DOG SKIN PROBLEMS
The sound of a dog constantly scratching or licking can be as irritating as nails on a chalkboard. But don’t blame your pooch for these bad habits — a skin condition is probably the culprit. Possible causes range from parasites to allergies to underlying illness. WebMD has compiled images of some of the most common canine skin problems.
If your dog can’t seem to stop scratching an ear or licking her toes, ask your veterinarian to check for a yeast infection. Symptoms include irritated, itchy, or discolored skin. The infection usually strikes the paws or ears, where yeast has a cozy space to grow. Yeast infections are easy to diagnose and often respond well to a topical cream. In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe oral drugs or medicated baths.
Despite its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm, but by a fungus. The term “ring” comes from the circular patches that can form anywhere, but are often found on a dog’s head, paws, ears, and forelegs. Inflammation, scaly patches, and hair loss often surround the lesions. Puppies less than a year old are the most susceptible, and the infection can spread quickly between dogs in a kennel or to pet owners at home. Various anti-fungal treatments are available.
Mange is a skin disorder caused by tiny parasites called mites. Sarcoptic mange, also known as canine scabies, spreads easily among dogs and can also be transmitted to people, but the parasites don’t survive on humans. The symptoms are intense itching, red skin, sores, and hair loss. A dog’s ears, face and legs are most commonly affected. Demodectic mange can cause bald spots, scabbing, and sores, but it is not contagious between animals or people. Treatment depends on the type of mange.
WHEN TO SEE THE VET
Although most skin problems are not emergencies, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis so the condition can be treated. See your veterinarian if your dog is scratching or licking excessively, or if you notice any changes in your pet’s coat or skin, including scaling, redness, discoloration, or bald patches. Once the cause is identified, most skin problems respond well to treatment..