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Spotting Skin Conditions

Skin conditions are a common problem we see often at the clinic, from rashes to itching, skin conditions come in a variety of shapes and sizes. So how can you spot a skin condition on your pet and when should you seek veterinary assistance? This blog explores.

When Are Skin Conditions Most Common?

For most pets, skin conditions are most common during the warmer months due to seasonal allergies (such as pollen). The Summer months also pose the risk of insect bites and hayfever which can cause skin irritation. Having said this, winter allergies are nearly just as common with mould, dust mites, and dry air allergies being more prevalent. We also see a rise in flea infestations during the winter months when the central heating is switched on.

Signs of Skin Conditions:

Animal skin conditions can range from mild to severe, and whilst some can be treated at home, others often require medical attention to ease them. For example, a simple skin infection may need to be treated by a veterinarian to avoid bacterial infection, especially if there is a break in the skin from itching or movement.

So what are the most common signs of a skin condition?

  • Itching: itching is a common and very obvious symptom when it comes to skin conditions. Whilst it’s normal to see your pet occasionally itch, excessive itching can indicate irritation, and if left this can lead to an infection.

  • Licking or gnawing: like itching, licking can be normal in your pet’s grooming routine, however, if you notice your pet frequently licking one patch or area it may be a deeper issue that they are trying to self-soothe. This can be common in dogs or cats who excessively lick their paws.

  • Rubbing: you may notice your pet trying to relieve an itch by rubbing themselves against an object.

Other signs of skin conditions include:

  • Rashes

  • Dry/flaky skin

  • Lumps

  • Redness to skin

  • Hair loss or bald patches

  • Inflammation of the skin (it may feel hot to touch)

  • Dandruff

  • Skin lesions or sores

5 Common Skin Conditions to Look out For

The most common skin allergies we see in pets are often derived from allergies and bacterial or fungal infections. Here are five common conditions to look out for:

  • Environmental Allergies: allergies often present themselves as itching, redness, or irritation. Allergies can come from many things, such as food, parasites, grass, or even the air.

  • Folliculitis: folliculitis refers to an inflammation of the hair follicles on your pet. Folliculitis is often a result of a bacterial infection. If your pet has folliculitis you may notice bumps on the skin or areas of hair loss.

  • Ringworm: ringworm is another common skin condition in pets. Despite the name, ringworm is not an infection due to ‘worms’. Ringworm is a fungal infection that can appear on the skin and can be spread to humans. Signs of ringworm lesions often appear as circular areas of hair loss on the fur.

  • Ticks and Fleas: fleas and ticks are tiny parasites that can bite and suck the blood of your pet. Understandably, this can be very uncomfortable and result in itching, liking, and biting, the saliva from fleas can cause irritation to the skin as is one of the most common skin presentations we see in cats at the clinic.

  • Dandruff: Like humans, dogs can get dandruff too. Although often a mild skin condition, dandruff can be a sign of an underlying condition. Signs of dandruff include flakey and/or dry skin.

What To Tell The Vet:

If you happen to notice a change in the behaviour of your pet that could indicate a skin condition or redness and irritation of the skin, it’s best to seek veterinary help to get to the bottom of the discomfort.

A lot of clients report a change in behaviour when their pet's skin condition is under control, they say that their pets are happier, more tolerant, and sleep better.

When visiting the vet, be sure to let your vet know about your pet's diet, any underlying illnesses, what symptoms you have noticed, and when the symptoms occur (i.e. after a dog walk or in the evening), as this will help your veterinarian diagnose the issue.

Some skin conditions can take time to diagnose the cause, which can be frustrating for you and your pet. The vet will help to get the skin condition under control bringing relief to your pet and keeping them comfortable throughout the process. A lot of clients report a change in behaviour when their pet's skin condition is under control, they say that their pets are happier, more tolerant, and sleep better.

Think your pet has a skin condition? Contact us on 0208 459 4729 today.


Order Dr Hannah Parkin's Amazing Guide To Caring For Your New Puppy.
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