Pet Skin Care, Allergy Testing & Treatment
“Pet a dog where he can’t scratch and he’ll always be your friend.” — Orville Mars
Skin disorders are one of the number one ailments we treat in pets. These disorders may be the result of infection or hormonal, allergic, or parasitic conditions. The many underlying causes of skin conditions can produce similar skin lesions.
At Village Veterinary Medical Center, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to successfully diagnose and manage skin disease. Untreated skin conditions in pets can cause long-term suffering and lead to other serious health problems. In addition, our veterinarians work with veterinary dermatologists to determine the most effective treatment options for suffering pets.
We offer dermatologic diagnostic tests, including skin scrapes, tape cytology, biopsy, allergy testing, and fungal and bacterial skin cultures.
Common Skin Problems in Pets
Working through the causes of skin irritation and inflammation is a step-wise process, looking for the most common causes and slowly ruling out the easy-to-treat issues. Our veterinarians investigate all possibilities, including parasite control, food allergies, environmental allergies, resistant bacterial infections, hiding yeast infections, and hormonal conditions. We always try simple tests and treatments before moving on to more expensive diagnostics. Sometimes, simple changes in flea control or adding in a basic antihistamine or medicated shampoo can make all the difference.
Some skin conditions in pets can be very frustrating to pet owners. Most people manifest allergies with sneezing and snuffles. Pets often manifest allergies through their skin. As with people, allergic conditions can only be managed, but not actually cured.
Pets with skin allergies are higher maintenance: having frequent outbreaks, requiring more veterinary visits, needing frequent medicated baths, imposing dietary restrictions, and sometimes ongoing medications. These patients are seen on a routine basis for ongoing follow-up care and treatment. Staying ahead of a skin condition is better than chasing an outbreak.
Some of the most common skin conditions we see include:
- Atopy (environmental allergy)
- Otitis (ear disease)
- Bacterial diseases (staph infection)
- Parasitic skin disease
- Flea allergy dermatitis
- Fungal skin diseases (such as ringworm)
- Food allergy
- Skin cancer
- Disease of the foot, toes, or nail bed
- Chin acne
- Alopecia (hair loss)
- Endocrine and metabolic skin diseases
- Auto-immune skin diseases
Read More About Pet Skin Problems and Care
The first symptoms of an allergic reaction in pets can include scratching, licking, biting, and rubbing the skin, which can then lead to secondary infections. Allergy treatments vary. In some cases, hypo-sensitization may be helpful; medicated shampoos, rinses, and topical treatments often provide relief.
- Atopy is an itchy skin disease related to environmental or food allergies. Treatment is often long term and may include dietary supplements, antihistamines, and steroids.
- Contact allergy, or irritant contact dermatitis, is diagnosed through history of contact and clinical presentation. Treatment involves washing the exposed areas to remove the irritant and possibly steroids.
- Food allergies often manifest themselves as skin problems, as well. Typical treatment is trial feeding of hypoallergenic diets.
Any symptoms of an allergy should initiate a call to us, as your pet’s health and comfort is at risk.
This is a helpful discussion about Allergies in Pets.
A bacterial skin infection is often secondary to another underlying disease such as an allergy. Treatment usually includes antibiotics, either orally or topically. It is necessary to seek veterinary help for a bacterial infection.
External parasites, such as mites, fleas, and ticks, break the skin barrier causing bacterial infections and allergic conditions. Treatment depends on the parasites present and includes antiparasitic drugs and antiparasitic shampoos and rinses.
Acute Moist Dermatitis (Hot Spots)
Hot spots usually occur as your pet tries to relieve itself from some pain or itch. Treatment includes thorough cleaning, topical and systemic antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory agents.
Malassezia sp., dermatophytosis (ring worm), dermal coccidioidomycosis, and other fungal infections are diagnosed by a culture of the organisms, microscopic examination of skin scrapings, and blood tests. Treatment includes topical and systemic antifungal drugs and antifungal shampoos and rinses.
Autoimmune Skin Diseases
There are several autoimmune skin diseases. Treatment includes combinations of dietary supplementation, steroids, and immune modulation drugs.
“The entire staff truly cares about the health and quality of life of their client’s pets... and the awareness of the feelings of the pet owner. In this day of awful or non-existent “customer service,” this Clinic proves daily that care and compassion can come naturally. One could not ask for more... ”
—Judy, Vonore, TN
“From the greeting you receive opening the double doors into the bright airy reception, to the detailed, kind compassionate care given to every animal and their humans, you will feel as if you have come home to your pet’s family.”
“The caliber of the medical staff is exceptional. Even going beyond the education and the experience of the staff is their philosophy of superior patient care. The staff treats our pets as they would their own.”
“I have complete confidence in the judgment of the veterinarians. They have gotten to know me and my feelings are considered when treatment options are presented with the final decision being mine.”