Skin disorders are usually uncomfortable for your pet and frustrating for you. Pets can
quickly scratch themselves to infection and hair loss, therefore the underlying cause
needs to be identified. The first step is to rule out the obvious; fleas, scabies, ringworm
and yeast. If the problem persists, allergies or less commonly, systemic disease, should
be considered as the primary problem.
Flea allergy is the number one cause of dog and cat dermatitis. Even if you find no fleas,
your pet may still have been bitten. A single bite from a romp outside can itch for up to two
weeks. Your veterinarian can prescribe and educate you on the best products available
for your pet’s complete flea control.
Even if your pet has eaten the same food for many years, an allergy can develop to one
of the ingredients at any time. The most common food allergens in dogs are beef and dairy,
therefore his treats or heartworm prevention may be the culprit. A new diet (3 month food trial)
prescribed by your veterinarian can pinpoint this problem.
Seasonal allergy, called atopy, can be a problem year-round here in Florida. After all the
other problems have been excluded, either skin or blood testing is used to find the trees,
grasses, molds, etc. that are causing the allergy. If positive, a serum is made and you can
be taught to give allergy shots at home.
As you can see, there is a lot to be ruled out and a quick fix is rare. Fortunately, with your
commitment, you and your veterinarian can take this path to wellness together.
By Dr. Carin C. Corbo, The Animal Medical Hospital of Naples, 239-513-0213
as seen in “Pet Pages”