Believe it or not, there are many skin conditions that can affect both you and your precious pooch! The following are a few tips to help you and your favorite hound get relief from common dog skin conditions.
Diagnosis of Rashes and Other Skin Conditions
The first step in treating a skin condition, is to correctly identify it. An itchy rash is often the first sign of an infection, reaction or infestation.
When dogs and humans itch, however, they usually scratch. Scratching increases irritation and inflammation in the skin, making a correct diagnosis difficult. This is especially true in remote and rural locations that have limited access to veterinarians and dermatology services.
Specialized apps make it easier for dogs and humans to receive a correct diagnosis via virtual dermatology in a telehealth setting. This decreases the distance that human and animal patients must travel to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for their skin condition.
Once the rash or other symptom is correctly identified, the cause is usually found to be due to one of the following conditions.
This condition typically produces an itchy rash, sometimes with scaling, and red, weepy, fluid filled bumps, or hives. Rashes grow into “hot spots” of inflamed skin, known as eczema. Symptoms are a result of exposure to simple irritants, or allergens to which the dog or individual is hypersensitive, or, allergic, too.
Treatment includes avoiding the irritant or allergen, and medication to reduce inflammation and heal the skin. Some substances, such as pollen and dust mites, may be difficult to avoid. Thoroughly cleaning the home, and using air filtration systems can remove common allergens like pollen and mold spores.
Symptoms can be controlled by prescription medication and over-the-counter compounds. These medicines usually include antihistamines and steroids that are applied to the skin, taken in pill or liquid form, or that are injected.
This condition produces dry, white flakes of skin and a red rash underneath. This is commonly called dandruff when it affects the scalp, but it can affect nearly any part of the body.
No one knows the cause. Numerous factors, including overall health, immune system function, stress and even exposure to certain fungi can influence whether or not a human or dog develops it.
Taking steps to reduce stress, ensure proper nutrition and hydration, can reduce inflammation and improve the appearance of the skin. This condition is chronic. While there are many over-the-counter lotions and shampoos that can reduce symptoms, prescription medication may be necessary when inflammation is severe or when secondary infections result.
Scabies and Other Mites
There are dozens of types of tiny bugs known as mites, or scabies, that can infest the skin and hair follicles of both dogs and humans. Mites prefer to live in the first layer or two of skin.
Female mites burrow underneath the skin layers, creating small tunnels where they lay their eggs. A mite infestation often begins in areas that have little hair, such as the ears, armpits and groin or genital area.
Mites cause intense itching; hair loss, scabs, sores, and rashes are common signs. In dogs, the hair loss can spread into large patches of exposed raw, bare skin, which is called mange. In humans, it produces an angry, raw, red rash with raised bumps.
In dogs, mites and their eggs are killed with specially formulated lotions, shampoos and dips containing parasite killing chemicals. All pets in the household should be treated to eradicate the infestation.
Prescription creams and lotions are often needed to kill mites in human skin. Sometimes, antihistamines and steroids are also needed by humans and dogs to help heal rashes and inflammation of the skin.
Mites can live on the surface of towels and similar materials for days. In addition to treating the skin of all humans and pets in the home, you should thoroughly vacuum the home. Wash all clothing and bedding in warm soapy water, whether it is used by dogs or humans. Thoroughly dry the freshly laundered items in a hot dryer to kill the mites.
This infection is due to direct skin contact with various species of fungus, and has nothing to do with worms or other parasites. It’s highly contagious. On people, it most often appears as a raised, red, rash that is round, or ring shape, hence the common name, ringworm.
While it can cause intense itching in humans, it normally does not prompt itching and scratching in dogs. It shows up as round patches of hair loss, and rough skin in your pet’s coat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in most cases treatment for ringworm in humans is with anti-fungal compounds, normally in the form of a cream or lotion, that are available over-the-counter. If ringworm appears on the scalp, then oral prescription treatment is usually necessary to clear up the infection.
In dogs, medicated shampoos and dips are used to treat ringworm. In very severe cases, your pet’s vet may prescribe both oral and topical anti-fungal treatment.