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Skin Problems Often More Than Skin Deep

pet_dermatology_Fullerton_BaltimorePet dermatology involves the diagnosis and treatment of various skin diseases that affect dogs and cats. Skin diseases are one of most common reasons for visits to veterinarians, according to the veterinarians of Fullerton Animal Hospital of Baltimore, who provide a comprehensive range of pet care services.

Allergies are a common cause of skin problems in cats and dogs of Baltimore, Nottingham, Parkville and Carney. In reaction to allergies, pets often lick, chew and scratch, which leads to more skin damage than the allergies themselves cause.

Many pet dermatology problems, however, do not involve allergies. Other causes include external parasites, infections, metabolic or dietary problems and stress. And a combination of causes may be involved.

In addition to scratching, licking and chewing, common symptoms of pet skin problems include hair loss and bald patches; dry, flaky skin; pet rubbing face against carpeting or furniture; round, scaly patches on face or paws; rashes; lesions; scabs; swelling and skin discoloration.

Causes of Pet Skin Problems Include:

  • Fleas, whose bites can irritate a dog’s skin. And fleas' saliva, entering the bites, can lead to allergic reactions. Ironically, some pets are sensitive to flea treatment products and flea collars.
  • Parasites, such as mites and lice. The skin disease sarcoptic mange is an inflammation caused by the Sarcoptes scabei mite.
  • Ringworm, a highly contagious fungal infection, which must be treated immediately to prevent spread to other pets and people.
  • Seasonal allergies affect not just people, but pets too. Pollen, weeds, dust, mites, trees, mold or grasses can cause allergic reactions in pets, which react by scratching, rather than sneezing like their human companions. And like people, dogs can get dry, flaky skin in the dry winter months.
  • Food allergies, which can be caused by common pet food ingredients in dog foods, leading to itching and rashes.
  • Grooming products, such as shampoos. Use only grooming products made specifically for pets.
  • Metabolic or hormonal problems, which can trigger change in a pet's skin color and coat.

You should bring your pet for a veterinary visit when you notice signs of skin disease as mentioned above – and when your pet begins to excessively scratch, lick and/or bite areas on his fur.

The veterinarians of Fullerton Animal Hospital can conduct a variety of diagnostic tests to find the underlying causes of pet dermatology problems – to determine the best course of treatment.

There a number of practices you can adopt to prevent skin problems in your pet.

These include:

  • Talking with your veterinarian for advice on prevention of skin problems
  • Regular brushing to prevent hair matting
  • Use of hypoallergenic shampoos recommended for pets
  • Regular housecleaning
  • Use of pet food made without filler or artificial ingredients
  • Parasite prevention or flea treatment program recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Provide a calm environment for your pet to prevent stress

For more information on pet dermatology, contact the veterinarians of Fullerton Animal Hospital at (410) 665-6996.