Top 5 skin issues pets suffer from in Onalaska, WI

One of the most common issues Veterinary practices in Onalaska, WI see are skin issues with pets. Some are easy to treat and some may require long term care.

We’ve identified five of the most common skin issues and given you some idea of how they can be diagnosed and treated.

1. Hot Spots

Hot spots can be found in dogs and cats. Pyotraumatic dermatitis is a sudden acute localized inflammation of the animal’s skin and can be quite painful. It can cause lesions that discharge and cause hair loss.They can occur in different areas, but generally are found around the ears and flanks of your pet. Your pet may bite or itch, opening the lesions and spreading infection. Flea bite allergies, inhalant/contact allergies, and/or food allergies are the most likely cause. Clipping the hair around the lesions and cleaning a veterinarian approved antiseptic pet shampoo or soap as well as injectable or oral steroids, topical antihistamines or antibiotic sprays can treat or prevent secondary bacterial infections. 

2. Atopic dermatitis (atopy)

Atopic dermatitis is a condition in dogs and cats caused by inhalant/contact allergies. Molds, grasses, trees, ragweed, and pollens can cause your pet to itch and lick itself. Ears and feet are the most common areas that are affected and secondary may develop, leading to odor, discharge, scabbing, and crusting of these areas. Pets are more likely to develop hives and are generally seasonal. Many pets that have Atopy also suffer from flea bite allergies and food allergies. Your veterinary practice will perform a blood and/or skin allergy testing to confirm diagnosis and cyclic polypeptides may be prescribed. Steroid therapy, oral antihistamines, topical therapies, and allergy desensitization therapy may be recommended.

3. Dry skin

Dry skin can be caused from nutritional imbalances and deficiencies or allergic skin disorders such as atopy, food allergies, and flea bite allergies. Pets with digestive disorders or intestinal parasites may be more likely to develop dry skin and pets with diseases of the liver, kidneys, or even cancer can also experience dry skin including flaky skin or dandruff. Pets will exhibit more shedding and hair loss Treatment is usually special shampoos and conditioners to help treat your pet's dry skin. 

4. Hair loss

Hair loss and excessive shedding can be caused by diet, including food allergies. Inhalant/contact allergies, and/or flea bite allergies can also be a cause.Mange and ringworm, as well as bacterial skin infections can also cause problems with your pet's coat. Thyroid, liver or kidney diseases, or pets with cancer may also develop problems with hair loss and excessive shedding. Patchy thinning of the coat, or mass hair loss can be signs.  Lesions, papules, pustules, crusting, scabbing, or discharge can occur due to scratching and biting. Depending on the cause you may need to work with your veterinary practice to come up with a different diet, get special shampoos, or supplements to adjust the enzymes in their digestive system.

5. Mange

Demodectic mange is most common due to the overgrowth of an external skin parasite. Pets may develop demodectic mange typically as puppies and kittens, or as senior pets, due to genetic, immune-deficiency, immunosuppressive medical conditions, and various medications. Mange generally affects your pets in the hind legs, abdomen, front legs and face. It can lead to crusting, scabbing, discharge, and infection. It’s usually diagnosed by skin scrape and microscopic exam. Bi-weekly dips with approved products and the use of Ivermectin and Milbemycin may be prescribed as well as benzoyl peroxide shampoo to help flush the mites from your pet's hair.

Scabies mites are less common, but cause intense itching, especially around thinly haired areas of a dog's body, including the ear lobes, elbows, hocks, and abdomen. The mites are difficult to find and treatment usually involves Ivermectin and other topical products. Demodectic mange isn’t contagious, but  scabies (sarcoptic mange) is contagious to other pets and people. Much like with fleas, the environment needs to be treated as well as the pet.

Most pet skin conditions in Onalaska, WI start with your pet scratching and chewing. It’s not abnormal for your pet to do so, but if they are scratching excessively in one area, there may be a condition that needs to be addressed.