Dog skin disorders
"Canine allergies or not?"
What are some dog skin disorders and what can we do about them? A dogs skin and coat are a general indicator of its health. A healthy coat is full and lush, with a sheen indicating proper nutrition. The skin underneath is healthy when there are no bumps, itchy spots, flakes or rashes.
There are numerous skin disorders that affect dogs, some are easily remedied and some need proper veterinary care to resolve. Some just need a high quality shampoo available at your local pet store or online pet distributor. These include mild itching, dandruff and dry flaky skin.
Others as listed below need special medications from your vet to help relieve or cure completely. These fall into several categories; immune related disorders, infectious skin diseases, flea allergy dermatitis, hereditary and developmental disorders and cutaneous manifestations of internal disease.
Immune related disorders
These are disorders typically result from deficiencies in immune system function. Some examples include increased susceptability to demodectic mange, recurrent skin infections such as Malassezia infection or bacterial infections. This can also include hypersensitivity disorders such as atopic dermatitis, pemphigus and discoid lupus erythematosus. There are several treatment methods your vet can recommend including, special shampoos, steroids, oral and topical antibiotics. Sometimes it can be as simple as the vet clipping the hair around the lesion to promote healing.
Infectious skin diseases
These diseases include contagious and non-contagious infections and infestations. These can include parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases. One of the most commonly seen in dog skin disorders is Sarcoptic canine scabies.
Dogs can frequently be infested with contagious lice and mites. These will require medication available only from your veterinarian. This category also includes ringworm, which is a fungal skin infection morecommonly seen in puppies and is also treated by your vet.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis Dog Allergies
This is a eczamatous itchy skin disease caused when affected dogs develop an allergy to the chemicals in flea saliva. Dogs with flea allergy dermatitis commonly show hair loss and skin rash on the lower back, upper tail, neck and down the haunches. Primary relief can be offered by sprays and creams offered at pet stores online and locally. The cure is in flea killing products that will keep your dog free from parasites. Many different types are available. These need to be administered year round as fleas do not die or hibernate in winter.
Hereditary and developmental dog skin disorders
This group is inherent abnormalities of skin structure or function. They include seborrheic dermatitis, ichyyosis, skin fragilty syndrome, canine follicular dysplasia and hypotrichosis. These are typically manifested in purebreeds and can be hard to treat. A sure issue with the inbreeding of these dogs is the perpetuation and possibly the worsening of these conditions.
Cutaneous manifestations of internal disease
Some systemic diseases become symptomatic in skin disorders. These include many endocrine (hormonal) abnormalities, such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's Syndrome (hyperadrenalcorticism) and tumors of the ovaries or testicles. These are conditions which need to be addressed immediately by a veterinarian to determine treatment and treatability. For many of these there are medications to alleviate the condition and possible separate treatments for the skin issues.