Patapsco Valley View
Volume 20 Sept 2014
Why Does He Need to Come In?
He’s Just Itching!
There are very few days when the receptionist doesn’t get at least one phone call where a client says, “My dog/cat is itching!”
Now we wish we had an all inclusive answer to what the problem might be, but there are many possibilities, which is why the doctor will need to examine your pet in order to give you the correct answer.
Inflammatory skin issues can have many causes.
For example….did you know?
Scratching at the chin can be caused by a problem with the teeth, or even acne that cats can have because they are sensitive to chemicals or have allergies.
Scratching at the ears most likely signals that your pet has an ear issue which can be caused by 1) an actual bacterial infection (which requires antibiotics) 2) a fungal infection (which needs to be treated with an anti fungal medication) 3) an allergic response related to outside or inside factors including pollen, mold, or dust (an anti-inflammatory can provide great relief) or even 4) an earmite invasion (which requires an entirely different course of treatment.
Chewing at the feet can be a sign of allergic irritation and may be treated with am antihistamine, but if the feet are inflamed a steroid might be necessary. If the skin is open, oozing, or has pustules, your pet may need antibiotics to treat a skin infection. Remember your pet’s feet walk through grasses, mud, water and dirt all the time, so you want to keep a close eye on them and if your pet is chewing it’s a sign that they need some treatment.
The skin is designed to be the first level of defense against germs and diseases, so you want to keep an eye on things.
If your pet is scratching, you first want to do a complete once over of his body because your pet may be one of the many that have met with the lowly flea! Fleas bite your bite and draw blood which can be very irritating, although some pets don‘t seem to respond to this and can be covered with the hopping creatures! Then there are the most sensitive animals who get bitten once and have an allergic reaction that has them scratching and biting so much that they actually pull out their hair and cause a skin wound. Even if you use a good flea and tick preventative, do a once over of your pet’s skin a couple of times a week just to make sure that you aren’t seeing any lumps or wounds that can develop under a healthy haircoat.
Allergies to the environment can also cause your pet to scratch and chew even to the point of producing what is called a lick sore. These can start out very small and grow exponentially.
Mange is caused by a mite that can be carried into your yard by wildlike. Sarcoptic mange can cause horrible itching, chewing, and extreme hair loss. It can also be transmitted to other members of the family including you!
Then there’s hair loss caused by endocrine disorders, abscesses caused by cat fights, and even food allergies (which needs to be managed with a strict change of diet).
All in all there’s a lot of things that might make your pet scratch. To make an accurate diagnosis the doctor needs to see the type of lesions and areas affected. To determine the cause she may need to run tests such as skin scrapings (to check for mites), skin cytology (to check for bacteria or fungus), blood tests (to check for organ dysfunction), or biopsies (to check for cancer or immune disorders).
We’re here to help your pet get the best possible care and the quickest relief.