The simplest and best way in which you can determine if your pet is healthy or not is to examine the skin. Feline acne and cat dandruff are common occurrences in cats that have underlying medical causes that can be potentially harmful. They can even cause other symptoms like feline hair loss . Most of the cat and dog skin problems arise from simple contact allergies, but some can occur due to immune mediated disorders. Irrespective of the actual cause of the skin or coat problem, symptoms like itching and other aberrations are common in almost all skin diseases.
Itching diseases in dogs can be classified under some general categories.
Bacterial skin infections
Staphylococci are the most common bacteria that cause bacterial infections in dogs. Although not infectious, the condition causes excessive itching. This infection can occur anywhere on the dog’s body but occurs mostly on the trunk. The infection results in initial pustules that appear on the skin as small yellow spots. Later these redden and ulcerate and cause discomfort. At an even later stage, these ulcers develop into dry crusts and result in excessive loss of hair around the lesions.
Fungal Skin Infections
Otherwise known as ringworm, fungal infections normally appear in round patches and cause hair loss in and around the affected areas. Fungi live in dead tissue like hair and nails. The center of affected areas appears dry and crusty and causes itching. Though ringworm affects mostly the head and legs of young dogs, if it is left untreated, the condition can spread throughout the body.
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
This is perhaps the most common of all itchy diseases that dog’s suffer from. Also known as canine atopy, the condition is an allergic reaction that becomes apparent in a sensitive dog minutes after contact with the agent. It is normally caused by allergens like pollen, chemicals, paints, detergents and other such irritants. Red itchy lumps and inflamed skin are sure signs of contact allergies. Rashes can however appear even beyond the areas of contact. Damp hay itch occurs in dogs that come in continuous contact with damp hay or grass.
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Flea-infected dogs experience extreme itching even after the fleas have been killed. Red, itchy lumps that look like pimples appear on the base of the tail, back of hind legs and inner thighs.
Red spots (similar to insect bites) appear on the skin of the ears, elbows and tarsal joint of the hind legs. Scabies causes intense itching and typically crusty ears.
Apart from the above mentioned conditions, external parasites and flies also cause itching in dogs. Identification of the specific parasite that is the cause of the itching can be made on visible evidence.
- Chiggers are barely visible red, yellow or orange creatures that cause irritation between toes, near the ears and mouth.
- Fleas cause itching and scratching around the back, tail and hindquarters. Look for live fleas or flea feces or eggs that appear like black and white specks.
- Grubs, soft thick worm-like larva of certain beetles and other insects form lumps with a hole in the center that look like cysts.
- Maggots are soft-bodied, legless fly larvae that usually reside in damp matted fur.
- Ticks attach to the skin of the dog and may increase to the size of a pea. Look beneath ear flaps and where hair is thin.