Skin disease in dogs is a prevalent condition which we frequently see secondary to allergies in the form of infections caused by bacteria or yeast. Most skin problems in dogs present as itchy skin and can be due to skin parasites such as mites or fleas, or bacteria, or yeast. Occasionally we can see immune-mediated skin diseases or primary disease which are not itchy like seborrhea which may be breed related.

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

Bacterial skin diseases are usually secondary to an underlying allergy where the microenvironment of the skin has been changed due to allergic condition and caused the healthy bacteria to be overgrown thus resulting in lesions and itch and smell. Diagnosis is made by cytology where samples are taken and looked at under the microscope for evidence of the type of bacteria which usually cause bacterial infections. Sometimes we will do a culture and sensitivity if the disease does not respond well, to see if the lab can grow a resistant bacteria and which antibiotic may be effective.

What are the causes, symptoms and treatment of ringworms?

Ringworm is a fungus and not a worm. It is contracted by exposure to infected spores that have been dropped in the environment by an infected animal. It usually causes crusted lesions that have started to lose fur. It may or may not be itchy. Treatment can be very complicated and requires long-term treatment of the pet with oral and topical antifungals and treatment of the environment to get rid of the infective spores. Typically puppies will be more likely to be infected.

What are the causes and treatment of allergic skin diseases?

Allergic skin disease is usually caused by the development of sensitivity to allergens in the environment after being exposed for the second season. In humans, this often presents as hay fever with itchy runny eyes and nose, but in dogs, it is most common to develop itchy skin. Treatment involves various types of anti-itch medications; shampoos and antifungals and antibiotics to control the secondary overgrowth of bacteria and yeast; allergy serums to allow the dog to develop a tolerance to the allergen; food trials to make sure there are no food allergens that are causing a sensitivity.

What are the causes and treatment of parasitic skin diseases?

Parasitic skin diseases are often contracted by dogs from exposure to other infected dogs. Fleas and Sarcoptic mites would be examples of contagious parasitic skin diseases.

What are the causes and treatment of hormonal skin diseases?

Hormonal skin diseases usually involve thinning of the skin and coat due to changes in the level of hormones. Some examples are thyroid hormone deficiency, overproduction of cortisol by the adrenal glands. These conditions tend not to be itchy compared to allergies or parasitic skin diseases.

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