Skin conditions are one of the most common reasons cat and dog owners seek veterinarian services. Skin conditions affecting pets can be caused by a variety of factors from allergies to insects, fungal and bacterial infections. Symptoms can range from hair loss to the development of lesions depending on the type of condition and the seriousness of it.

If you ever notice your dog or cat scratching, rubbing, chewing, biting or licking themselves excessively, take them to your local vet who can give you a referral for the pet dermatologist. Your pet may be suffering from one of the following common skin conditions below.

  1. Fleas

Dogs and cats are both sensitive to fleas and can develop allergies, which can then cause serious skin disease. It doesn’t take many fleas for your pet to develop a severe reaction. Pets who suffer from flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) are allergic to the flea’s saliva and become very itchy after being bitten.

Flea prevention products can help prevent the issue, but these must be used on the pet as well as their bedding. You should also vacuum the house as 90 per cent of the flea population will live off your pet. Treatment can include topical steroid, antibiotic creams or shampoos and oral antihistamines, steroids and antibiotics

  1. Atopic Dermatitis (Atopy)

Atopy is the second most common skin condition affecting pets and is caused by an allergy or hypersensitivity to indoor and outdoor allergens. This can include grasses, trees, pollen, mould spores and dust mites. Pets with atopic dermatitis will often excessively itch and lick themselves as well as rubbing their face.

Ears and feet are commonly affected and are areas where infections can develop leading to scabbing, and discharge. Pets with atopic dermatitis are also likely to be prone to food allergies and flea bite allergies.

  1. Mange

Mange is a skin condition caused by several different types of mites, the two most common being demodex and scabies. Mite infections can occur all year round and often don’t cause a problem.

When there is an abnormality in the dog’s immune system, demodex mites can thrive, causing hair loss and skin damage, followed by bacterial infections. Scabies, on the other hand, is extremely itchy. It is usually contracted from native wildlife or other infected dogs. Unlike demodex, scabies can pass to people as well.

  1. Hot Spots

Hot spots, otherwise known as traumatic pyodermatitis, often initially appears as a discrete moist patch of hair loss on your dog’s skin that is very itchy that sometimes discharges pus and is smelly. Hot spots can be caused by anything that irritates your pet’s skin ranging from infections and flea bites to allergies and wounds. Pets often chew and lick at the affected area persistently, causing more infection and itching.

  1. Ringworm

Despite the name, ringworm is not caused by a worm but is a fungal infection. It’s highly contagious and can spread to other animals and humans. Ringworm usually appear as circular, crusty bald patches. Puppies and kittens are more commonly affected but older pets can contract it as well. Treatment can involve medicated shampoo or oral medications depending on the severity of infection.

Specialist Veterinary Services in Sydney

If your dog or cat is suffering from a skin condition, it’s a good idea to take them to see a pet dermatologist. For a range of veterinary services for your pet, speak to our specialist vets at Sydney Veterinary Emergency & Specialists today. Book an appointment from Monday to Friday 8:30am-6pm or contact us for emergency veterinarian services and after hours care. Call us on (02) 9197 5800, contact us online or learn more about our services.