Skin Care

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

Skin conditions are one of the most common reasons for visits to the veterinary clinic. Dogs with skin conditions are often very itchy and uncomfortable. There are many reasons for skin disorders, and it can take a bit of detective work to determine the underlying cause.

Skin is a protective barrier to the outside world. When this barrier becomes compromised, it can become host to secondary infections including bacteria, yeast and parasites.

To determine the underlying cause of skin infections, it is imperative to give a detailed history as to how long the signs have been going on for, and what time of year the symptoms seem to appear. It is very common for your veterinarian to perform diagnostics such as skin scrapings to look for mites (such as Demodex or Sarcoptes), as well as cytology to look for bacteria or yeast on the skin.

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

Bacterial skin infections often present when the skin is compromised due to underlying conditions such as allergies, parasites or hormonal diseases. Bacterial skin infections usually present with itchy, red, inflamed skin with multiple red bumps and possible areas of hair loss. To diagnose a bacterial infection, your veterinarian will perform cytology under a microscope. Treatment involves long courses of antibiotics, either topically or orally.

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

Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection of the skin that often presents with areas of patchy or circular hair loss, scales, areas of red skin, and affected animals are usually very itchy. It is often found in either; young, older or immunocompromised animals. It can also occur in areas such as shelters. A diagnosis of ringworm involves a fungal culture, microscopic exam and possibly a biopsy. Treatment includes either a topical or oral antifungal medication, with repeat fungal cultures to ensure the infection has been treated appropriately.

What are the causes and treatment of allergic skin diseases?

Allergic skin disease occurs when a dog develops an allergic reaction to either something in the environment such as grass or pollen, their food, or to the saliva of fleas.

Diagnosis can be challenging and often involves a feeding trial to rule out food allergies, as well as allergy testing to determine environmental allergies.

Treatment depends on the diagnosis and can involve feeding a hypoallergenic diet or serum allergy injections.

What are the causes and treatment of parasitic skin diseases?

Parasites such as fleas, sarcoptic, or Demodex mites can cause very itchy skin infections in dogs. They are often diagnosed using skin scrapings. Treatment involves either oral or topical anti-parasitic medications.

What are the causes and treatment of hormonal skin diseases?

Endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism can also cause skin disorders. Diagnosis is based on blood tests. Treatment for the underlying hormonal disease often helps the skin disorders.

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