Noticing an unfamiliar bump, rash, or bald patch on your pup’s body is an unnerving experience for any pet owner. Quite frequently, canine skin conditions seem to appear out of nowhere, and can leave owners wondering what caused them, or how they went unnoticed.
What may come as a surprise, however, is that there are more than 150 types of skin disorders in dogs, making it almost impossible to accurately diagnose your pet’s condition without the expertise and trained eye of a veterinary professional.
Don’t be discouraged, however, because pet owners still play a pivotal role in the detection of canine skin conditions. This is why it is so important for them to be aware of the various signs associated with dog skin problems.
When armed with the right information, pet owners can ensure their beloved furry friends receive the best possible care when it’s needed most.
The Most Common Causes of Dog Skin Diseases
There are a myriad of circumstances that can lead to canine skin conditions, ranging from something as trivial as using the wrong type of shampoo to bathe your dog, all the way up to contagious diseases. This makes diagnosing skin disorders in dogs a tricky undertaking. Even highly-trained veterinarians sometimes have to engage in a process of elimination to determine the cause of the problem.
In general, however, some of the most common causes of dog skin problems include:
1. Seasonal Factors
Much like human skin, dog skin can be sensitive to changes in climate and the environment. Dry, dandery skin is common during frigid winter months, while allergic reactions occur more in the spring and summer. Signs of seasonal skin allergies can include itchy skin and paws, ear infections, and excessive scratching or licking, especially around the face, ears, paws, and underarms.
2. Infectious Skin Diseases
Infectious skin conditions in dogs can be both contagious and non-contagious, and typically fall into one of four categories: parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral. Most infectious skin disorders in dogs are contracted from an open cut, blister, or sore on your pet’s body.
Thankfully, the majority of infectious skin diseases can be treated with medicine and proper monitoring. There are, however, some infectious canine skin conditions that make their way deeper into the skin or spread throughout the body. Thus, it’s highly important that your pet’s condition be assessed by a veterinary professional.
3. Congenital Skin Diseases
Some animals are born with a genetic predisposition for certain skin conditions or abnormalities. Some of these conditions are present from birth, while others don’t begin to show symptoms for several months. Either way, if your pet has a congenital skin disease, it will likely require medical attention for the rest of your pup’s life. But the good news is that many of these conditions are manageable, and do not have to hinder your pet’s ability to enjoy life.
Curable VS Incurable Dog Skin Problems
Canine skin conditions can range from mild to severe, with a wide range of treatment options. Some are super-quick to address, like allergies and yeast infections, while others have no known cure. Of course, this can be distressing for pet owners who just want to ensure their dog lives a full, long, and healthy life. Thus, the best thing a pet owner can do to protect their pet is to educate themselves on both types of dog skin diseases and act immediately if symptoms arise.
Curable Dog Skin Problems
Many chronic canine skin conditions, like reoccurring bacterial dermatitis, appear much worse than they actually are. Pet owners become worried when they notice bald patches on their pup, or crusty patches of skin that seem irritated or uncomfortable. But, thankfully, these conditions are actually highly responsible to medical treatment, and can often be cured with a strict antibiotic regimen.
Other common dog skin problems that are completely curable include:
- Yeast infections
- Fleas and mites
- Hot spots
Incurable Dog Skin Problems
It’s not unusual for pet owners to panic when they hear the term “incurable”. After all, no one wants their special little critter to feel uncomfortable or unwell for the rest of their lives. But, as luck would have it, incurable diseases do not have to mean that your pet will suffer.
Many incurable dog skin issues can be managed with a little extra care and the proper medication.
Cushing’s disease in dogs, for example, can result in hair loss, bruising, and darkening of the skin. Medications like trilostane (Vetoryl), however, can alleviate many of your pet’s symptoms and allow them to live a full life with minimal side effects.
Other common skin conditions in dogs that aren’t yet curable include:
- Epidermal dysplasia
- Alabama rot
How to Protect Your Pet
One of the best ways to protect your pet from potential health conditions is to invest in pet insurance.
At Pet’s Best, our dog insurance plans cover accidents and illnesses including chronic conditions. These plans offer customizable annual limits, annual deductibles, and 70, 80, or 90 percent reimbursement.
With multiple levels of coverage, BestBenefit plans can be customized to meet the pet insurance needs of your four-legged family member, and your budget.
Pet insurance offered and administered by Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC is underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company (APIC) or Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC). Please see www.americanpetinsurance.com to review all available pet health insurance products underwritten by APIC. IAIC is a member of The IHC Group, an organization of insurance carriers and marketing and administrative affiliates, please see www.ihcgroup.com for additional information. Please refer to your declarations page to determine the underwriter for your policy. Each insurer has sole financial responsibility for its own products.