Skin diseases in dogs

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There are many skin diseases in dogs and, in fact, they are part of the most frequent reasons for veterinary consultation. It is important to resort to the veterinary clinic or hospital from the first signs because these types of diseases, if not treated soon, can become complicated and be very annoying for the dog..

In this AnimalWised article we are going to review the most common skin diseases in dogs. We will see what are the symptoms to which we should pay attention and that suggest that our dog requires early veterinary assistance. We will also talk about the most appropriate treatments.

You may also be interested in: Skin diseases in cats Index
  1. Symptoms of skin diseases in dogs
  2. Flea Bite Allergic Dermatitis (DAPP)
  3. Atopic dermatitis
  4. Mushrooms
  5. Malassezia dermatitis
  6. Scabies
  7. Seborrhea
  8. Pyoderma
  9. Folliculitis
  10. Acute wet dermatitis
  11. Pododermatitis
  12. Neoplasms
  13. Injuries
  14. Hormonal problems
  15. Behavior problems
  16. How to cure skin diseases in dogs?
  17. Diagnosis of skin diseases in dogs
  18. Treatment of skin diseases in dogs

Symptoms of skin diseases in dogs

Before going on to detail the most common diseases that can affect the skin of dogs, we will list the most common symptoms that will indicate that there is a dermatological problem. They are as follows:

  • Itching or scratching.
  • Alopecia, that is, hairless areas.
  • Dermatitis, which is literally inflammation of the skin.
  • Erythema or redness of the skin.
  • Ulcers or open wounds.
  • Papules, which are red, graniform bumps.
  • Pustules, lesions with pus inside.
  • Scabs, which are wounds that have dried.
  • Nodules, lumps, grains or masses, which we can observe or feel as bumps of different sizes.
  • Hyperpigmentation or dark skin.
  • Hyperkeratosis or thickened skin.

1. Flea Bite Allergic Dermatitis (DAPP)

Allergic dermatitis to flea bites in dogs is very common and is caused by a hypersensitivity reaction to flea saliva. These parasites feed on blood and in doing so bite the dog. This contact is capable of triggering the allergy for which a single bite is enough. The dog will scratch and we will see wounds and alopecia, especially in the lumbosacral area. If it is not treated quickly the injuries will get worse. Flea control is essential for healing.

Image: MSD Manual Veterinary

2. Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis in dogs or atopy is one of the most common allergies in dogs and is a very common skin disease in dogs. The hypersensitivity reaction can be produced mites, pollen, dust, etc. Although initially its presentation may be seasonal, the truth is that it ends up being extended throughout the year. It is characterized by itching.

This and intense licking are the cause of dermatological lesions. There may also be a runny nose, eye, sneezing or otitis. It is common to see feet with brown spots. Among the allergies also stand out adverse reactions to food such as meat, dairy, soy, etc., manifested with itching, red bumps or pustules. In both cases, it can be difficult to determine what the trigger is.

3. Mushrooms

In the section on fungi we are going to highlight a type that produces a well-known skin disease in dogs, such as ringworm in dogs, which causes circular alopecia especially in young animals and is a pathology that can be spread to other species, human beings included. That is why treatment is essential to eliminate the fungus and establish hygiene measures to prevent its transmission..

4. Malsezia dermatitis

Malassezia in dogs is a yeast that can cause a skin disease in dogs and is very involved in otitis. It is considered to be a habitual inhabitant of the skin and only under conditions of imbalance is it pathological. In these cases there will be itching and scaly lesions. There may be a bad smell.

5. Scabies

Mange is a skin disease in dogs produced by mites. There are two types of scabies. Sarcoptic mange causes severe itching, alopecia, and inflammation. It is also very contagious, even for humans, hence the importance of its treatment. Demodectic scabies, with a localized presentation, similar to ringworm, or generalized, with alopecia on the head, legs and trunk.

6. Seborrhea

Seborrhea in dogs is a condition in which they occur flakes that can be dry, like dandruff, or oily, Due to an excess of sebum production that, in addition, produces a bad smell. This skin disease in dogs can be primary, which is treatable but incurable, or secondary, when triggered by another pathology.

7. Pyoderma

Pyoderma in dogs is a deep infection that can appear as complication to different diseases of the skin in dogs. This is so because it is easier for skin already in poor condition to be infected by scratching, excessive licking, etc. It will require a veterinary treatment with disinfection and antibiotics.

