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Dogs and Skin Disorders

 by jaime on 15 Aug 2014 |
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Skin disorders can be uncomfortable and at times debilitating for dogs. They can range from minor, easily treatable conditions to more chronic disorders that can impair your dog's life.

Skin conditions are one of the leading reasons that dogs are brought to their veterinarian and can be caused by a huge variety of factors, from the seasons, weather, diet and hereditary conditions.

Depending on what the particular skin condition is, there will be a variety of symptoms that may present themselves in your dog.

Common or general symptoms of skin disorders are:

  • Rashes
  • Hair loss or bald patches
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Scabs
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Lesions
  • Swelling or lumps
  • Skin discolouration
  • Scaly patches
  • Scratching, licking or chewing at skin


Types of skin conditions

Infectious skin disorders

  • Ringworm – a fungal infection of the hair and follicles
  • Alabama rot – an often fatal condition produced from toxins by the E. Coli bacteria
  • Canine scabies – microscopic parasites invading the skin.
  • Malassezia dermatitis – very common yeast infection.
  • Cheyletiella – mild form of dermatitis caused by mites.

Immune-mediated skin disorders

  • Pemphigus- autoimmune skin disease causing ulceration and crusting of the skin, fluid-filled sacs and cysts and pus filled lesions.

  • Discoid lupus erythematosus- autoimmune disease that affects the basal cell layer of the skin.

Hereditary skin disorders

  • Ehlers-Danlos – or skin fragility syndrome, causes the skin to stretch, sag and become very painful.
  • Hypotrichosis – or congenital alopecia. Hair loss from birth or early age.
  • Ichthyosis – Thickening of the outer layer of the skin and foot pads.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis – chronic re-occuring mild form of dermatitis

Environmental skin disorders

  • Acral lick granulomas – often caused by anxiety, causes dogs to lick (usually) their legs and feet causing sore lesions.
  • Staphylococcus infection – contagious bacterial infection.
  • Hot spot – or moist dermatitis is a localised skin inflammation.

Skin disorders can also be caused by fleas, seasonal allergies (pollen, dust, mites, grasses) or food allergies (beef, chicken, wheat, corn, food colourings).

Some skin disorders are sometimes a marker for other more serious health conditions such as hormonal abnormalities or even tumours.

If you are even slightly concerned or notice any symptoms take your dog to the vet where they will investigate. Your vet is likely to perform skin biopsies, microscopic examinations, allergy testing or blood tests.

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