One of the most common reasons owners bring their pets into our office is skin problems. Dogs and cats can display a wide variety of symptoms related to skin problems, from minor itching to major hair loss and open sores. At the Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs and Glenwood Veterinary Clinic, our goal is to find the cause of your pet's skin problem before trying to treat these symptoms. Once we know what type of dermatology problem your pet has, we're more likely to find the control or cure for lasting relief.
Incurable vs. Curable
There are two very different types of skin problems in dogs and cats: those that can be cured and those that your pet will deal with for a lifetime. The curable skin disorder we see most often is bacterial dermatitis. Your pet will have crusty scales on their skin, lose patches of fur, and suffer inflamed eruptions of sores. It's a tough disease to cure, often taking three months or longer, and we usually see it in pets that need a more nutritious diet. Some other curable skin disorders include yeast infections, ringworm, and skin problems due to parasites like fleas and mites.
Incurable skin diseases can be miserable for both pets and their owners. They can be caused by hormone imbalances, allergies to flea saliva or certain foods, or autoimmune disorders. In most cases, once we find the correct antigen we can control the symptoms throughout your pet's life.
The Most Common Dog Skin Problems
We have canine patients with skin problems all year long, although the summer months are busier due to the increased number of parasites in the environment. The reasons we see these dogs are varied, and these are the most common problems:
- Itchy skin, which can be a problem on its own or a symptom of something more serious. Itchy skin can create larger problems such as hair loss and sores
- Allergies, which can be the result of a reaction to fleas, something in the environment, or a food that's affecting your dog.
- Sores and hot spots, which are moist, open wounds. These can be caused by parasites as well as a bacterial infection and should be seen by one of our veterinarians as soon as possible
- Hair loss, which isn't normal for any dog, no matter what age. It can be caused by a wide variety of things, from parasites to Cushing's disease
- Dry, dull coats, which are most often associated with poor diet. An addition of Omega-3 fatty acids to your dog's food will usually add some shine and smooth texture to your furry friend's fur
The Most Common Dermatology Problems in Cats
Cats are very good at hiding any health problems, but most owners should be able to tell when they're suffering from a skin disease. Here are some of the most common skin problems we see in our feline patients.
- Masses and swellings beneath the skin. We almost always need to do a biopsy to diagnose the problem, but in most cases, it's nothing more than an abscess caused by a bump or lesion
- Sores on the face or ears that don't go away can be caused by allergies, viruses, fungus, and bacteria. It's important that we see your cat if any sore doesn't heal within a week
- Hair loss, which can be very sudden in cats. This can be caused by fleas, ringworm, allergies, and even stress. In older cats, it can be an indicator of more serious internal problems
- Allergies, which can come from the environment, fleas, or food, just like in dogs
- Flaky skin and dull coat, which might have two reasons. A lack of Omega-3 fatty acids can cause poor skin and fur in any cat. If your cat is obese, it might not be able to reach part of its back to groom itself.
Looking for a Veterinarian in Council Bluffs and Glenwood?
Being aware of your pet's health is an important part of being a responsible pet owner, and this includes watching for changes in your pet's body. If your dog or cat is suffering from any dermatology symptoms, make an appointment with a veterinarian in Council Bluffs and Glenwood. Our experienced and professional teams will be happy to care for your dog or cat right away. Give us a call in Council Bluffs at (712) 323-0598 or in Glenwood at 712-527-9454 today.