Scritch, Scratch, Flora Needs a Flea Bath – Or Maybe Not! Skin Diseases That Affect Dogs
Say your favorite canine companion, Flora, seems to be scratching a lot lately. Your first assumption may be that she is having issues with fleas, or that increases in scratching are nothing to worry about. After all, on surface level, a dog scratching is just an annoyance, and the most harmful thing it can do is spew more dog hair than you might prefer everywhere and in between, right? Wrong.
Dogs, like humans, can suffer from a variety of skin diseases, ranging from inconvenient to dangerous. If Flora is scratching in excess, make sure to take this seriously. Her comfort, your cleanliness of house, and maybe even her life may depend on it.
ParasitesParasites like Ticks and Fleas are always a possibility for your pooch, so if Flora is scratching a lot in the same area, comb through with your fingers to see if you can see anything. Ticks are very visible, fleas a bit less so. Parasites are both highly treatable and highly preventable. A variety of collars, sprays, and shampoos can help Flora from getting parasites, and pills, shots, and shampoos can help get rid of them. The bigger issue is that parasites can carry more severe diseases to your furry best friend, so make sure you put a lot of efforts towards prevention!
Symptoms Commonly Mistaken for DiseasesThere are a few symptoms of multiple skin diseases in dogs that may be mistaken for the problem, rather than a symptom. These include dermatitis and eczema – inflammation, rashes, which are caused by external factors like ringworm, poison ivy, and hair loss. These symptoms can help diagnose Flora's problem, but are not, themselves, the disease. This means that even if Flora's inflammation goes away, or her hair loss stops, she may not be cured. Try to keep a watchful eye out for repetition of symptoms like these, as they may be the sign of a more serious problem. All of that being said, sometimes Flora may just have an itch, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
TumorsAbout 50% of tumors in dogs are cancerous. If Flora is scratching, licking, or biting the same spot constantly, rub over it with your hands and see if you can feel a lump. It is a good idea in your pup to check for tumors about once a month, especially when they get older. Mast Cell Tumors and Melanomas, which are malignant, and fatty tumors, which are benign, all feel the same to a pet owner, so if you find a lump anywhere on Flora, get her into the vet right away. Sometimes tumors can be treated or removed, and sometimes they're harmless. Either way, acting fast can be the difference between life and death for Flora.
If Flora is scratching, don't ignore her discomfort. She doesn't have thumbs so she can't dial the vet herself. She doesn't speak, so she can't tell you what's wrong. She is showing you that she's hurting, so help her out! Find out what's wrong so you can help your furry family member heal back to perfect health and happiness.
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