What causes skin problems in dogs?

There can be many causes of skin problems in dogs, including infectious causes such as fleas, ticks, or mites, allergies, and metabolic disorders like thyroid problems. A physical exam is essential to help determine the cause of the skin problem.

Dr. Adele Hilliard
Haywood Road Animal Hospital

Are dermatology issues painful for dogs?

It depends on the specific issue. Some skin problems, like skin infections, can be very painful and uncomfortable for dogs. Other issues, like thyroid problems, may not cause pain in the skin but can make the dog feel unwell in general.

What are some signs and symptoms that a dog may have a skin condition?

Signs and symptoms of skin conditions in dogs include redness of the skin, excessive licking, scaling, raised red circles, thinning hair, or a brittle hair coat that has lost its shine or color. These can all be indications that there is a skin issue present.

What tests will be performed to diagnose my dog's skin condition?

Diagnostic tests depend on the results of the physical exam. They can range from tests for bacterial or yeast infections and mite infections to blood work to identify metabolic disorders like thyroid disease or excessive steroid production.

What are some common skin problems in dogs and how are they treated?

One of the most common skin problems in dogs is allergies, which often cause skin infections. Treatment usually involves antibiotics and topical medications to treat the infection and address the underlying allergy. Other common issues include moist dermatitis or hot spots, which can result from contact with irritants or excessive licking due to trauma. These are also treated with antibiotics and topical medications. If blood work indicates a metabolic disorder, treatment will be tailored to address that specific disorder and improve the dog's hair coat.

What if my dog's skin problem is going untreated?

If a dog's skin problem goes untreated, the skin will likely worsen, and the dog will become increasingly uncomfortable and miserable. Most skin conditions will not resolve fully on their own and require treatment.

What is the difference between atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis?

Atopic dermatitis is a generalized term for allergies in dogs, which can be environmental or food-related. It usually involves hair loss and itchiness. Contact dermatitis, on the other hand, is specifically related to irritants that a dog comes into contact with and cause irritation to their skin.

What are curable versus incurable skin problems in dogs?

Curable skin problems include those that can be controlled, such as allergies, by treating the infection and addressing the underlying cause. Allergies may not be fully curable unless allergy shots are used, which can lead to significant improvement. Incurable skin problems include conditions like skin cancer or masses, which, if left untreated or cannot be removed due to size or other factors, may require specialty treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (864) 288-7472, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Dog Dermatology - FAQs

Dr. Adele Hilliard
Haywood Road Animal Hospital

What is dog dermatology?

Dog dermatology is the study of anything related to a dog's skin, ranging from skin masses and infections to other conditions affecting the skin.

Can all veterinarians diagnose skin conditions in my dog, or do I need to see a specialist?

For the majority of skin conditions, a general veterinarian should be able to guide you towards a diagnosis and treatment. However, some more complex conditions might require the help of a specialist. Your regular veterinarian can help you get started on the right track.

Are there any skin conditions in dogs that resolve on their own?

Minor issues like mild insect bites or scratches may resolve on their own. However, skin infections, insect-related problems, and metabolic issues like thyroid problems need to be addressed by a veterinarian.

When should I see my veterinarian for my dog's skin condition?

If you notice no improvement in your dog's skin condition after a day or two, or if the area worsens, it's time to consult your veterinarian.

How can I help my dog avoid skin issues at home?

Maintaining a clean environment and keeping your dog on flea, tick, and mosquito prevention can help keep their skin healthy. It's also recommended to bathe your dog no more than once a week, unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian. Ideally, a bath every two to four weeks is healthier for your dog's skin.

What should I expect from a dog dermatologist?

A veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination of your dog's skin, from nose to tail, and will look at the ears, belly, and all other areas. They will also ask for your dog's medical history, including how long the issue has been going on, any correlations with specific times of the year, and what medications your dog has been on.

Why are recheck exams important?

Recheck exams are crucial because they help ensure that your dog's condition has been fully treated and that no underlying issues remain unaddressed. Without a recheck, there's a possibility that your dog may not fully recover and may require additional courses of antibiotics or other treatments, which can lead to antibiotic resistance.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (864) 288-7472, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram