Skin disease in its various forms is the single most common condition for clients presenting their pets to our surgery Skin disease in both dogs and cats in the vast majority of cases has a number of basic causes. Parasites such as fleas, mites, ticks and lice. Allergies such as atopy or food allergy. Endocrinologists or hormonal problems. Autoimmune problems where your pets immune system starts to misbehave. Primary bacterial infections and seborrhea disorders especially in dogs. Now the vast majority of skin problems presented at the surgery will be either parasitic or allergic in nature. So how do we make a specific diagnoses? History of the problem is very important so your observations and your pets medical records can prove to be very revealing. Physical general examination of your pet and specifically skin including paws and ears. Skin scrapes and hair plucks. Biopsies of skin lesions. Blood testing to check for hormonal problems. Allergy work up either in the form of a blood test or intro dermal skin tests and lastly. Response to trial therapy may help with the diagnoses. Now lets cover Some treatment fundamentals.
With the exception of certain parasitic skin problems in many cases of skin disease the problem will not be curable and that therefore we will have to look to CONTROL AND MANAGE your pet’s skin problem and as such this may require seasonal or all year round treatments. Mandatory parasite control or more basically the use of a quality flea control product at the recommended interval. Even if your pet as a skin problem that’s NOT caused by fleas the presence of fleas is likely to make the problem worse. Good nutrition or possibly some nutritional supplementation with fatty acids or zinc. More recently I’ve used Aloe Vera for this purpose.
Controlling primary or secondary bacterial infections typically using antibacterial shampoos or the judicious use of courses of antibiotics. Anti inflammatory or the use of anti itch drugs of which there are now several options available and often requires trial therapy to find a product that suits your pet specifically in the longer term. Hypnotherapy where we can find out exactly what it is that your pet is allergic to then it may be possible to produce a special vaccine for your individual pet to try and desensitize them and stop them reacting to it. Food trials these are not easy to do and require a lot of commitment on your part. We need to find a food that contains a novel single source of carbohydrate and a novel single source of protein.
A novel source means something that your pet has never had before. Home cooked diets are probably best and so can be time consuming to prepare. There are some commercially available foods designed for this purpose that can also be used. For the dietary trial to be successful your pet need to be fed the special food with water and absolutely nothing else for a period of at least 6 weeks.