Underneath their lovely coats, our pets have skin that is not dissimilar to our own and like us, their skin is their largest organ, responsible for acting as a protective barrier between the outside and inside of their body. Not only does it keep many bad organisms out, but it also helps your pet to regulate their temperature and other body systems. Although it plays an important role in the maintenance of your pet’s health, it can also be affected by a variety of problems during your pet’s lifetime.
One of the biggest misconceptions about skin issues is that they aren’t serious. However, they can have a significant impact not only on your pet’s quality of life but also on their health. In fact, when a skin disease is left untreated, it can often become much harder and more complicated to treat. For example, a fairly simple allergic skin reaction may cause your pet to scratch so much that they cause the skin to break and bacterial infection to set in. There are lots of different causes of skin problems in pets, including allergies, parasites, fungal infections and more.
Identifying that your pet has a skin problem isn’t always easy. Not only is the area covered in hair that makes it difficult to see it, but our animals are also particularly good at masking signs of illness or health issues. Often, a problem becomes fairly well advanced before many owners are able to realize that their furbaby needs medical assistance. However, this doesn’t mean that there are no symptoms. Being aware of what to look out for can make a big difference when it comes to getting veterinary intervention for a skin issue in your pet.
There are a fair few indicators that suggest that your pet could have a problem with their skin. These include the following:
Itching. Itching is a fairly common event for any furry pet, but when that itching gets out of control, it normally indicates that there is an underlying problem of some kind. How do you know if the itching is beyond the norm?
If your pet seems unable to stop itching, biting and grooming themselves even if presented with an opportunity to eat/play/engage in another activity.
If your pet’s scratching is keeping them or you awake at night.
If they are scratching so much it is causing hair loss.
If their itchiness is causing them distress
Sores and rashes. If your pet is scratching and biting at their skin persistently, the damage is to be expected. These sores can be uncomfortable for your pet, and they may not like you touching them or the skin around them. Although tricky to spot, you may be able to notice them when you groom your pet’s coat. Rashes can also occur as a result of something that your pet has come into contact with that they are allergic to, such as a certain plant or flea saliva. In fact, flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most common causes of excessive pet itching.
Hair loss. Hair loss is a very common side effect of excessive scratching. If you notice any bald patches on your pet and they have been itching, you should seek a veterinary appointment.
Dry skin. Dry, flaky skin can be a sign of a number of skin-based problems affecting your pet, including parasites that cause mange. Animals that have dry, flaky skin will appear to have the pet equivalent of dandruff and you may see skin flakes in their coat and on their skin when you part their fur.
Signs of infection. Bacterial skin infections are a common side effect of skin allergies and other similar problems. Signs include reddened skin that may be hot to the touch, pustules, crustiness, a foul odor, and pus/oozing.
If your pet has any of the symptoms listed above, we strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with our veterinary team so that we can evaluate their condition and get them the necessary treatment to alleviate their itch and the other effects that they are experiencing.
Contact our veterinary team in Kankakee, IL today.