All that you wanted to know about dog skin lesions

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By Tess Thompson

If you read a book on health issues of cats and dogs, you will probably be surprised at the number of skin problems that these pets face. Such books have detailed chapters on common problems like feline acne, feline hair loss, feline dandruff and other issues on dog skin problems. The list of dog skin health issues is particularly long, and you can read about fifty hair loss conditions without any signs of the list ending.

The skin is perhaps the most affected organ in a dog’s body. Susceptibility to skin problems can cause major health concerns like skin lesions or lacerations. If you see your dog chewing continuously at what looks like wet raw skin, there is a reason to be concerned. You should not wait to see if the condition improves on its own, but seek medical advice as soon as you spot the smallest patch.

One of the main reasons for dog lesions is the sensitivity of the dog to the environment. Environmental Dermatitis usually affects dogs that spend too much time swimming, digging into gopher holes or playing in weed infested areas. Some dogs can even get lesions due to sensitivity towards grasses.

Lesions can also appear due to the retention of moisture on the skin. A dense coat or matted hair causes water to absorb into the skin. This moist, warm environment is a breeding ground for bacteria. The condition is called Moist Eczema and is commonly known as ‘hot spots’ to most pet owners. If left untreated, hot spots can convert to tumors of granulation tissue. This is mostly caused by excessive licking that scars the tissue and leads to further repeated infections. Although hot spots are more common during hot weather, they can occur in cold conditions, too.

The presence of ticks can cause festering wounds and inflammatory lesions. The ticks feed on the dog’s blood and can also severely traumatize the area of attack.

Lesions can also be caused by excessive sunburn. This results in abnormal redness of the skin and leads to the dilation of blood vessels.

Another skin health problem for dogs that causes dog skin lesions is called Erythema multiforme. This condition is the result of an allergic reaction to a drug, disease, or allergen. This condition is often accompanied by loss of hair, lacerations resembling a "bull’s eye", and vesicles near the mouth, ears, groin and elbows.

Large dogs are prone to develop what is known as pressure ulcers on the salient bony structures on elbows. In puppies, a typical type of mite causes Demodectic mange. It is a condition where localized red and scaly lesions are formed. Unlike other dog skin problems, these should be observed for some time. More often than not, this condition heals by itself.


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