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Is Your Dog Itchy?

Here is a list of everything you need to know about itchy dogs.

Did you know that one of the most common reasons we see cats and dogs is for being itchy? There are a number of different causes of itchiness in animals. It is why it is always recommended to visit your veterinarian for proper diagnostics. But what are the possibilities?

Parasites

  • Fleas — Flea bites, as you may know if you’ve ever been bitten by one, are very itchy. Some animals are allergic to flea saliva, and one single bite can cause an exaggerated response that requires additional medication.
  • Mites — There are a few different species of mites that can be found on domestic animals. Not all cause itchiness but may cause hair loss and abnormal appearing skin. Antiparasitic medication will be recommended by your vet, possibly along with additional medication to aid with symptoms of infection (if present).

Skin Infection

  • Bacteria
  • Yeast — The skin may become infected for a number of reasons, including allergies (see below). The infection itself, regardless of cause, can be very itchy and uncomfortable.
  • Bacterial infections require antibiotics, while yeast infections require antifungals. Your veterinarian may also prescribe something for itchy/swelling depending on the severity of the case. Many times, topical treatment, such a shampoo, might be a part of the treatment plan.

Allergies
Any animal can develop allergies to a variety of compounds. We very commonly see dogs with allergies. These allergies often present themselves as skin issues (itchiness, infections, ear infections). Animals can be allergic to food and/or environmental stimuli. Animals with a food allergy may also show signs of gastrointestinal discomfort (diarrhea, vomiting, anal gland issues). Your veterinarian will take a thorough history and perform an examination (+/- diagnostic testing) to help determine if allergies are present and which type (food or environment). Treatment of any infection present will be instituted, and the management of allergies can begin. Management depends on the patient and the type of allergies –

Visit our Do You Know What Kind of allergies your pet has? blog for more information.

Written by: Nicole Mann, DVM

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