ABVC Allergy awareness month

My Pet’s Skin – When should you be worried about your pet’s skin?

When should you be worried about your pet’s skin?

What problems or signs should indicate that you need to visit your vet?

A normal healthy coat should be glossy and smooth (dependent on the breed of dog or cat). The skin should be clear, clean and free of inflammation. There should be no hair loss, reddened patches or excessive itchiness. Remember that the surface of the ears, mucous membranes around the mouth and eyes, and anal area, are part of the one organ, the skin, which covers the entire body. This is the largest organ that your pet has.

Any deviation to the above-mentioned healthy ‘integument’, or skin, should alert you to a problem. Any inflammation, thickening of the skin, hair loss, incessant itching, would warrant attention. Atopy, or excessive itching, is one of the most common concerns and an indicator of a possible problem. This would indicate the necessity to visit your local veterinarian. When consulting your vet, it is very important to work together with them to formulate a thorough clinical history of your pet. The vet will ask you many questions relating to your pet. This will help them to start the step-by-step diagnostic process in approaching your pet’s skin condition.

After thoroughly examining your pet, your vet may then suggest doing some in-house skin tests, to rule out certain possible parasitic causes of the skin problem. As a general rule, regular ectoparasitic treatment is highly advisable. As sensitive skin, that may be prone to (itchy) allergic responses, may be aggravated by a parasite (tick, flea, mite, lice), jumping on your pet and biting the skin.

In approaching skin cases, we need to rule out possible causes of the disease in a step-by-step fashion. Allergy to parasitic causes needs to be ruled out. Infectious causes, like bacteria and fungi, need to be ruled out. Endocrine imbalances, such as Cushing’s disease and thyroid gland dysfunction, need to be ruled out. Often times, a few consecutive visits to your vets, with a constant monitoring and management plan agreed upon by yourself and your vet, are needed, to adequately approach and manage skin cases.

Once all possible causes that can be diagnosed, have been ruled out, one could possibly end up diagnosing Atopy. In other words, allergic reaction in the skin leading to excessive itchiness and its consequences. We have a detailed blog on Allergy in dogs on our website, please see the following link to read these. Some possible diagnostic steps regarding allergies can be considered, once this has been diagnosed. There are blood tests available to specify which substances your pet is allergic to. This will aid one’s choice of diet-sometimes a pet is allergic to certain types of food. It will also aid lifestyle choices in order to try and avoid the environmental allergens your pet’s skin may react to. The formulation of injectable allergen – ‘vaccines’, are possible, that gradually boost your pet’s immunity to the allergen’s he or she is sensitive to.

If your pet has an inherent allergy to certain food types, it would be necessary to place them on a food trial: feeding special hypo-allergenic food only, in order to alleviate their skin condition. Luckily, there are hypo-allergenic treats available too, so you can still treat your pet even while on the unique diet. Please consult your vet in Dubai for suggestions on which food would be appropriate.

Overall, skin conditions require a patient and diligent owner. Management of these conditions may be time-consuming and require building a good relationship with your vet. This will enable you both to work together, in order to manage the well-being of your pet and ensure their best possible quality of life