Itchy skin is one of, if not THE most common medical problem of dogs. It can also be one of the most frustrating for dog, owner and veterinarian alike. Although the symptoms may appear very similar there are actually many different causes of itchy skin. In nearly all cases however there is a cause, and if that cause can be identified and corrected then the associated scratching will resolve. Many owners, because of the constant and ongoing nature of the problem conclude that the dog is scratching out of habit. This situation would in fact rarely, if ever, occur.
The most common cause of itchy skin in dogs is allergy but there are also a significant number of cases that are due to parasitic, bacterial or fungal organisms. Although most dogs with allergic dermatitis will get relief with anti-allergy medication the same medication can actually aggravate some of these other causes. For this reason it is important that the vet is able to examine the dog and obtain a full history of the problem before medication is dispensed. In many cases simple laboratory tests such as skin scrapings may be required to help confirm the diagnosis.
The vast majority of itchy dogs however suffer from allergies. Although medication will usually provide short-term relief it must be remembered that this is only treating the symptoms and the effects will only last while the medication is being given. In many cases cortisone type drugs are the only things that will give relief and although safe when used correctly, it is well established that prolonged use of this type of medication can have adverse side effects. Therefore for ongoing cases it is usually worthwhile trying to identify the specific cause of the allergy and hopefully eliminate it.
If your dog suffers from itchy skin please contact us today! (08) 9356 5696
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