Pet dermatology involves the diagnosis and treatment of various skin conditions, including
ear infections, fungal infections, and allergies.
Dogs and cats can both suffer from skin conditions, which, if left untreated, may escalate and become major health problems. We commonly see skin and ear conditions in pets here in Port Hadlock, WA, and these are often due to allergies (caused by dietary ingredients, fleas, or allergens in the environment), mites, fungal infections (like ringworm), or a disease of the immune or endocrine system. Sometimes, there may be multiple causes of particular skin condition. Some of our vets here at Chimacum Valley have a unique interest in cat and dog dermatology and invest in continuing education to stay on the leading edge of dermatologic treatments for pets.
Clinical Signs of Cat/Dog Skin Conditions & Allergies
Because skin conditions in dogs and cats can worsen without timely treatment, it’s important to know the signs of a potential dermatologic issue or allergy:
- Ongoing scratching, licking, and chewing of the skin (and sometimes the feet)
- Red, inflamed ears
- Recurring hotspots
- Skin lesions
- Bald patches of skin
- Dry, flaking patches on the skin
- Dull, greasy coat
- Rubbing of the eyes and mouth
- Runny eyes/nose
Does your pet have any of these symptoms? If so, we recommend bringing them in for an exam with their vet so we can help you find a treatment. We want to help your pet find relief from their symptoms and make their condition more manageable overall. Our team will discuss your pet’s treatment plan, which will include an exam, possible testing, available treatment options, and tips to prevent future flareups.
Our Recommendations for Treating Skin Issues in Your Pet
Below are some of our most important recommendations for reducing the severity of, or preventing, skin issues and allergies in your pet.
- MAINTAIN MONTHLY FLEA PREVENTION – Make sure all pets in your household are receiving their monthly flea prevention. For the highest quality prevention product, consult with your veterinarian at Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital for the best recommendations.
- BATHE YOUR PET – Regular baths can keep your pet’s skin problems under control. We recommend shampoos that are formulated to be gentle and effective for your pet. If frequent baths are needed, make sure you are giving your companion non-washable flea preventative.
- ADJUST THEIR DIET – Your pet needs a balanced, high-quality diet to stay healthy. Eating the wrong foods can actually cause or exacerbate skin conditions and/or allergies. Check with your veterinarian to develop a nutrition plan for your pet and let us know if we need to make any changes to keep up with their evolving dietary needs.
- SPEAK TO YOUR VET ABOUT A DIET CHANGE – If you think your pet might be allergic to something in their food, do not attempt to change their diet on your own without first speaking with the vet. Food allergies can take time to properly diagnose and treat, as we need to isolate the ingredient (or ingredients) responsible for the allergy. A proper food trial can help us find the culprit and prevent confusion (and wasted time and money).
- ASK YOUR VET ABOUT MEDICATIONS TO TRY – Before you administer any skin creams or oral medications to your pet, speak with your veterinarian first! They’ll recommend the proper medication, dosage, and frequency to ensure the safest and most effective administration for your pet. If your vet’s recommended treatment does not seem to be working, get in touch with us or discuss the issue at your pet’s re-check appointment.
- SCHEDULE FOLLOW-UPS WITH YOUR VET – When it comes to treating skin conditions and allergies in dogs and cats, re-check appointments are vital. This is especially important when your pet’s condition starts looking better and you might think a re-check isn’t necessary. Skin and ear conditions may outwardly appear to be resolved, but they can be stubborn, and skipping a re-check could result in a flareup or the development of another issue.
- DON’T WAIT FOR SYMPTOMS TO PERSIST– Early intervention of a skin disorder is the best way to treat it effectively. If you notice red, raw, itchy skin, and/or odor coming from your pet’s skin/ears, contact our office so we can identify the problem and propose treatment as soon as possible to keep things from getting worse.
- SEEK CARE GUIDANCE FROM YOUR VET – Do NOT stick a Q-tip down into your pet’s ear canal, and never wash their ears with a solution that is not veterinarian approved. Also, home remedies are not always safe, especially if you don’t know the full extent of your pet’s condition. Pets with ear infections may have a damaged ear drum, and attempting to flush out the ear can cause severe pain and overall worsening of their condition.
- BRING IN YOUR PET FOR YEARLY VET VISITS – Your pet should see us at least once a year for a full physical examination. You might be surprised what developing issues we can discover during a seemingly normal checkup! And the sooner we find these issues, the sooner we can treat them.