Did you know that your pet’s skin is an organ, just like their kidneys or lungs? It has the very important function of protecting the muscles, ligaments, bones, and internal organs. Unfortunately, like all other parts of their bodies, the skin is susceptible to many problems that come under general categories such as allergies, infections, and parasites, endocrine disorders and others.
Solving the puzzle of your dog or cat’s dermatology issue requires one or more methods to be able to identify disease and begin treating your pet. At Santa Fe Pet Clinic, we use an array of diagnostic tools to help us determine the underlying cause to your pet’s skin issue. These may include:
- skin scrapings
- fungal and bacterial cultures
- allergy testing
- food trials
In some cases, blood work may be helpful in determining even more serious issues such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease.
Symptoms of Skin Problems in Pets
Once a diagnosis has been reached, treating skin conditions can include a variety of options such as the use of oral, injectable, or topical medications, and often prescription shampoo. Also, special allergen free food for food allergy related skin issues could be included in the treatment plan. Some challenging skin diseases due to the underlying cause cannot be cured and can only be managed with sometimes lengthy or involved therapy. But thankfully we can offer effective treatment to relieve most skin diseases and restore health and good quality of life. In the more complicated cases, we may need to see your pet more frequently so we can monitor their progress and adjust the direction or duration of treatment.
Veterinary Dermatology Treats Common Skin Conditions & Pet Allergies
If your pet is frequently itching, scratching or biting his skin, he may be suffering from an allergy or skin condition. Veterinary dermatology treats common skin conditions and pet allergies, addressing both the underlying cause for your pet’s discomfort as well as providing immediate relief from painful symptoms. Our veterinarian Dr. Wegele has significant experience treating pet allergies and skin conditions. More severe cases may need to be referred to a specialist in dermatology and allergies. If Dr. Wegele feels more intensive treatment, testing and care is needed he will refer you to a specialist in the area.
Food Allergies in Pets
Food allergies to common pet food ingredients, including beef and chicken byproducts, diary, soy, wheat and corn, also cause pets to itch or scratch their skin. In addition to itchy skin, food allergies can trigger gastrointestinal upset and ear inflammation. Pets with a food allergy may bite or scratch at their skin, frequently bite or lick their paws, and even drag their rear across the ground in an attempt to scratch it. Since pets with food allergies are often allergic to more than one food ingredient, diagnosing a food allergy can be a complicated process.
Other Skin Conditions: Mange, Ringworm, etc.
In addition to treating pet allergies, our veterinary dermatology team also treats common skin conditions such as mange and ringworm. Ringworm is a common bacterial infection that can affect both cats and dogs. Pets with a ringworm infection have circular lesions on their limbs and head. The skin will be flaky and some pets may even appear to be “bald.” Ringworm can easily spread to other pets, so prompt treatment is critical. Mange is caused by tiny parasites called mites; symptoms of mange include intense scratching and biting of the skin.