Skin Care

Diagnosis and treatment of skin-related conditions that can cause discomfort, pain, and illness.

A healthy coat is shiny with minimal shedding, flaking and no signs of redness, hair loss or excessive itching. If your pet has skin disease you will notice excessive shedding with hair loss, odour, redness, excessive flaking and often time itching to the point of self-trauma. Sometimes you only notice hair loss. A visit to your veterinarian is recommended when you notice these symptoms or any other concerns arise.

What are the causes, symptoms & diagnosis of bacterial skin infections?

Bacterial skin infections are caused by Staphylococcus bacteria, which does not cause disease on normal skin. These bacteria require underlying skin disease, such as allergies, parasitic infestations, seborrhea or hormonal imbalances in order to cause disease. The signs appear as small red bumps which progress with pimple-type lesions and then crusts with a ring of loose skin. Itching and hair loss can also be seen. Treatment is with antibacterial shampoos if mild and oral antibiotics in more severe cases.

What are the causes, symptoms, and treatment for ringworms?

Ringworm is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. They feed on dead skin cells and require contact with abraded skin. The spores of dermatophytes are very hardy and live in the environment for years. Ringworm appears as a dry, gray, scaly patch, but can mimic other skin diseases and is contagious. Treatment is with topical ointments and often oral antifungals for 1-2 months are required along with extensive environmental treatment.

What are the causes and treatments for allergic skin diseases?

Allergies are caused by hypersensitivity reactions to commonplace or harmless substances in the environment or food. Allergies typically manifest in pets as itchy, red, greasy skin with eventual hair loss. There are many different skin issues caused by allergies. Food allergies are caused by sensitivity to an ingredient in the food and occur once a pet has been on the food for a long period of time. Flea allergy dermatitis is a very common skin disease and is caused by a sensitivity to flea bite saliva. Atopy or inhalant allergies are caused by a sensitivity to plant pollens, mold spores, dust mites and many other environmental substances. Some of these can be seasonal in nature and only occur during certain times of the year when the allergens are in the environment. Contact allergies can also occur when the pet’s skin is in contact with a material that it is sensitive to. Diagnosis involves allergy testing and hypoallergenic food trials. Treatment involves avoidance, hypoallergenic diets, parasite control, medications to address the itch and immunotherapy. Usually, these pets require a lifetime of multimodal treatment and management, as there is no cure for allergies.

What are the causes and treatments for parasitic skin diseases?

Parasitic skin disease can be caused by larger skin parasites, such as fleas or lice or microscopic ones such as sarcoptic, demodectic and notoedric mange. Parasites such as fleas and lice are diagnosed and treated easily. Mange is diagnosed by skin scrapings, skin biopsies or often presumptive treatment.

What are the causes and treatments for hormonal skin diseases?

Hormonal skin disease is caused by an excess or lack of certain hormones in the body. Symptoms range from hair loss to poor coat condition but rarely are these itchy. Cushing’s disease is caused by an overabundance of a hormone called cortisol in the body. Diagnosis is with multiple blood tests and treatment is a drug that decreases the amount of cortisol in the body. Thyroid disease in dogs is caused by a lack of thyroid hormone. Treatment is with a blood test and this hormonal disease is treated by supplementing with thyroid hormone.

Return to Dog Services