The warm weather is back – wonderful news, except for pets with allergic skin disease!!
Are you tired of constant scratching and licking? If so, please read on!
Why do pets scratch?
There are 3 broad causes……
- External parasites like fleas and ticks (and sarcoptic mange mites)
- Hypersensitivities (allergies) – due to environmental allergens like pollens, moulds and fungi, house dust and dust mites (called atopy), and adverse food reactions
- Secondary infections
So what can we do about our itchy pets?
Firstly, ensure good flea control. Ring your vet to choose the best product for your pet and to discuss environment control. Don’t forget tick protection too!
If your dog’s skin is smelly, greasy and inflamed this suggests secondary infections. Shampoos for yeast and bacterial infections and barrier treatments (spot on products and conditioners) can help. Despite this it is often necessary to see your vet to treat these infections.
Finally, if itch persists, consider allergies (hypersensitivities).
- Food elimination trial – please seek advice on diet selection and length of diet trial from your vet
- Skin testing by a specialist to identify the offending allergens (for atopy) so that a long “vaccine” course (allergen specific immunotherapy) can be used to desensitise your pet
- Trial treatment. Several drugs are available with varying side effects. There is a new drug for dogs which has less side effects and is very effective – your vet could discuss this with you
This broad discussion does not cover all causes (e.g. sarcoptic mange mites) that can cause itch, and it is very important to talk to your veterinarian about the best plan for your pet. With commitment and dedication these measures can ease the relentless misery of skin disease for your pet.
Written by Dr Chris Mather, Mosman Veterinary Hospital
Copyright ©2018 Mosman Vet
Posted on 12 January 2018
Last updated on 11 December 2019
Tagged with: dermatology