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Dog Itchy Skin

The causes for itchy skin in dogs often show a particular
pattern of itchiness.  From this pattern, it is sometimes
possible to ascertain the cause of your dog’s itchy skin.  
skin in this video.

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Itchy Dog

An itchy dog can be one of the most difficult conditions in
treatment is aimed at a variety of possible causes. In the
pursuit of a diagnosis, a complete history is important.
Whether the itching is seasonal or all year round, what diet
(beef, chicken, fish, lamb, etc) the dog is on, whether we have
had any contact recently with other animals, and whether or
not any human members of the household have any skin
lesions that may have been acquired from your pet, are all
factors in determining the cause of the itching.

Medical tests that may be performed include a skin scraping to
check for mange, a tape prep to see what secondary infections
are present on the skin, a ringworm culture, and serum allergy
tests to determine what if anything your dog is allergic to.
Generally, dogs that have skin allergies are affected by one or
more of the following three agents:
1) by
fleas (Flea Allergic Dermatitis),
2) by food (Food Allergic Dermatitis), and/or
3) by inhaled allergens (
Canine Atopy).

Flea allergies are relatively easy to diagnose from the physical
exam. Keep in mind that it only takes one or two flea bites to
get a large area of skin itching for a flea allergic dog. For flea
allergic dogs, we recommend Capstar, Advantage, Frontline or
Revolution.

A serum allergen test helps us determine whether your dog
has
canine atopy. Therefore, we recommend doing a serum
allergy test to determine the allergens that your pet is allergic
to. Having the results to this test allows you to avoid
exposure of your dog to those allergens if possible and/or
make up an individualized set of allergy vaccines (“allergy
shots”) to be given to your dog on a regular basis.

Often we still need to treat your pet’s itching symptomatically
with either corticosteroids* (prednisone tablets, short-acting
dexamethasone injections, etc) or antihistamines
(hydroxyzine). If skin lesions are present, an antibiotic is
usually also recommended. In addition if a food allergy is
suspected, we strongly recommend putting your dog on a
hypoallergenic diet. Topical shampoos are also important
symptomatic treatments to help your pet feel more
comfortable. Some nutritional supplements are also
recommended as adjunctive therapy to help your dog's skin
problem.

*Corticosteroids, although very effective symptomatic-therapy
medications, may cause liver disease after long-term use.

- Sam D. Meisler DVM

The statements or information on this website have not
been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.