01254 53622(24 hour emergency)

Itchy, Scratchy, Spotty, Licky Dog.

dog scratching on white background

Read our article below to help you decide if your dog has a skin problem and if you could help by bringing them in to see one of the vets here at Daisy Street Vets.

What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Disease In The Dog?

1. Behavioural Signs:

Dogs obviously do scratch from time to time but repetative scratching of the flanks and or ears with the hind legs is an obvious sign of skin disease. Shaking of the head often indicates ear irritation (ear disease is often just another form of skin disease). However, less obvious, is a dog chewing or nibbling at their skin or feet. Excessive licking of the feet is a sign of skin disease.They are licking because the skin between their toes is irritating them (itchy or sore). A lot of owners (and vets too!) often misinterprate excessive licking of the feet as grooming or a habit.

Our Vet Sam Says "My dog licks his feet a lot because he likes to clean himself" or " My dog licks her feet a lot. It is just a habit" These are the words we often hear when we see a dog come into the surgery with stained feet, especially during the summer months. But did you know that this could be one of the tell-tale signs that your pet has a treatable skin disease?

Does your dog have brown or pink staining between its toes? If it does, it may indicate that they are excessively licking and that salts from their saliva are staining the hair between their toes.

2. Physical Signs:

Bald patches, red patches, spots, thickened skin, scabs, rashes, lumps, bumps, smelly skin, black pigment, stained hair are all signs of skin disease.

If you are concerned that your dog is showing any of the above symptoms it is advisable to ring and make an appointment to see the vet. Phone 01254 53622. Please do not bath your dog before your appointment (lots of owners do this as they want their dog to look nicer for the vet) as you can wash valuable evidence away that could otherwise be usefull to the vet.

Common Causes Of Skin Disease In The Dog

There are hundreds if not thousands of different causes of skin problems in dogs. The thickest books on our shelves are the dermatology (skin disease) books! But there are some very common causes.

1. Fleas and Flea Allergies

Treating Flea Allergies in Vets BlackburnThe most common cause of skin problems is the flea. It’s amazing how something so small (only about 4 mm long) can cause so much irritation. Many animals develop an allergy to flea bites and a single flea or bite can make them intensely itchy. An affected dog will nibble their back and scratch their flanks. Fleas can be quite difficult to find. Fortunately flea problems can be relatively easy to treat. Fleas are the first thing we check for in a scratchy dog or cat. We have some very good flea treatments at the surgery. Many treatments bought from pet shops, supermarkets and pet supermarkets simply do not work well enough. If your dog is licking or chewing its' feet excessively it is unlikely to be a flea allergy.

2. Allergies (Allergic Eczema, Atopy) Licking Feet, Scratching, Chewing

Treating allergies in Vets BlackburnDogs whose skins are affected by allergies commonly chew or lick their feet a lot, can have recurrent ear infections and can scratch a lot. if your dog shows any of these symptoms it would be best to make an appointment with one of the vets.

House dust mites are common allergens as are allergies to foods. However there are many potential allergens which will vary for each individual dog. It can be a challenge to get to the root of the problem. In dogs, skin allergies are called "atopy". These skin allergies can start as young as 6 months of age.Some animals are allergic to all sorts of things, such as things they eat (e.g. beef, gluten, dairy products), touch (e.g. fabric conditioners and household chemicals) or things that are found in the environment (grass pollen, house dust etc).

Dog skin allergy (atopy) is relatively easy to control in most cases. Unfortunately most dogs require life long medication to control skin allergies. We have very good treatments available, injections, tablets, special foods, essential oils and shampoos. Once a diagnosis is made the vet will advise you of the most suitable treatment for your dog.

We now have a new safe injection that naturally blocks the allergy itch cycle. The injection begins working within 8 hours and delivers a full month of relief from itchy scratchy skin. The injection is a biological medicine that targets and neutralises interleukin (IL)-31, a key itch-inducing cytokine in atopic dermatitis. It can be used in dogs of all ages, even those with other diseases as well as alongside many common medications. The injection is very safe and is repeated when signs of skin allergy is returning, usually every 4-8 weeks. Click this link for more details.

It is now possible to find out exactly which things make an individual itchy and to produce a vaccine to desensitise them to those things. This is often performed on just a blood sample. See "Allervet" for more information. The vet may suggest this approach for more difficult cases.

Don't worry. If you suspect your dog has a skin problem, simply make an appointment with one of our vets who will run through all the treatment and diagnostic options available, enabling you to choose the best treatment for you and your pet.

3. Skin infections

Yeast and bacteria infections are common and can occur but usually occur as a result of another itchy, scratchy problems or underlying disease such as thyroid disease (hypothyroidism). They need treatment with antibiotics, ointments or shampoos and the underlying cause needs to be addressed. Swabs may be taken to identify the infection or skin scrapings to identify yeast thus allowing the correct treatment to be prescribed. The skin is often infected in "sweaty" areas, ear infections, foot infections, anal gland infections are all common and in many cases have an underlying cause.

4. Internal disorders that cause skin problems:

Disorders of the liver, kidney, digestive system and/or hormone problems such as an underactive thyroid can all cause skin problems. Many skin disorders are a mixture of several problems. Auto-immune, genetic, breed related, lifestyle etc etc can all lead to skin problems.Happy dog

Don’t worry, it is our vets job to sort out your pet's skin problem. There are lots of things the vet can do for your inflammed or itchy pet! Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication can stop infection in its tracks and keep itch levels down. A good quality diet with added oil supplements or hypoallergenic foods can improve skin and coat health and strengthen defences. Medicated shampoos may be prescribed for certain skin conditions to alleviate symptoms. Hormonal treatments can help. Let one of our vets will help design this treatment plan for your dog and be "Free from the bad skin and itch" this year.

Contact us on 01254 53622 for advice about your pet’s skin or to make an appointment with one of our vets. (If you are unsure just ask to speak to one of our vets).

Itchy, Scratchy, Spotty, Dog, Daisy Street Vets, Blackburn, 27 11 2017

Page updated 27th Nov 2017, 13:23
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