Various skin disorders usually occur with some frequency in dogs and, due to the wide variety of pathologies that may be related to them, their diagnosis by the veterinarian tends to be difficult.
That is why it is convenient to know what are the most common diseases that affect the skin of dogs, in order to be clear about the causes that generate them and what treatments can be followed to cure them.
¿What are skin infections?
The cutaneous infections are alterations produced in the skin of the animal and that are generated by the invasion of certain type of pathogens, such as fungi, bacteria or parasites. Pathogens can be found both in the dog’s own organism and in the environment.
Pyoderma or skin infections caused by bacteria are usually caused when there are diseases that weaken the animal’s defenses. These infections show redness of the skin, pimples with pus, hair fall, intense itching and bad smell in the affected area.
On the other hand, dermatophytosis or fungal skin infection usually develops in animals that have low defenses or by contact with infected animals; This pathology is very contagious both among animals and towards humans. It usually has scaling and hair loss.
External parasites such as lice, fleas and ticks can also cause skin infections, being a very common condition in dogs. This type of pathology also occurs with certain types of microscopic parasites such as mites.
¿What is the treatment for this type of skin infections?
In the case of skin infections caused by bacteria, the treatment consists of topical therapy with the application of disinfectant baths and the use of local or systemic antibiotics on the animal’s skin.
For skin infections caused by fungi, it is common to perform a treatment with certain types of topical fungicidal lotions, although in more complicated cases the veterinarian can use oral medication.
The treatment of skin infections caused by parasites will depend on the type of external agent that causes it. Thus, when they are caused by lice, fleas or ticks, the application of external antiparasitic agents will suffice.
However, if the dog has scabies as a product of microscopic parasite infection, treatment includes the application of topical acaricides in the case of a localized infection, or systemic acaricides in generalized cases.
Allergies in dogs
Itching, rashes, hair loss and redness of the skin, are some of the symptoms that usually occur in the animal when we face a picture of allergy in dogs. This type of allergy is usually caused either by a reaction to contact with the environment or by the intake of any food.
When the allergy is caused by food, it will be enough to establish a diet free of allergens to relieve the animal’s health. If the allergy is caused by environmental factors, the veterinarian advises to perform intradermal tests to determine the appropriate vaccine to control the disease.
In addition to the aforementioned skin alterations, it is also possible that formations of variable appearance may occur in the animal’s skin; It is up to the veterinarian to determine if the dog suffers from any type of tumor lesion.
Cutaneous histiocytoma is one of the most common tumors that occur in dogs; It is benign in nature and is usually presented as a slight lump in the skin, free of hair. The specialist recommends its extraction via surgical intervention in order to avoid any subsequent complications.
The cutaneous mastocytoma, on the other hand, is a malignant tumor of variable form, similar to warts or other skin lesions. At the beginning, a nodule is observed on the skin that varies in size and shape as time goes by. The veterinarian performs a cytology to determine the disease and performs the removal by surgical intervention.
Sessions of radiotherapy or chemotherapy usually accompany the treatment of this pathology.
Cutaneous hyperkeratosis in dogs
Another of the very common skin disorders in dogs is hyperkeratosis, a pathology generated by the excessive production of keratin in the pads of the animal, causing hardening and cracking of the skin.
Although hyperkeratosis can develop spontaneously in healthy adult animals, it can also be a symptom of a lack of zinc or the presence of some type of systemic pathology.
In case the specialized veterinarian identifies a specific disease, he will carry out the treatment according to said pathology. If hyperkeratosis occurs spontaneously, it will perform a topical treatment with creams and moisturizing medications.
Other skin diseases in dogs
There are other skin disorders that usually occur in dogs. Canine acne, for example, is an inflammatory process caused by irritation of the animal’s hair follicles, which favors the multiplication of bacteria.
As in humans, acne treatment in dogs involves cleaning the affected area with disinfectant lotions. This pathology tends to appear in the area of the lips and chin and is more common in puppies than in adult dogs.
Some systemic diseases can also cause skin disorders in dogs. It is the case of leishmaniosis that can cause scaling, hyperkeratosis and hair loss around the eyes and ears.
Some hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome can also cause skin changes and hair loss.
This has been a brief summary of the main skin disorders that occur most frequently in dogs. The wide variety of possible causes makes it essential to visit the veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis of the problem and the application of the most appropriate treatment for each case.