Skin Disease
SKIN DISEASE IN PETS

The primary symptoms of skin disease are a combination of hair loss, sores and very likely moderate to intense itching. Skin problems are the most common medical disorder that we see in our pets.

Mange...............................

insects living in the skin

Infection............................

bacteria or fungus problem

Chemical irritation............

flea collars, etc.

Sunburn............................

especially around the nose/face

Cancer..............................

fortunately very rare in pets.

Flea bites..........................

even if you can't see them.

However, not all skin disorders are primary skin problems. Many are outside reflections of deep seated internal problems:

Hereditary factors..............

the pet was born with it

Metabolic upsets...............

internal organ function problem

Hormonal imbalances.......

thyroid, adrenal gland upsets, etc.

Allergies............................

pets show hair loss, sores, itching

As you can see, skin problems with our pets can be a complex issue. The doctor may need to recommend certain laboratory tests for a correct diagnosis:

  1. Blood tests  to reveal internal organ or glandular function.
  2. Skin Scraping  to look for microscopic mange mites.
  3. Skin Cultures  if infection or ringworm is suspected.
  4. Biopsy   tissue sent to the laboratory for microscopic examination by a pathologist.
  5. Allergy Testing  replaces the old "patch testing" of the skin and allows accurate assessment of many allergic factors (airborne, contact, food).

We will evaluate your pet's symptoms along with help from the information that you provide. If tests are performed they serve as "pieces to complete the puzzle". The treatment must be as specific as possible to solve your pet's problem as quickly as possible.

Certain skin diseases require long term medication and several different types of medication may need to be tried. Antibiotics, antihistamines, cortisone, fungal control pills, cremes, medicated baths, and diet changes are just some of the treatment approaches that the doctor may need to try.

Remember: Some skin disorders are never cured. Often control is the realistic goal.
                      
PATIENCE IS IMPORTANT

 

ALLERGY

This is the most common form of skin disease that we see in Southern California and is a most  frustrating problem, since a permanent cure is not possible.

There are four principle types of allergic skin disease:

  1. Flea Bite - severe sensitivity to the flea's saliva.
  2. Contact Reactions - skin rashes in certain areas of the body. (eg. grass)
  3. Food Sensitivity - intolerance to certain food ingredients.
  4. Inhalant Disorders (air borne) - reactions to pollen, dust, smog, etc.

As you can see the allergy problem is a vicious cycle. Breaking this cycle is a co-operative effort.  We need to work together to control your pet's chronic problem.

ALLERGIES ARE RARELY CURED

TREATMENTS AVAILABLE FOR ALLERGY CONTROL:

  1. Decreasing the pet's exposure to the allergic agent.
      a. Controlling fleas ------- critical!
      b. Avoid the grass ------- don't let the pet lay on it
      c. Change the food ------ a hypoallergenic type, either with a new protein source or
                                         specially formulated prescription diets.
  2. Hyposensitization - utilizes the blood allergy test to formulate a specific serum (allergy "vaccine") that is given to the pet on a weekly basis to help make him/her less allergic to airborne factors.

    This is the best approach to handling allergy patients that are severe, have   year round problems or heavy cortisone dependency.  60% of allergic pets are significantly helped with this method of treatment. Most of the others at least end up needing less cortisone over the course of time.
     
  3. Medication to reduce the symptoms (itching, biting, scratching)
      a. Antihistamines - few side effects but not as effective as in people.
      b. Cortisone - a very effective drug / the first defense for occasional use.
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