Seeing our pets uncomfortable in any sense can be distressing to us and so knowing what the cause of any discomfort is can be the best way to stop it happening or resolve quickly if needed. Here we'll explore three of the most common skin complaints dogs can encounter to help you as we head into the warmer months.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis (Summer Eczema)
The most common allergic skin disease, this allergy develops when certain dogs become hypersensitive to flea bites. The allergic agent is contained in the saliva or mouth parts of the flea and is injected into the dog when the flea feeds. The disease usually occurs during the warm months and the allergy begins near the tail-head of the rump of the dog.
You might notice your dog will scratch or rub this area intensely, causing the hair to fall out and even in certain cases, ulcerating the skin if it has been severely irritated.
Although the disease occurs more commonly in the Summer months, many dogs will show signs throughout the year and can cause constant irritation to hypersensitive dogs.
Treatment is usually aimed at flea control on the dog, on other pets, and in the home environment, such as dog beds and carpet where fleas can burrow. In addition, specific therapy can be instituted to control the signs and affected dogs. Cortisone-type drugs will relieve the symptoms of the allergic reaction. Some dog owners have admitted that injections of flea allergy extracts have also been useful in helping certain dogs with their flea allergy.
Hot Spots (Acute Moist Dermatitis)
Hot spots, known medically as “Acute Moist Dermatitis”, is a troublesome skin condition in certain longhair breeds of dogs including Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Malamutes, Collies, and German Shepherds.
Many types of skin irritation can cause the dog to inflict self trauma to the skin and in the case of hot spots, they can develop quickly and without much warning, as Dr Karen Becker explains in this video below.
Ringworm, medically referred to as “Dermatomycosis”, is a fungus infection of the skin, most commonly found in young dogs and exhibits with circular or irregular areas of hair loss which occurs on the face, body, and legs. The skin in affected areas is usually dry and scaly and this disease can be transmitted from animal to animal, from soil to animal, and even from animal to man.
Definitive diagnosis is best achieved through culture and identification of the fungal agent. Many chronic diseases that do not readily respond to treatment are mistakenly diagnosed as fungal infections. These mistakes can be avoided by the use of fungal cultures. Therapy is specific and will result in complete remission of the disease. Topical and systemic drugs are used.
If you suspect your dog may be suffering from any skin condition, it's best to seek medical advice from your vet as soon as possible to get your dog on the road to recovery.
Let us know if your dog has suffered from any of these common skin allergies and diseases, we'd love to hear from you and include your dog's story in an upcoming feature.