Itchy pets are miserable, and often their owners are miserable too because they love their furry pal so much they dislike seeing them so obviously uncomfortable. An itchy pet can scratch so much that they break their skin. The resulting injury makes the pet susceptible to bacterial infections and yeast overgrowth, affecting their quality of life.

Pets’ skin conditions are the most common reasons pet owners seek veterinary help, and springtime is prime itchiness time because of pollen and blooming plants. But these allergens are not the only pet skin condition culprits! Learn about common skin conditions in pets to keep your furry friend comfortable and healthy. Our Haskell Valley Veterinary Clinic team explains pets’ most common skin conditions, their causes, and their treatments.

Common skin conditions in pets 

Skin conditions in pets are more common during the warmer seasons but can happen anytime. By understanding common skin conditions’ signs and their root causes, you can help your pet get diagnosed before their issue becomes severe and receive treatment immediately, allowing your furry pal to stay comfortable. Numerous skin conditions affect pets, with most requiring veterinary attention to resolve. If you leave your pet’s skin condition untreated, they can become extremely uncomfortable and, in turn, their signs can become equally as challenging to manage.

Flea allergy dermatitis in pets

Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is pets’ most common skin condition. FAD is caused by an allergic reaction to the protein in flea saliva, causing intense itching, red, inflamed skin, excessive scratching, open sores, hair loss, and the possibility of secondary bacterial or yeast infections. Treatment includes maintaining strict parasite prevention and controlling fleas in the home by frequently laundering your pet’s bedding, vacuuming, and mopping. 

Atopic dermatitis in pets

Pets can develop atopic dermatitis resulting from environmental allergens such as blooming trees, pollen, dust, mold, and grasses. These allergies can cause intense itching and skin conditions that emerge seasonally or remain year-round. Pets’ common atopy signs include skin redness, itching, chewing at the skin, and biting areas such as their feet. Several treatment options are available, including hypoallergenic shampoos, foot baths for use after outdoor activities, medications such as Atopica, Apoquel, or Cytopoint, and controlling environmental exposure. 

Skin infections in pets   

Skin infections are typically secondary to other skin conditions and can cause your pet to experience pimples, hair loss, foul odor, and general discomfort. Treatment is often complex and may require a combination of antibiotics, antifungal medicines, medicated shampoos, ointments, or lotions.  

Hot spots in pets

Hot spots, or acute moist dermatitis, are raw, open sores that are self-inflicted when a pet with a skin condition excessively licks or chews at a certain spot. The sores are extremely irritated and uncomfortable and cannot heal independently without treatment, which includes clipping the hair surrounding the spot and cleaning the area with veterinarian-prescribed disinfectant, ointment, lotion, and possibly oral medication. 

Ringworm in pets

Ringworm is not a worm but a fungal infection. The condition gets its name from the ring-shaped skin lesion it causes and can be coupled with hair loss and red, crusty skin. Ringworm is contagious to people. Treatment includes topical medications as well as oral systemic therapy. 

Feline acne

Feline acne is a relatively common skin condition in cats that develops from an overproduction of keratin, a skin protein. Although the causes are not as well understood, chin acne is characterized by a red, irritated chin, bumps, and intense itchiness and discomfort for your cat. Treatment includes gentle, daily cleaning with a veterinarian-prescribed antibacterial wash.  

Sebborhea in pets

In dogs, the skin condition seborrhea causes dry, flaky skin and a dull, dry coat. Itching and redness accompany this condition. Medicated shampoos and dietary supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can help treat and manage this condition.

Hormonal disease in pets

Endocrine diseases in dogs commonly manifest as skin problems, including Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, and diabetes. Signs may include hair loss, poor coat condition, flaky, dry skin, thinning skin, and greasy skin. Treatment involves hormone replacement therapy and other systemic medications. 

By understanding pets’ common skin conditions, you learn how to recognize problems early and seek treatment for your four-legged friend. Early skin condition diagnosis and treatment can improve your pet’s well-being and quality of life. If you’re concerned about your pet’s skin or coat, schedule an appointment with our Haskell Valley Veterinary Clinic team.