Though Golden Retrievers are popular for their lush coat, they are also prone to skin problems. Here is a brief overview about the common skin diseases in these dogs.
Golden retrievers are indeed one of the best dog breeds, with a great amount of charm as well as intelligence. However, they are also prone to certain health problems, especially those affecting the skin. In spite of proper care, these dogs may sometimes develop certain skin problems that may go unnoticed due to the lush golden coat. So, it is very much important to check for skin changes, if you own this dog.
Skin Diseases in Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers are prone to skin problems that may be caused by various factors, like allergens, heredity, skin parasites, fungi, and even cancer. It has also been noticed that, most of these dogs have a sensitive skin that needs special products, like medicated shampoos.
One of the common Golden Retriever skin diseases, hot spots is a condition that is otherwise known as acute moist dermatitis, moist eczema, or summer sores. This condition is characterized by sores or lesions that can be swollen and itchy. In some cases, pus-filled sores or patches may also be seen. Primarily, hot spots are caused by excessive itching, scratching, or licking of a specific body part. Later, secondary infections may be caused by bacteria.
The initial symptoms (like itching, scratching and licking) may be caused by various factors, like allergies, flea bites, infections, and chemical irritants, like pesticides. As their coat is too thick, moisture is trapped easily, thereby paving way to bacterial infections. Hot spots can cause severe itching and pain. If not treated properly, the condition may spread to other parts of the body. Treatment includes medication, like antihistamines and antibiotics. Treatment must be supplemented with a good diet containing meat.
Allergies are common in Golden Retrievers. They can be allergic to certain food items, pollen, weeds, grass, and certain chemicals. Allergies cause itching, which in turn leads to skin problems. This is one of the prime reasons for skin irritation in these dogs. Such itching may lead to secondary conditions, like seborrhea, hot spots and eczema. Allergies are treated with antihistamines, cortisone and sometimes, antibiotics.
This condition can be caused by factors, like allergies, thyroid disorders and pancreatic diseases. Heredity is another factor that is linked to this condition. In such cases, the condition has to be managed properly. Otherwise, treating the underlying causes may provide relief from seborrhea. The most common symptoms of this condition include yellowish scales that may crust over, greasy coat, offending odor, and itchy skin. Seborrhea may also lead to secondary infections. Management of the condition is done with specific shampoos and conditioners, along with a diet, as recommended by the vet.
Mange is a canine skin condition that is caused by mites. There are two types of mange – sarcoptic mange and demodectic mange. While sarcoptic mange is characterized by severe itching, open sores, and crusts on the ears and elbows; demodectic mange may not cause much problems, other than mild hair loss and small patches. However, sarcoptic mange is easier to cure, as compared to demodectic mange, which is often found to be inherited. Both forms are highly contagious. Antibiotics and topical medicines are prescribed for treating mange.
Other Skin Problems
Golden Retrievers can also get affected by parasites, like fleas and ticks that may cause itching and secondary diseases. In such cases, flea shampoos and tick repellents have to be used, as per the instructions of the vet. You must also be cautious about the skin growths in your dog. Such growths could be either benign or malignant. Some of the common skin growths include acne, abscess, lipoma, and papilloma. If you notice any such growth, contact the vet and get it diagnosed and treated.
If you have a Golden Retriever, make sure to check its coat as well as the skin regularly, so that skin problems can be detected at the earliest. Regular brushing and grooming may also help to prevent such problems to some extent.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.