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Common Dermatological Conditions in Pets

Common Dermatological Conditions in Pets

Some pet skin conditions require a veterinary dermatologist to diagnose and treat them. Here, our Long Island vets explain the causes and symptoms of some common dermatological issues in dogs and cats, as well as tips on prevention and when to seek treatment.

Dog & Cat Dermatology Issues

Inevitably, most dogs and cats will experience symptoms of skin problems at some point in their lives. In most cases, the underlying cause will not be serious and the condition can be easily treated. 

That said, some conditions do need to be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian specializing in veterinary dermatology for cats and dogs.

Symptoms of Dog & Cat Dermatological Issues

Signs of skin problems in pets can include:

  • Excessive scratching or licking
  • Red, irritated skin or sores
  • Strange lumps or bumps on their skin
  • Constant rubbing of the face or ears 
  • Loss of hair/fur
  • Scooting
  • Obsessive biting or chewing of their skin
  • Dry or flaking skin 
If you notice that your pet has bitten or scratched themselves to the point of causing sores or bleeding, you should make a dermatological appointment with the vet as soon as possible. Lesions can quickly and easily lead to infections. 

Causes for Pet Skin Conditions

Just like people, your pet may come into contact with substances in their environment (such as chemicals found in cleaning products) that can cause him or her to develop skin problems due to an allergic reaction. Other pets may have reactions to parasites, food ingredients, or have underlying health conditions that can cause their skin to become sore, itchy, or otherwise uncomfortable. 

Some of the most common causes of skin problems in pets include:

  • Skin allergies
  • Food allergies or sensitivities
  • Environmental allergies 
  • Bacterial infections 
  • Ear mites
  • Hives
  • Hot spots
  • Parasitic bites 
Skin irritations can be mild or temporary, but some may develop into serious infections. Bringing your pet to the vet (and getting a referral to a specialist if necessary) for early diagnosis and treatment may help to prevent more serious skin conditions from developing.

How do I know if my pet needs to see a veterinary dermatologist? 

A pet's skin problems can be distressing for both owners and animals. If your cat or dog has been scratching or biting at their skin to the point you've noticed that sores have begun to appear or bleeding has occurred, it's time to schedule a dermatological appointment with your vet. 

Irritated or red patches of skin, development of bumps, or rapid loss of fur are also signs that a vet should see your pet. Excessive licking or scratching may lead to open lesions or sores, which can become infected and lead to serious health issues for your cat or dog. 

How can I help prevent my dog or cat from developing skin problems?

The cause of your pet's skin issue will dictate the type of preventive measures you will be able to take. Once your cat or dog has been diagnosed and treated, your veterinarian will be able to recommend steps to take to help prevent the issue from recurring. 

Changing your pet's grooming products and/or diet are two potential actions you can take to help keep your pet's skin healthy and free of irritations. Your vet may also make specific recommendations such as parasite prevention aids, grooming changes, or creating a quieter environment for an anxious pet. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you think your pet has a skin condition, our board-certified veterinary dermatologist can diagnose and treat a wide range of skin conditions in pets. Contact our Atlantic Coast New York Veterinary Specialists to learn more. 

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