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Pet Dermatology

Pet Dermatology - An Overview

Common Skin Conditions Seen In Dogs & Cats

Here, we have listed some of the most common skin conditions and provided you with the typical symptoms, and possible treatment. In some instances (when possible), we’ve included information about treatment that can be done with readily available at-home remedies. However, we would like to remind you that most skin conditions can be difficult to treat and will require veterinary assistance.

We will work closely with you to diagnose, treat and monitor any skin, ear, nail or foot problem your pet may have. We are here to help your pet with problems such as diseases of the skin, dog or cat ear infections or immune-mediated problems.

Dermatology-Immune Related Skin Disorders

Your pet’s immune system plays a large role in many of the dermatology problems in both dogs and cats that we see at Tri-County Animal Hospital. Just like humans who can inherit allergies in the “gene lottery”, our canine & feline counterparts can have this unfortunate trait passed down to them. Pet’s often show allergic reactions to certain grasses, plants, and even certain types of food. While humans generally show allergies through sneezing, dogs and cats usually show through their skin.

In dogs, susceptibility to demodectic mange is another example of an immune related skin problem. This is a skin issue caused my microscopic mites, and can be relatively common in puppies. Diagnosis is determined through a simple skin scraping. Our veterinarians will look under the microscope to see if these mites are the cause of your dog’s skin condition, and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Environmental Related Skin Disorders (Sometimes Physical / Self Inflicted)

Environmental skin disorders are another common problem that we see at our animal hospital. The majority of these conditions are caused by excessive licking or chewing of the skin. In order to solve this challenge, our veterinarian not only treats the visible skin problem, but also determines the underlying problem that is causing your dog or cat to chew on themselves.

Lick granulomas are an example of this type of skin condition. Oftentimes, dogs will lick themselves so excessively that an open wound is left behind. While there could be numerous reasons for this type of self-destructive behavior, it is usually the result of a psychological issue (boredom, stress, anxiety). Our Staff will work to pinpoint the cause and help eliminate the harmful behavior.

Infectious Skin Disorders

Infectious skin diseases occur in both cats and dogs, and can be both contagious or non-contagious. The contagious infections fall under a broad range of viral, parasitic, fungal and bacterial diseases. Ringworm is one common example of this type of skin disorder. This fungal skin infection is contagious to dogs, cats and even humans. Diagnosis is determined through a culture, during which time, Dr. Silberman will advise treatment for your pet accordingly.

Another example of an infectious skin disorder is a staph infection. Staph infection is caused by bacteria belonging to genus Staphylococcus, and usually presents on the skin as scales or severe redness. In these cases, Dr. Silberman will examine your pet and often take cotton swab culture samples and perform cytologic evaluation under the microscope.

Secondary Conditions Caused By Internal Diseases

Sometimes, skin conditions are simply the manifestation of larger, underlying illnesses in your dog or cat. Many hormonal abnormalities have the ability to affect the quality of your pet’s skin and coat. In dogs, thyroid disease and Cushing’s Disease (hyperadrenocorticism), causing skin issues are probably the most common. Among cats, hyperthyroidism and diabetes may cause a dull coat, very matted fur, and in some cases, lose patches of hair from over-grooming. Dr. Silberman will determine which treatment is best for your pet, and discuss all available options with you.

  • The Pet Health Library contains information on some of the most common medical problems of dogs and cats. This information is designed to assist pet owners in better understanding their pets' health problems.
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  • In the United States, there are millions more owned cats than owned dogs, yet cats visit veterinarians less frequently than dogs. A major reason is that it is very stressful to take cats to the veterinary practice and often owners believe their cat doesn't need routine check-ups for wellness and preventive care. The Cat Friendly Practice® (CFP) program, created by expert feline practitioners, provides a solution to this trend and provides an opportunity for veterinary practices to elevate care for cats and reduce the stress during the visit.
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