2001-Tue Jan 22 05:35:48 EST 2019
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Your pet normally has a thick, lustrous coat of fur. One day, you discover a bare or red spot on his leg and the skin looks sore. Even worse, your pet cannot stop biting, chewing and licking the area. What is happening? Your pet may have a skin condition, but the problem may go deeper than what you see on the surface. The irritated area could be a sign of a more serious medical disorder.
Short or long hair, big or small, purebred or mixed, no dog or cat is immune to having dermatologic (skin-related) problems. From the mildest irritation to a near-fatal reaction to an insect bite, skin problems are one of the leading causes of visits to the veterinarian.
There are hundreds of reasons why dogs and cats might itch and scratch. Take your pet to the veterinarian if you notice that your pet is scratching, biting or licking his skin more than usual.
Many skin diseases have similar signs, so testing is often required before a final diagnosis can be made. To help determine the problem, your veterinarian may recommend laboratory work, skin scrapings, blood tests or other diagnostics. You can help by observing changes in the condition of your pet’s coat and reporting the results to your veterinarian.
You may think your cat or dog is itching himself because he has fleas, but there is a chance that he could have inhalant allergies, another common cause of itching and scratching in pets.
Both pets and people can suffer from inhalant allergies (atopy), a type of allergy caused by substances commonly encountered in the environment, such as grasses, weeds, pollen, house dust mites, molds and trees. The difference is that people usually react to these substances (allergens) by developing respiratory problems, while dogs and cats most often develop skin problems. Signs of inhalant allergies in pets can include:
While some pets never have a problem, others may itch at certain times of the year, usually from spring to fall, or year-round. Allergic reactions do not tend to go away as dogs and cats age. In fact, pets can become allergic to more and more things as they grow older.
Thankfully, your veterinarian can often help manage and treat your pet's allergies. Treatment may consist of antihistamines, steroids, allergy shots or other medications. Sometimes environmental modifications can also be helpful.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.