Common Pet Skin Issues and How to Treat Them

Dog scratching itself

Skin Issues in Pets

Does your pet frequently scratch, bite, or lick its skin? Allergies, parasites, and infections can cause a variety of itchy skin conditions in pets. These conditions are among the most common.

Flea Bite Dermatitis

Fleas aren't picky. They'll feed on any warm-blooded mammal, whether it's a pet or a person. Flea symptoms include round, red bumps on the skin, hot spots, scabs, and hair loss. In some cases, you may be able to see fleas on your pet's coat. Flea "dirt" is another telltale sign of an infestation. The dirt, which looks like black or brown flecks in the fur, are flea feces.

Dogs and cats are most commonly affected by flea bite dermatitis, but other animals can suffer from the itchy condition. If your dog or cat has fleas, your rabbit, ferret, hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig may have them too.

Treatment

Flea collars, sprays, baths, and ointments can kill fleas. Before using a flea product on a young, old, sick, or small animal, check with your veterinarian first, as some of the products and treatments may be toxic for these pets. Prescription chews, pills, and topical treatments kill mature fleas and larvae and can be used year-round to prevent flea infestations.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes raised, red rings on the skin. Other signs and symptoms include a circular pattern of hair loss, dandruff, and scaly, thick or crusty skin. Ringworm can be transmitted between people and pets. If your pet has ringworm, wash your hands after touching your furry friend and be sure to wash his or her bedding, dishes, brushes, and combs frequently.

Treatment

Creams, ointments, and medicated shampoo ease ringworm symptoms. These treatments may be combined with oral anti-fungal medication.

Allergic or Nutritional Dermatitis

Pets can suffer from allergies too. Red, blistered, thick skin along with hair loss can be a sign that your pet has allergic dermatitis. This is a condition that tends to make pets very uncomfortable. They may try to ease the itch by scratching, rubbing against furniture or carpeting, or biting and licking their skin.

Your pet may be allergic to pollen, ragweed, dust mites, mold, or other airborne allergens. They can also be allergic to the ingredients in their food. Allergies can develop at any time in your pet's life. Dermatitis can also occur if your pet eats poor quality food that doesn't meet all of his or her nutritional needs.

Treatment

Treatment for dermatitis depends on the cause but may include immunotherapy, change in diet, antihistamines, medicated shampoo, soothing topical medication, corticosteroids to decrease itching and inflammation, or antibiotics or antifungal medication to treat infections that occur as a result of frequent scratching or licking.

Scabies

Scabies, or sarcoptic mange, occurs when tiny microscopic mites make themselves at home in your pet's skin. Severe itching, rashes, red or flaky skin, and patchy hair loss can be signs of scabies. Although the infection frequently affects dogs, cats can get it too. Scabies is very contagious and can be spread through close contact with other animals. Wash your pet's bedding and clean his or her favorite restings spots frequently.

In some cases, sarcoptic mange can affect people. You may notice red bumps on your skin if your pet transmitted mites to you. Since the mites can't reproduce on human skin, the condition is much less serious in people. Humans can get another form of scabies that causes more severe symptoms. Human scabies cannot spread to animals.

Treatment

Your pet's veterinarian can prescribe several treatments that kill the mites and ease your pet's uncomfortable symptoms, including topical medications, injections, shampoos, and antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication.

Is your pet scratching much more than usual? A skin condition may be to blame. We can help relieve your pet's itch and determine the cause of your furry friend's rash.

Sources:

Veterinary Practice: Treating Canine Scabies, 4/23/18

DVM360: Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs and Cats, 5/1/11

Veterinary Practice: Treating Canine Scabies, 4/23/18

Purina: Skin Problems and Skin Conditions in Dogs

Companion Animal Parasite Council: Pets and Parasites

Catster: 10 Cat Skin Problems and How to Handle Them

Location

Find us on the map

Monday:

8:30 am-8:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

8:45 am-2:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Feedback from our clients

  • "Words can not begin to express our gratitude for the care you had given Hunter over the years. When his time came, he watched for you to come through the door and his tail showed his affection towards you. That was most comforting having you there. Thank you.""
    ~R.H
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Maggie over the years. Y'all are the best and Dr. Johnson, you are the best vet in the world! God bless you all.""
    ~ J.D.
  • ""Your care for my beloved Mattie these last 10n years made her life, and mine much better….God bless each of you for all you did for us and I'm sure for all your other two and four legged patients.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""Thank you for saving my life." ~T.C."
    ~T.C.
  • ""I can not express how grateful I am for you and your staff… I appreciate everything you did in Beckham's treatment. He was so lucky to have such a wonderful doctor on his side. Thank you for all you do for the benefit of all our beloved pets.""
    ~L.B.
  • ""Dr. Johnson - There are no words that can truly capture your kindness.""
    ~G.B.
  • ""Thank you for the great care you took of Taco and the rest of our family. He is doing great now! He is enjoying running and playing with all four legs again.""
    ~W.C
  • ""People who avail themselves of your services at the clinic certainly are blessed to have such a caring staff....bless you and your devoted staff.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""A sincere thank you for taking such good care of Dulce. We are so thrilled that she is back to her normal self. You gave her the support and care she needed in her darkest hours and kept us confident in her recovery.""
  • ""Just to say how much we appreciate all of you. You all are wonderful people. We feel blessed to have our beloved furry children in your care when they need it. Your professional knowledge and your acts of kindness have a beautiful act all it's own. You are a great vet, compassionate and everything good all in one. You are in our daily prayers.""
    ~T.F.
  • ""Thank you and all of your staff for the excellent care you gave to my wonderful Abbey, who was so much a part of the family. Thank you for all the advice and support you gave to me these last few months. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without your constant support. I will, and I have highly recommended you to family and friends, as I feel you are the best!""
    ~P.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking care of my kitty, Slingshot. He is feeling better and better. My Paw-Paw said that you took extra special care of him and I really appreciate it. So, thank you again for taking care of my cat.""
    ~T.B. (age 6)
  • ""Dr. Johnson, I don't know why you decided to move here from your home in New Jersey, but I absolutely believe it was so you could help me and Mickey. I know coming to someone's home is not what a typical veterinarian would do, but you are obviously an extraordinary man in a world filled with ordinary men….On top of that, your sensitive and wonderful handwritten note arrived and touched my heart…You are one of those quiet, unheralded champions who make life easier for everyone you touch.""
    ~C.W.
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Lola when she had her reaction, and your office was already closed. I know you took time away from yourself and your family and I really appreciate it.""
    ~R.M.
  • ""Thank you for giving me more time with my best friend. We are all so grateful.""
    ~A.M.
  • ""Thank you for all of your support for Maxine during her illness. All was very much appreciated and will always be remembered. I have related to all my friends of what a great doctor and staff at Birdneck Animal Hospital.""
    ~O.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking such good care of me over the last 4 years. I am doing well and both legs and feet feel great. You sis an awesome job on me Dr. Johnson, and I'm gonna have a great year this year and I hope to see you only for my check up. You guys are the best!""
    ~Budkus
  • "We can't thank you enough for the wonderful and loving care you gave to"Budkus" while he was in your care. He was so little and so sick and we were so scared for him. Each and every one of the staff members made us feel like we had the only dog in the world. Like nothing else mattered except getting "Budkus" well again. Our deepest gratitude to all of you for the excellent care and attention we received, for your encouragement, comfort, and understanding, and most importantly for saving his life! Thank you so much.""
    ~ J.,B.,C.