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Skin Diseases in Dogs

Skin Diseases in Dogs

There are many skin diseases that affect dogs, and these can cause many problems for the dog's hair and coat. This article provides a list of some skin diseases in dogs.
DogAppy Staff
Dogs are man's best friend, and are also affected by many illnesses like man. Dogs can develop many allergies and infections that lead to skin diseases. Skin disorders in dogs are amongst the most common conditions that a vet treats. Dogs can be infected with many parasites like fleas, mites, fungus, etc., that lead to skin disorders. Many times, dogs keep scratching an irritated skin area, that leads to the development of secondary bacterial infections.
Parasitic Skin Disorder
The most common causes of skin diseases are parasites. Fleas are often the main cause. The other parasites that lead to skin conditions are mites that causes 'mange'. Lice, ticks, etc. are other parasites that may cause these conditions. The dog becomes irritated with these parasites living in its coat and keeps scratching. This leads to many skin disorders.
Symptoms
In case of ear mites, the dog will experience severe irritation in its ears. You will observe that the dog keeps scratching the back of the ears. Many times, ticks, lice, and fleas feed on the dog's blood and cause itching. This also leads to severe scratching and the dog may suddenly become agitated for no apparent reason.
In case of sarcoptic mange, you will observe itching, hair loss, and crusting on the skin. The ears, front legs, chest, and abdomen of the dog become severely affected due to sarcoptic mange. In case of demodectic mange, the dog experiences itching and the skin becomes red and scaly. There are round patches on the skin due to hair loss, that look like 'ringworm'. Most of the time, the front legs are affected by the disease and in many cases, it is a generalized infection.
Treatment
The vet may advise cleaning the dog's ears thoroughly after sedating it. There will be a couple of follow-up treatments in which the doctor may apply ointments and solutions to kill the mites. He may also prescribe insecticidal dips, sprays, powders, etc. for home treatment. He may also prescribe shampoos, dog flea collars, foams, and floggers to get rid of lice, ticks and fleas.
Treatment for mange includes clipping the hair of the infected area and giving it an antiseptic wash. The vet may advise the use of anti-mite dips twice or thrice a week. You need to plug the dog's ears and protect the eyes with mineral oil before applying the dip. In case of infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Allergic Skin Disorders
Dogs can develop severe allergic reactions due to hypersensitivity to allergens. The most common cause of skin diseases due to allergy is flea saliva. Even a single flea bite can lead to a severe allergic reaction. Other causes include house dust, mold, and pollen. Sometimes, dogs develop 'contact allergy' due to chemicals in soaps, waxes, carpets, and flea collars. Insect bites and stings may also lead to skin disorders in dogs.
Symptoms
You may observe itching or red and moist spots on the dog's skin. These spots are known as 'hot spots'. The dog will continuously lick and scratch the affected skin areas. Flea allergies are seen on the back and near the tail. Pollen and dust allergies cause swelling of the face, feet, chest, and abdomen. You will observe allergies on the abdomen and the foot pads due to contact allergy.
Treatment
The vet may administer antihistamines and corticosteroids to provide relief form the intense itching. Immunotherapy is also tried by many vets to help control the hyposensitization in dogs.
Bacterial Skin Disorders
The main cause of this form of disease is Staphylococci. Staph is a common skin bacteria that is found on every dog. This opportunistic bacteria causes infections when it finds an opening in the body due to skin injury or continuous scratching.
Symptoms
You may observe yellow and itchy pustules on the dog's skin. The skin becomes ulcerated and red. As the infection advances, there are dry, crusted areas with hair loss on the skin, and you may notice an odor.
The most common skin area to be infected by bacteria is the chin, which is called 'chin acne'. Obese dogs, pug-nosed breeds, etc. also develop bacterial infections on the face, vulva, and lip region. Puppies are commonly affected by bacterial diseases between the toes, calluses of the elbows, etc.
Treatment
The vet may shave off the hair around the lesions and give the dog a bath with antiseptic shampoos. Antibiotics may be administered orally for 3 to 4 weeks. The vet may prescribe antiseptic shampoos, antibiotic ointments, and antibiotic tablets to get rid of the infections.
Fungal Skin Disorders
The most common causes of these disorders are microsporum and trichophyton. These fungal infections are commonly known as 'ringworm' diseases.
Symptoms
You will observe circular patches and dry and crusty skin on dogs infected with ringworm. The legs and head are commonly infected with ringworm that can spread to other parts of the body.
Treatment
Treatment for ringworm in dogs involves clipping of the hair and use of antifungal shampoos to bathe the dog. The vet will advise topical lime sulfur and systemics to be administered.
Hormonal Skin Disorders
The main causes are disorders in the hormonal secretions of the thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands, testicles, and ovaries. The hyper or hypo secretions lead to many skin disorders that cause changes in the hair, coat, and skin.
Symptoms
You will observe hair loss, thinner or thicker skin, and changes in the color of the skin and hair coat. The dog will not be itchy and scratchy due to hormonal skin disorders.
Treatment
It is a symptom of a serious disorder in dogs. The vet may treat the underlying disorder to treat the skin disorder. Many times, surgical neutering or spraying may help reduce the symptoms of hormonal skin disorders in dogs.
If you observe anything unusual in your dog, then speak to the vet. Dog health should be the number one factor in pet care. Give proper care and keep your dog in hygienic conditions. Grooming methods like brushing and bathing should be carried out at least once a week. Use antiseptic shampoos to reduce the chances of infections. A healthy skin is the sign of a healthy and happy dog.