7 Common Skin Conditions in Cats and Dogs

Does your dog or cat have an itch that just isn’t going away? Constant itching, scratching, licking and chewing can cause both pets and their owners a lot of distress, especially when left untreated. From incessant scratching to noticeable patches, these conditions not only cause discomfort but can also indicate underlying health issues. Let’s delve into some of the common skin conditions that can get under the skin of your pet.

  1. Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Fleas aren’t just irritating pests; they can trigger allergic reactions in pets, leading to Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). When fleas bite, some dogs and cats have an allergic immune reaction to the fleas’ saliva. This condition manifests through intense itching, redness, and skin lesions, particularly at the base of the tail and around the neck.
  2. Atopic Dermatitis: Atopic Dermatitis is akin to human eczema and often results from environmental allergens like pollen, mould, or dust mites. Pets afflicted with this condition experience itching, redness, and sometimes, secondary infections. Environmental allergies can exacerbate existing skin conditions or manifest independently. Some pets may only be affected during certain times of year while others may have year-round issues.
  3. Hot Spots (Acute Moist Dermatitis): Hot spots are painful, moist, red lesions that develop rapidly, typically due to incessant licking, scratching, or underlying skin infections. They require prompt attention to prevent further irritation and potential bacterial growth.
  4. Ringworm (Dermatophytosis): Contrary to its name, ringworm is not caused by worms but rather a fungal infection. Common in both dogs and cats, ringworm presents as circular, scaly patches with hair loss, and can spread to other pets or humans. Prompt treatment is essential to contain its spread.
  5. Ear Infections: While not solely a skin condition, ear infections are common in both cats and dogs, often caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites. Symptoms include head shaking, scratching at the ears, and a foul odour. Regular ear cleaning and prompt veterinary care can help prevent these uncomfortable infections.
  6. Mange: A severe skin condition caused by several species of mites that live on the hair and skin of cats and dogs. Mites are microscopic parasites with the most common types being scabies and demodex. Symptoms may vary but often include intense itching, hair loss, redness, and may be followed by bacterial infections. Early detection and appropriate management are crucial to alleviate discomfort and prevent the spread of mites to other pets or humans in the household.
  7. Food Allergies: Although they are less common compared to environmental allergies, food allergies can also contribute to skin issues in cats and dogs. Certain proteins or ingredients in pet food can trigger allergic reactions, resulting in symptoms such as itching, redness, and gastrointestinal upset. Food allergies can cause generalised itching and skin inflammation. Identifying the allergen through an elimination diet or food allergy testing is essential for managing these conditions.

Treating Skin Issues

We have many options for the treatment of skin conditions in pets. Treatment will depend on the cause but may be as simple as putting your dog or cat on a parasite preventive or starting oral, topical, or injectable medications such as an antibiotic or antifungal. 

Dietary supplementation or alteration, as well as regular skin conditioning, are also cornerstones for managing skin conditions.

Getting Relief From Skin Issues in Your Pet

Understanding and recognising common skin conditions in our pets is crucial for their well-being. Regular grooming, flea prevention, and prompt veterinary care are essential steps in maintaining healthy skin and overall happiness for furry companions.

If you notice any unusual symptoms or changes in your pet’s skin, please don’t hesitate to contact us and book a consultation for proper diagnosis and treatment. After all, a healthy pet is a happy pet!