and cats suffer from many problems that affect their skin. The skin which
functions as a barrier to protect the body from infection, caustic substances,
ultra violet light and dehydration, is an organ just as the liver and kidneys
are organs. Good health and proper function of the skin is dependent on the
health and function of the other organs which make up our pets bodies. Diseases
that affect the skin are classified under two categories: primary and secondary
skin disease. Primary are those that affect the skin directly, such as flea
hypersensitivities. Whereas secondary diseases are those that initially involve
other organs and thereby effect the skin, such as hypothyroidism. The following
are some of the common diseases affecting the skin and a brief description
of their diagnosis and treatments.
Hot Spots or Acute Moist Dermatitis: Hot spots are usually a result
of self trauma and a resulting infection that occurs as your pet tries to
relieve itself from some pain or itch. Treatment includes thorough cleaning,
topical and systemic antibiotics, and anti- inflammatory agents.
Hypodermal: Hypodermis includes a wide range of infections that result
in the formation of pus. Pyodermas vary in severity. Treatment is similar
to that for hot spots, but typically is longer term. Shampoos and rinses
are also helpful.
Atopy or Allergic Inhalant Dermatitis: Atopy is a very itchy skin
disease, which is the result of allergies to microscopic particles in the
air. Diagnosis is based on clinical presentation and absence of other causes
such as ectoparasites. Treatment includes dietary supplements, antihistamines
and steroids, and is often long term. In very refractory cases skin allergin
testing and hyposensitization may be helpful. Shampoos and rinses are also
Ectopararsites: (external parasites) include mites, fleas and ticks.
These parasites break the barrier formed by the skin and allow bacterial
infections to occur. They may lead to allergic conditions. Diagnosis is achieved
with gross observation and microscopic examination of skin scrapings. Treatments
depend on the parasites present and include antiparasitic drugs and antiparasitic
shampoos and rinses.
Fungal Infections: include Malassezia sp., Dermatophytosis (Ring Worm),
and Dermal Coccidiodomycosis. Diagnosis is achieved via culture of the organisms,
microscopic examination of skin scrapings and blood tests that identify antibodies
to Coccidioides immitis. Treatment includes topical and systemic antifungal
drugs and antifungal shampoos and rinses.
Food Allergies: Food allergies often manifest themselves as skin problems.
Food allergies are usually diagnosed by ruling out other possible conditions.
Treatment is trial feeding of hypoallergenic diets for a minimum of six weeks.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis: Contact allergies are diagnosed based
on history of contact and clinical presentation. Treatment includes washing
the exposed areas to remove the irritant. Itchy symptoms are treated with
steroids for a short period of time. It is important to prevent re-exposure.
Autoimmune Skin Diseases: There are several autoimmune skin diseases
and the foundation of diagnosis is surgical biopsy. Treatment includes combinations
of dietary supplementation, steroids, and immune modulation drugs.
Secondary Skin Disease: Secondary skin diseases such as hypothyroidism
are diagnosed via clinical testing for the underlying disease. Diagnosis
often requires blood tests, biopsies, and X-rays. Treatment of the underlying
condition usually results in improvement of the skin problems.
Dr. Dog offers selected treatments for the above conditions. Dr. Dog Skin
Care for Dogs treats Hot Spots, Hypodermal, dry skin, fleabite dermatitis,
cuts & abrasions, allergy dermatitis, and callus buildup. Dr. Dog EucaLoba
Shampoo for Sensitive Skin is a natural and safe shampoo for problematic
sensitive skin. Dr. Dog also offers OatNella
Flea and Tick Shampoo which helps repel the insects that cause bacterial
infections and allergy dermatitis. In addition, Bug
N' Out is an insect repellent spray that repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes,
gnats, flies, chiggers, and other biting insects that cause irritation and allergies.