Pets are affected by a number of different dermatologic issues. Unfortunately, many dermatologic issues, from chronic allergies to lumps and bumps, rarely have a simple solution and often require diagnostics to address properly. Choosing the right veterinarian that is knowledgeable in dermatology is crucial. In some cases your veterinarian may refer you to a Board Certified Dermatology Specialist for more advanced treatment. Together your Veterinarian and Veterinary Dermatologist will develop a long term, multifaceted approach to keep your pet happy and itch free!
One of the most common issues we deal with is itching. Frequent itching can be very frustrating for both pets and owners. Excessive itching can lead to secondary skin and ear infections, which only make the itching worse. Some pets may have a simple one time problem that is easily treated, others may have chronic allergy related issues that will require lifelong management.
Often, owners assume food allergies are the cause, and the pet store sales staff is eager to help them switch to the most expensive “grain free”, “all-natural” diet. Changing your pet’s diet, especially without the guidance of a trained veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist, is unlikely to solve the problem because food allergies only account for 5-10% of all allergic skin diseases in dogs! If your pet has food allergies, it may have other allergies that wouldn’t be addressed at all by changing its diet.
Fleas are one of the most common causes of itching and scratching in pets, especially in the Central Valley. Unlike other parts of the U.S., we see fleas all year round. Pets that have allergies are usually especially allergic to fleas. Placing your pet on a quality prescription flea control helps eliminate fleas from the equation to make your pet more comfortable. Even cats that are strictly indoors often still need flea prevention. Sure, there are many products available over the counter, but they are not as effective as prescription products. Many of them are generic versions of popular medications that veterinarians stopped carrying several years ago, because newer and more effective products have come out. The other important component of flea prevention is making sure your house and yard are professionally treated for fleas on a regular basis. Your pet can be on high quality flea prevention, but if the environment isn’t treated re-infestations can occur.