Possible Culprits Behind Your Pet’s Itchy Skin
One day your pet is fine, happy-go-lucky, and healthy. The next day? Itchy, grumpy, and hurting…While itching and scratching are common, when the frequency reaches maddening degrees, or obsessive licking or biting the skin ensues, it’s time to figure out what’s wrong.
There could be a variety of possible culprits behind your pet’s itchy skin. The bottom line? Don’t let your precious pet suffer.
When your pet hurts, you hurt in commiseration. Likewise, the non-stop scratchfest is super irritating for both of you. If you find yourself getting fed up with your pet’s collar and tags jangling in the night, how might your pet feel?
When we examine your pet’s itchy skin, we try to discern what is causing the problem. Narrowing down the field involves a detailed discussion with you. Learning as much as possible about your pet’s lifestyle, diet, medical history, and potential environmental exposure to itch-causing elements can lead to a quicker diagnosis – and an effective course of treatment.
There are typically six different culprits causing your pet’s itchy skin, and once we have a basic grip on the type, duration, and frequency of symptoms – or if your pet was recently exposed to something new – we can hone in on at least one these:
- Environmental. If he or she is otherwise healthy, it’s likely that your pet’s itchy skin is caused by environmental exposure, such as grass, thistles, or certain types of plastics. Corrective measures often result in complete recovery, but sometimes an area repeatedly licked by your pet can turn into a painful hot spot.
- Parasitic. It’s a natural leap to assume your pet’s itchy skin is caused by fleas. Sometimes leading to shedding, excessive itching, scratching, licking, biting, hair loss, and skin infections, there are effective ways to eradicate them. A parasitic infestation can lead to a serious allergic reaction in your pet via flea saliva. Cheyletiella, demodex, and sarcoptic mites can also cause your pet’s itchy skin.
- Allergic. It can take a considerable amount of time to narrow down allergic dermatitis, and once diagnosed, many allergies resist treatment. Skin and blood tests can help identify atopic dermatitis. Once we understand more about your pet’s triggers, we can try to eliminate them, but there isn’t a cure for allergies.
- Nutritional. Not all commercial pet foods are created equal, and your pet’s itchy skin can be associated with food allergies or a diet that needs improvement. We can help get your pet started on a complete and balanced diet.
- Infectious. Fungal, bacterial, and yeast infections can all cause your pet’s itchy skin. Inflamed skin lesions can actually be spread around your pet’s body via excessive licking, biting, and scratching.
- Neurogenic. When all the above options are exhausted, your pet’s itchy skin may actually be caused by something awry in his or her nervous system. We look at persistent behaviors, such as anxiety, frustration, and boredom to understand persistent, obsessive grooming, licking, or chewing at a certain area.
The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital understand the importance of treating your pet’s itchy skin. Whether it’s through medication or alternative treatments, such as laser therapy, we can help your pet get back on his or her path of wellness – and happiness.
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