventually, if left untreated, this can lead to more serious health problems from infection and sepsis. Fortunately, most of the skin conditions that dogs and cats usually suffer from can be treated successfully with regular pet skin care from your vet. At the Park View Veterinary Hospital in Boonton, NJ, we can provide your cat or dog with a complete regimen of pet skin care to stop the itching, whimpering, and suffering and leaving your pet healthy, happy, and well.
Causes And Symptoms Of Skin Conditions In Pets
Cats and dogs occasionally suffer from minor pet skin irritations that go away on their own after several days or after a good bath and shampoo. Skin conditions in dogs and cats that are persistent enough to require pet skin care are most commonly caused by various types of allergies and parasites. There are many different factors present in your pet’s living environment that can cause an allergic reaction of the skin in animals that are sensitive to them. These include household cleaning products and other chemicals, indoor and outdoor plants, furniture and carpeting materials, certain ingredients in their food, mold, dust mites, fleas, chiggers, bacteria, and fungus, just to name a few of the most prominent possibilities. These and other factors in the average pet’s living environment can cause a condition called allergic dermatitis, identified by the itching and inflamed skin and bumpy rashes it causes. The itching and discomfort caused by allergic dermatitis force your pet to constantly scratch, bite, and lick at their skin in an attempt to find relief which, as you know, if you’ve ever had a similar skin condition, is only temporary. This scratching and biting behavior causes pet hair loss and raw, open wounds which are an open invitation to infection by bacteria and fungus. If left untreated, an infection can eventually spread throughout your pet’s body, possibly causing serious damage to the internal organs, including their heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs. Some types of skin problems in pets, like ringworm and mange, are highly communicable and can easily be passed on to humans and other pets. Unfortunately, at this time, there are no lasting solutions to skin allergies in pets, although research into permanent cures is ongoing. But with proper pet skin care from a qualified veterinarian, they can be controlled and your pet can enjoy lasting relief with regular treatments.
You should be aware and alert for the symptoms of skin conditions in your pet that can be alleviated with the appropriate pet skin care, including the following:
- Constant scratching, biting, and licking
- Swollen, dry, patchy, or scaly skin
- Excessive dandruff
- Skin rashes
- Missing fur
- Open scratches and cuts
- Chronic ear infections
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Evidence of fleas and mites
If you see any of these signs of skin problems in your pet and they persist over time, you should bring them to our pet hospital as soon as possible for a thorough examination.
Pet Skin Care At Park View Veterinary Hospital
When you bring your cat or dog to your veterinarian in Boonton, for diagnosis and pet skin care treatment, the first thing your vet will do is thoroughly review your pet’s medical history, ask you questions about their home environment, lifestyle, and diet, and then perform a complete physical examination. They’ll also order testing of samples to be conducted in our diagnostic lab to detect and identify any positive results for allergies. Sometimes, merely a change in diet can greatly improve or eliminate their symptoms, and pet flea and tick control are very important. Your vet may also recommend changes in their lifestyle habits and living environment, and prescribe special shampoos and skin treatments, pet dandruff treatment, pet eczema treatment, ear flushes, allergy medications, and vaccines, or a combination of products you can use to treat your pet at home.
Another type of treatment available for treating allergic skin conditions in pets is called hyposensitization therapy, which can be very effective once the cause of the allergic reaction has been identified. It involves a veterinary dermatologist applying tiny concentrations of the specific allergen your pet is having a reaction to directly to the skin to slowly condition their immune system to accept the presence of the allergen in their body. This can eventually eliminate the reaction and the symptoms.
Some types of pet skin care and pet allergy treatments can show rapid results, while others work over the longer term. With the appropriate testing, diagnosis, and treatment, the vast majority of cats and dogs will enjoy a significant improvement of their symptoms.
Another very important part of effective pet skin care is regular bathing and grooming. Good grooming doesn’t just keep your pet looking their best, it also helps to keep their skin, coat, and nails healthy and strong. Regular baths with medicated shampoos or high-quality standard products will help to eliminate dead skin, parasites, and dirt particles and keep their coat sleek and shiny. Regular brushing serves to distribute the natural oils their skin and fur produce, moisturizing and protecting and leaving the coat shiny and soft. Trimming the hair away from their eyes and ears and around their paws helps to prevent dirt and grime buildup and keeps them from chewing at tangles and knots and possibly breaking the skin. Keeping the nails clipped short prevents walking problems caused by overgrown claws and keeps them from scratching up the furniture or themselves. Consider investing in professional grooming services for best results.
If your pet is exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a skin condition or allergic dermatitis, the Park View Veterinary Hospital in Boonton, NJ, can help to bring them relief. We are always happy to welcome new patients. Contact us online to schedule an appointment.