Skin Care

Diagnosis and treatment of skin-related conditions that can cause discomfort, pain, and illness.

Dermatology is the branch of medicine concerning the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases of the skin, ears, hair and nails. According to various sources, dermatology related pet insurance claims account for nearly 75% of all submitted claims.

What are the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of bacterial skin infections?

Bacterial skin infections in dogs are typically caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus pseudintermedius. This is a common bacteria found on the skin of dogs. An infection will occur when damage to the surface of the skin occurs, such as that caused by excessive scratching, licking, chewing or other trauma. The easiest way to diagnose a bacterial skin infection can be done by obtaining a sample from the affected area and looking at it with a microscope (referred to as cytology). The bacteria appear round or spherical. There are other pathogens (bacteria, fungi, etc.) that can be found associated with skin infections, which is why it is important to perform cytology, as different treatments may be necessary. Antimicrobial resistance is an increasingly important concern. If your pet isn’t responding to antibiotics, it is important to recheck with your veterinarian.

What are the causes, symptoms, and treatment for ringworm?

Ringworm, also known as Dermatophytosis is a fungal infection that can affect both people and animals (zoonotic). It is present in the environment. Typical clinical signs in pets include areas of hair loss with redness. Lesions can be anywhere on the body but are commonly found on the head, shoulders and front limbs. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of clinical signs but can include topical treatments (bathing, sprays, wipes, creams) and systemic treatments (oral antifungal medications).

What are the causes and treatment of allergic skin diseases?

“Allergy” is a common term used to describe various conditions in pets that are characterized by itching, scratching, rashes, ear infections, hair loss/hair pulling, hives, etc. The three main causes of allergies are flea bites (flea allergic dermatitis), food (adverse food reaction/food allergy), and environmental allergies (atopic dermatitis) such as dust, mould, pollens etc. In general, the immune system is reacting in an abnormal way to normal stimuli. Treatment for “allergies” is complex and generally involves identification of the underlying cause, control of inflammation and itching and helping to prevent and/or minimize recurrence of clinical signs.

What are the causes and treatment for parasitic skin diseases?

The major parasites that can cause skin disease include sarcoptic mange, fleas, lice, chyletiella (walking dandruff), demodectic mange, ear mites and ticks. There are various medications available to treat all of these. Physical exam and cytology is the best way to diagnose these.

What are the causes and treatment for hormonal skin diseases?

Common endocrine conditions resulting in skin disease include hypothyroidism and hypoadrenocorticism. Less commonly alopecia X and tail gland hyperplasia (stud tail) are seen and result in skin changes. Each of these conditions has different causes, diagnostic tests and treatments available.

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