You Be the Vet: When is a simple itch not just an itch? Here’s our guide to examining your pet’s itches
Imagine being constantly itchy. The feeling of your skin burning all the time, distracting you from daily activities. Exhaustion from nights of interrupted sleep. Skin disease is one of the most common problems in pets – let’s learn how to spot it!
Step 1 – Behaviour
Dogs and cats who are itchy may scratch, lick, bite, or over-groom themselves. Itchy cats can be difficult to spot, as they often hide while grooming. Pets with less severe itchiness will scratch less often, and perhaps only at night. Remember that not all skin diseases are itchy.
Step 2 – Examine the Skin
Examine your pet all over, using all of your senses (perhaps not taste!). Part the fur to see the skin. Look for redness, hair loss, moistness, dandruff, scabs and pimple-like lesions. Note yeasty smelling areas, particularly the feet and ears. Don’t forget to examine their tummy and around the bottom!
Step 3 – Beware of “Normal”
Skin allergies are so common in some breeds of dog that it has become considered “normal” for these dogs to have bright pink skin. Staffordshire Bull Terriers (Staffies), Bull Terriers and West Highland White Terriers, are just some examples of pets that are prone to skin allergies. Many other breeds are also predisposed to other skin conditions.
Step 4 – Fixing the Problem
Prevention is the best treatment. 90% of Itching is parasite related . So you can solve most itches yourself by using a quality flea control. Year round flea preventative treatment means that your pet remains flea free, and reduces the risk of developing flea allergies. Once our pets become allergic to fleas, all it takes is one bite to set their skin off. A high quality pet food gives the immune system all the nutrients it needs to function at its best and supplies the necessary building blocks for healthy skin growth and repair.
If you’re doing all the basics well and your pet is still itching don’t wait to seek veterinary attention before it gets worse!