Your pet’s fur coat offers them lots of warmth and protection, but it could be hiding a skin condition. Like us, our pets can develop rashes, infections, and scaly patches on their skin, and these are not usually obvious until they begin causing your pet considerable discomfort. Many pets are affected by dermatological conditions due to allergies, parasites, or an autoimmune disorder. At Homestead Animal Hospital, we offer pet dermatology services because we know how severe and painful these conditions can be for your loved one.
Allergies in Pets
Allergies can lead to a variety of symptoms, including severe itching. However, the most important variable that needs to be identified is what could be causing your pet’s allergies in the first place. Pet allergies are generally seasonal, but they can also be triggered by exposure to allergens (like dust mites), a certain diet, or even a flea bite. Itching is one of the most common signs of an allergy in your pet, and their incessant scratching can cause serious damage to their skin. We can run allergy tests or conduct a food trial to try and isolate the cause, and proceed with a treatment plan that may include periodic injections, special shampoos, topical ointments, or medication therapy.
Common Dermatological Problems
We see all kinds of skin problems in our patients, ranging from mild to severe. However, even the mildest skin condition should be brought to our attention, so we can begin treating it as soon as possible. Common skin disorders in pets include:
- Bacterial dermatitis
- Food allergy dermatitis
- Yeast infections (chronic)
- Ringworm (a fungal infection)
- Atopy (autoimmune)
- Sarcoptic mange
- Demodectic mange
Along with allergy testing, we can do a skin scraping test or “itchy dog profile” if we suspect your pet has one of the conditions listed above. Skin scraping allows us to examine your pet’s hair follicles and the thickness of the epidermis. This procedure is often used to look for demodectic or sarcoptic mange. The itchy dog profile can help us diagnose a ringworm infection, sarcoptic mange or an underlying systemic cause such as hypothyroidism or hyperadrenocorticism. In more difficult cases, we can perform a skin biopsy and culture.
We also offer Cytopoint injections. These injections use advanced monoclonal antibody technology and are given once monthly on average, but can last up to 8 weeks. Cytopoint injections are safe for puppies, as well as geriatric patients with prior health conditions.
Signs of a Skin Problem in Your Pet
Below are some common symptoms associated with allergies and skin disorders in pets.
- Raw, red skin
- Hair loss or patches of missing fur
- Hot spots
- Rough, scaly patches
- A dull or greasy coat
- Unpleasant odor
- Excessive licking and scratching
- Chewing and biting at feet or other affected areas
If you detect any of these symptoms in your companion, call us at (518) 664-2122 so we can treat the problem before it progresses.