At Sydney Animal Hospitals, we understand how important it is that our pets have healthy skin and fur. The condition of your pets skin and fur can be a good indication of their overall health, and even help us to find underlying illnesses that are causing your pet ongoing discomfort.
What is pet skin disease?
Skin disease is very common amongst pets and around 50% of all the pets that visit our clinic will have some form of skin condition. Part of the reason why skin conditions are so common is because there are so many different types, with so many different causes, however they can usually be divided into 6 specific categories.
Immune mediated skin disorders
These particular pet skin conditions are caused by an immune response in your pet, whether its an over reaction causing hypersensitivity, or an under reaction causing repeated skin infections or mange.
Physical and environmental skin disorders
Some pet skin conditions are actually caused by our pets own grooming habits. These types of skin disorders are caused by your pet excessively licking or biting itself.
Infectious skin diseases
Infectious skin conditions are usually caused by a contagious infection or parasitic infestations. They can be parasitic (caused by a parasite), bacterial (caused by bacteria), fungal (caused by fungus) or viral (caused by a virus).
Flea allergy dermatitis
Flea allergies are caused by an allergic reaction to the saliva in flea bites. Severe cases of this pet skin disorder can result in hair loss and extreme discomfort.
Hereditary and developmental skin diseases
These skin conditions are caused by underlying abnormalities or functional issues with your pets skin that were probably there since birth.
Manifestations of internal disease
Some skin conditions are caused by internal problems, but manifest as an irritation on your pets skin.
How are skin conditions diagnosed?
Our experienced vet staff can diagnose skin conditions in your pet through a number of different ways. The first step is a thorough skin inspection, as well as an evaluation of your pets history, as there are some skin disorders that are more common around a specific age or breed.
The next step can involve either:
- Examination of your pets skin with a specially designed light to check for fungal infections such as ringworm
- A skin biopsy where a small sample of skin cells is taken from a lump or bump for further analysis in a lab
- A blood test to check for infections or certain nutrient deficiencies
This will determine the cause and the best treatment to resolve your pets skin problem.
How do I know if my pet has a skin disorder?
There are a number of signs that your pet may be suffering from a skin condition.
Some of these include:
- Excessive licking, chewing or scratching of the tail and hindquarters, or the face, feet and ears
- Interruption of normal play activities to scratch or lick a particular area
- Discolouration or redness of the skin
- Sensitivity to contact
- Dry oily or flaky skin
- Lumps underneath or on your pets skin
- Skin sores
- A bad smell or odour coming from your pets skin
- Patchy hair loss, or a dull and dry looking coat
For further information on the different types of skin disease that can affect your pet visit:
Ensure you contact your local Sydney Animal Hospital for a consultation if you think your pet may be suffering from a skin disorder.