Itching, scratching, fleas, allergies and hair loss are among the most common questions to veterinarians. Hair loss and scratching are very common signs that represent a multitude of possible health or parasite problems. Often the scratching, chewing and licking lead to secondary problems.
Your veterinarian will need to do an examination and likely some testing to determine the root cause and begin treatment. Here are some resources about these common skin problems in dogs and cats.
Oatmeal has been used for years to help soothe skin and control itching, both for humans and for animals. This is a gentle, non-toxic shampoo to soothe itchy skin. Oatmeal shampoo does not kill fleas or ticks.
As with all medical problems, please see your veterinarian first to diagnose and treat the cause of itchy skin first.
Dermatitis is general term that refers to inflammation in the skin. In dogs and cats, dermatitis may be caused by yeast or bacterial infections in the skin.
When your dog or cat's skin becomes damaged, the environment on the surface of the skin changes. This change gives the normal yeast and bacteria living on the surface of the skin the opportunity to avoid the skin's normal defense systems and cause further damage to the skin.
Hair loss and/or scratching are the most common manifestations of both canine and feline skin disease.
Many different diseases can cause skin disease but the skin of the dog or cat can only react to disease in a limited number of ways. As a result, many of the diseases that cause skin problems in dogs and cats also cause similar symptoms and look identical to one another.
In order to be able to successfully diagnose and treat your dog or cat for scratching and hair loss, your veterinarian will likely need to perform some basic laboratory testing.
The most important part of treatment for allergies related to fleas is killing the fleas already on your pet and preventing others from infesting your dog or cat.
In some cases of flea allergy, your dog or cat may be so uncomfortable that additional symptomatic treatments are necessary to relieve the pain and inflammation associated with the allergy.
Food allergy is one of the the potential causes of skin disease in dogs and cats. In cases where food allergy is suspected, your veterinarian will want to perform a food trial.
The food trial will help diagnose the food allergy. At the same time, it will also treat the allergy, if the trial is effective.