Signs of a skin condition include redness, irritation, flaking, being excessively dry or oily, and patchy hair loss.
There are several common causes for skin conditions in dogs, they include:
Allergies to food or environmental factors like pollen, mold or dust.
Parasites like fleas, lice or mites.
To determine which if any of these factors may be causing your dogs skin condition, a veterinarian must first examine your dog and may require a skin or blood sample to further investigate and find the cause. Call us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573 to book an appointment for an examination.
Allergy testing can be performed using a blood sample or intradermal testing, and can help you find out exactly what your dog is allergic to. This allows you to try to limit your dogs exposure to those specific allergens. Or if you choose, immunotherapy can be preformed, which exposes your dog to their allergens in small doses and builds their tolerance up against the allergen.
To find parasites on the skin, your veterinarian may require a skin scraping which they will view under a microscope. Some parasites are also visible to the naked eye. If a parasite is found, your dog will be started on an anti-parasitic drug to kill the parasites.
Hormonal imbalances can also be identified from a blood test. The best course of action for hormonal imbalances will depend on the cause of the imbalance, sometimes surgical intervention will be necessary (spaying/neutering, or removal of the gland), and sometimes hormone therapy (medications/supplements) may be the solution.
Bacterial infections can be found by skin scraping and will usually require antibiotics.
All skin conditions can benefit from a high quality diet.
Look for a diet that has:
High quality protein – provides building blocks for natural cell repair
Essential Fatty Acids – omega 3 & 6 help nourish and protect skin and prevent dryness
Antioxidants – Vitamin E promotes healthy immune system and protects from cellular oxidation caused by free radicals
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Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. “Allergic Dermatitis – What Causes Skin Conditions in Dogs?” Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. 2013. Web April 16, 2013. http://www.hillspet.ca/en-ca/dog-care/dog-disease-allergic-dermatitis.html