8. Folliculitis

Folliculitis in dogs is a skin disease in dogs characterized by the appearance of small pimples or pustules. It is due to an infection in the hair follicles. It can be mild or deep, when the infection manages to affect internal areas of the dermis, causing boils that rupture and release pus.

9. Acute wet dermatitis

Also known as "hot spots", acute wet dermatitis in dogs is very painful for the dog, so analgesia is often included as part of the treatment. Are swollen areas that ooze pus and produce a bad odor. Appear acutely and spread rapidly anywhere on the body.

10. Pododermatitis

This skin disease in dogs is confined to the legs of the animal. It can be the result of trauma, foreign bodies, allergies, irritants, parasites, etc. It is appreciated erythema, edema, oozing, swelling, or lameness. Treatment requires diagnosis of the cause.

11. Neoplasms

The neoplasms are abnormal tissue masses that we will appreciate as lumps under the skin. We know them as tumors in dogs. They can be benign or malignant. It is important to differentiate them from other lumps called abscesses, which are collections of pus that can occur as a result of foreign bodies, bites, etc. Pustules, boils and pimples would be small abscesses that appear frequently as a symptom of different skin diseases in dogs.

12. Injuries

They are not strictly skin diseases in dogs but any trauma or foreign body It is capable of causing more or less serious damage. Superficial wounds can be solved at home but the rest must be controlled by a veterinarian.

On the other hand, some injuries, generally acute, with reddish bumps and inflammation, They are due to contact with an irritating substance, which is called contact dermatitis. It usually affects areas devoid of hair.

Another common type of injury is known corns or pressure sores. They are produced by pressure generally in areas of articulation and are more common in large dogs that sleep on hard surfaces.

13. Hormonal problems

Sometimes, the skin disease in dogs that manifests itself is not due to a dermatological problem, but is consequence of different pathologies linked to hormonal problems such as hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, hyperestrogenism or hypoestrogenism. They do not itch but do cause symmetric bilateral alopecia. All these diseases must be diagnosed and treated by the veterinarian.

14. Behavior problems

Some dogs that experience stressful situations and behavioral problems They can redirect their anxiety towards their own body, which results in injuries from excessive licking, nibbling, etc. Among these skin diseases in dogs, acral lick dermatitis stands out, which appears on the tarsi or carpus..

It seems that there could be a physical cause that provokes that first attention of the dog on its skin, such as mites, fungi or a wound. Needs veterinary treatment and improvements in the quality of life of the animal. It's hard to heal.

How to cure skin diseases in dogs?

There are numerous pathologies that can damage the skin of our dog and, furthermore, they are not always easy to detect. Sometimes a professional figure in the sector can alert us, such as our canin groomeror. If it is about minor conditions, such as a superficial wound, a flea or substance that has caused a dermatitis, we can solve it at home with a disinfectant, antiparasitic prescribed by the veterinarian or avoiding the harmful product.

Instead, yes the dog won't stop scratching, have inflamed, hairless, purulent areas or masses, we must go to the veterinary center urgently. If the skin is not treated soon, the condition will worsen and the skin will darken and thicken..

Diagnosis of skin diseases in dogs

Faced with problems in the skin of the dog, our veterinarian, with the assistance of a Veterinary Technical Assistant, can resort to different diagnostic tests such as Wood's lamp, which detects the presence of fungi, scrapings, which allow the skin to be observed under a microscope in search of parasites such as mites, or, also, cultures or skin biopsies.

Skin tests can be done for allergies. If a systemic disease is suspected, a blood test will be ordered. It is very important to make a good diagnosis to choose the treatment option more suitable.

Treatment of skin diseases in dogs

There are many treatment options because, as we have seen, there are causes of different origins. Treatment can be based on kill the parasite and prevent its appearance if there is one. Disinfect the skin, cleanse with topical products or shampoos, or administer antibiotics in the case of bacterial infections. Corticosteroids and products of similar effect are prescribed to reduce inflammation and itching.

Hormonal problems will require medication and close veterinary monitoring. In addition, when behavior influences the disease, we must change the dog's living conditions, going to a canine educator or ethologist if necessary. Food allergies are treated with a hypoallergenic diet. Immunotherapy is also used. Abscesses and neoplasms may require surgical intervention.

If you want to know more about diagnostic tests, veterinary treatment or the care of the dog's skin and coat, do not hesitate to train in the VETFORMATION Veterinary Assistant course, Likewise, you can also specialize in the VETFORMATION Dog Grooming course.

This article is merely informative, at we do not have the power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the vet in the event that it presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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