Common Pet Skin Issues and How to Treat Them

Dog scratching itself

Skin Issues in Pets

Does your pet frequently scratch, bite, or lick its skin? Allergies, parasites, and infections can cause a variety of itchy skin conditions in pets. These conditions are among the most common.

Flea Bite Dermatitis

Fleas aren't picky. They'll feed on any warm-blooded mammal, whether it's a pet or a person. Flea symptoms include round, red bumps on the skin, hot spots, scabs, and hair loss. In some cases, you may be able to see fleas on your pet's coat. Flea "dirt" is another telltale sign of an infestation. The dirt, which looks like black or brown flecks in the fur, are flea feces.

Dogs and cats are most commonly affected by flea bite dermatitis, but other animals can suffer from the itchy condition. If your dog or cat has fleas, your rabbit, ferret, hamster, gerbil, or guinea pig may have them too.

Treatment

Flea collars, sprays, baths, and ointments can kill fleas. Before using a flea product on a young, old, sick, or small animal, check with your veterinarian first, as some of the products and treatments may be toxic for these pets. Prescription chews, pills, and topical treatments kill mature fleas and larvae and can be used year-round to prevent flea infestations.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that causes raised, red rings on the skin. Other signs and symptoms include a circular pattern of hair loss, dandruff, and scaly, thick or crusty skin. Ringworm can be transmitted between people and pets. If your pet has ringworm, wash your hands after touching your furry friend and be sure to wash his or her bedding, dishes, brushes, and combs frequently.

Treatment

Creams, ointments, and medicated shampoo ease ringworm symptoms. These treatments may be combined with oral anti-fungal medication.

Allergic or Nutritional Dermatitis

Pets can suffer from allergies too. Red, blistered, thick skin along with hair loss can be a sign that your pet has allergic dermatitis. This is a condition that tends to make pets very uncomfortable. They may try to ease the itch by scratching, rubbing against furniture or carpeting, or biting and licking their skin.

Your pet may be allergic to pollen, ragweed, dust mites, mold, or other airborne allergens. They can also be allergic to the ingredients in their food. Allergies can develop at any time in your pet's life. Dermatitis can also occur if your pet eats poor quality food that doesn't meet all of his or her nutritional needs.

Treatment

Treatment for dermatitis depends on the cause but may include immunotherapy, change in diet, antihistamines, medicated shampoo, soothing topical medication, corticosteroids to decrease itching and inflammation, or antibiotics or antifungal medication to treat infections that occur as a result of frequent scratching or licking.

Scabies

Scabies, or sarcoptic mange, occurs when tiny microscopic mites make themselves at home in your pet's skin. Severe itching, rashes, red or flaky skin, and patchy hair loss can be signs of scabies. Although the infection frequently affects dogs, cats can get it too. Scabies is very contagious and can be spread through close contact with other animals. Wash your pet's bedding and clean his or her favorite restings spots frequently.

In some cases, sarcoptic mange can affect people. You may notice red bumps on your skin if your pet transmitted mites to you. Since the mites can't reproduce on human skin, the condition is much less serious in people. Humans can get another form of scabies that causes more severe symptoms. Human scabies cannot spread to animals.

Treatment

Your pet's veterinarian can prescribe several treatments that kill the mites and ease your pet's uncomfortable symptoms, including topical medications, injections, shampoos, and antibiotic and anti-inflammatory medication.

Is your pet scratching much more than usual? A skin condition may be to blame. We can help relieve your pet's itch and determine the cause of your furry friend's rash.

Sources:

Veterinary Practice: Treating Canine Scabies, 4/23/18

DVM360: Atopic Dermatitis in Dogs and Cats, 5/1/11

Veterinary Practice: Treating Canine Scabies, 4/23/18

Purina: Skin Problems and Skin Conditions in Dogs

Companion Animal Parasite Council: Pets and Parasites

Catster: 10 Cat Skin Problems and How to Handle Them

Contact Us Today!

Contact us using the form or call us at 804-741-3200.

Monday:

8:00am

5:00pm

Tuesday:

8:00am

5:00pm

Wednesday:

8:00am

5:00pm

Thursday:

8:00am

5:00pm

Friday:

8:00am

5:00pm

Saturday:

8:00am

12:00pm

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Dr. Evans was so patient and kind with our kitty "Cookie". Very caring and so helpful and answered many questions for me concerning her health. The office staff are kind, caring, and professional. The office is immaculate. I have never been to a vet where my pets and myself were treated so well. Love it and so glad to have found them. Best vet appointment ever!"
    Dorothy M.
  • "We have used the Q for over 15 years for our cats and our dogs. Dr. Mortimer is a genius at diagnosing and treating a wide array of issues, and we have relied on his skills to help our animals live to amazing ages. The staff is incredibly caring. They do everything possible to help when we call or come in with a sick animal. They truly care for our pets, and many of the staff will come out from the back to pet our dogs
    when they come in. They are so patient with shy animals like our ferally cat Stasha who needed laser treatments, and our Bagle Topsy who is afraid of her own shadow.Yes, they are not the cheapest vet in town, but they work with us on making a treatment plan we can afford, and we feel that the value and the care are well worth it. Thank you to everyone at the Q for their dedication and loving care."
    Sally M. / December 21, 2017
  • "Met with Dr. Hiser today for the first time. Everyone at the
    clinic--from the desk staff to the vet techs to the veterinarian were warm and welcoming. My dog Iris--who is often nervous around new people--was comfortable there and (I think) made a few new friends. Looking forward to a continued relationship with the clinic as my sweet girl grows up. Thanks, thanks thanks."
    Stephanie C. / June 27, 2018
  • "My three chihuahuas have been Dr. Mortimer's patients for over nine years. The expertise, love, and care demonstrated for each pet is extraordinary. The doctors and staff go the extra mile to help their patients and the parents. They are truly an amazing group that love and care for each pet. If there was a review rated outstanding, that would have been my choice!"
    Donna C. / June 10, 2018
  • "I would highly recommended QVH. All of the staff are so kind and compassionate. They are so willing to help and never mind answering any questions you may have, even if it's 100 questions they are so patient. They genuinely care and treat your pets as if they were their own. And I cannot say enough about Dr. Hiser. She is amazing. Even on her days off she would still call and check in on my dog. I am so appreciative of this place and the staff. It's a great feeling to be completely comfortable with putting your pets care in someone's else hands and trusting them to provide the best service."
    Taylor H. / August 25, 2018
  • "I have been seeing Dr. Evans for at least 20 years. Her manner, knowledge, staff and facility are exceptional. I am a health care provider myself and hold the care of my pets to the highest standards....and I have never had a second thought about the care or recommendations of Dr. Evans. I moved out of town 6 years ago....and drive 3 hours each way to see her."
    Kimberley W. / April 2, 2018
  • "Wouldn't trust my four-legged Kids to anyone else - they have guided us with all our dogs through the years. The entire staff is kind and patient with the animals (and their parents)."
    Karen K. / November 7, 2017

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles