Why is my pet so itchy?

posted: by: Wellington Veterinary Hospital Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Is your pet licking, scratching or rubbing more than normal? These are common signs of a skin condition. They can be related to environmental allergies, parasites and fleas, food sensitives, or behavioural habits. 

Some common symptoms are:
- red patches, spots or pimples
- scabs, crusts, or thickened skin
- flaky or scaly patches
- itching, scratching, rubbing or licking
- hair loss
- bad skin odour

Environmental Allergies
Your pets skin is a crucial barrier to allergens which helps keep them comfortable and healthy. Environmental allergies can occur anytime of the year, with symptoms flaring up especially in the springtime like us. Your pets exposure to these airborne allergens is unavoidable but with the help of your veterinary team can be controlled. Skin allergies tend to be chronic and require life long management through medicated baths, supplements, diet, and medications. 

Parasites and Fleas
There are many skin parasites than can cause itchiness and irritation. Fleas, lice, mites, and ticks can all cause discomfort from the bites. Some pets develop a hypersensitivity to these bites as well, be sure to get them examined at the first sign of symptoms. Preventive medications are the best way to prevent, control and kill these parasites and flea. 

Food Sensitivities 
Similar to us, pets can develop food allergies to certain proteins in their food. Reputable food companies such as, Hills, Royal Canin and Rayne, have developed diets with novel proteins that are suitable for any type of food allergy. Choosing the right diet is essential to help control and prevent flare ups. Your veterinarian can perform appropriate allergy tests to determine a suitable diet and treatment plan. 

Behavioural
Some pets will bite and scratch at themselves out of habit, anxiety, or boredom. For example: cats that have had skin flare ups in the past will remember the relief itching gives and in turn it becomes a habit leading to over grooming and open sores. Dogs on the other hand, will lick at their paws out of boredom causing the brown discoloration, possible redness and irritation. There are a wide range of supplements and medications that can help with these behavioural issues.

Secondary Infections
Itching and scratching can cause open sores which provides and open pathway for bacterial and fungal infections to start. Getting your pet seen at the first sign of skin irritations will help prevent it progressing into an infection. 

Getting your pet seen at the initial signs of a skin condition is the first step to help them feel better. Your veterinarian will discuss all the possible diagnoses and provide you with the appropriate tests, steps, and treatments. Staying on top of your pets skin health is essential to keeping them healthy and comfortable to live a happy long life :) 

Please contact us today to book an appointment!