Updated: Apr 20
We see a lot of itchy pets, and we know how frustrating skin issues can be. There are many possible causes of your pet’s itchy skin; and most chronic skin issues are caused by a combination of things.
Common causes of itchy skin: Allergies (i.e. fleas, food, environmental) Mites (i.e. demodex, scabies) Fungus (i.e .‘‘ringworm”) Secondary bacterial & fungal infections (i.e. staph, yeast)
HOW you can HELP your itchy pet:
Schedule a visit to see your veterinarian
We will perform a physical exam (PE), ask you questions about your pet’s symptoms, and may recommend the following diagnostics:
A fungal culture to rule out fungal infections.
Impression cytology to look for certain inflammatory cells, yeast, & bacteria.
Bacterial culture & susceptibility to identify bacteria & guide treatment.
Skin scrape to look for mites.
Treatment options vary based on the underlying cause(s), and may involve topical products (medicated shampoo, mousse, wipes), as well as injectable and oral medications.
Ask us about APOQUEL and CYTOPOINT!
Ensure that your pet is protected from fleas, tick, and mites
Ectoparasite (i.e. fleas, ticks, mites) prevention is essential to your pet’s health.
Keep your pet on a preventative all year.
Ideally, use a product like BRAVECTO, which comes as a chewable product for dogs and a topical for cats; and protects your pet from fleas, ticks (and mites). Bravecto must be used EVERY 12 WEEKS (~ 3 months) to maximize protection.
IF you have an active flea infestation at your house:
All pets must be put on a preventive product like Bravecto.
Frequent cleaning, including vacuuming and laundry, are essential for getting rid of fleas. Even if you cannot see them, flea eggs and larvae often live on your pet’s bedding, and on your floors, furniture, and carpets.
Do NOT use ‘human’ shampoo or conditioner on your pet (unless your vet recommended it).
Avoid heavily fragranced shampoos.
Even though these may make your pet smell great, they can also exacerbate inflamed itchy skin disease, and even trigger a flare up.
Ask your vet about medicated shampoos, mousse, sprays, and wipes.
Safely controls microbes on the skin/fur AND soothes/repairs skin.
ie. DUOXO PS (chlorhexidine, climbazole, phytosphingosine).
Lather & let sit on skin for 5-10 minutes prior to rinsing.
Often recommended to treat flare ups of inflamed skin (ie. use every 2-3 days for 2 weeks).
Also great for routine bathing and prevention of flare ups (ie. use every 2-4 weeks).
Regular brushing and clipping of problem areas that are prone to becoming matted.
Ask your veterinarian about options, DOSING, and recommendations for your pet.
Benadryl & zyrtec are commonly used and available over the counter.
Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplements
Omega 3 Fatty Acids have powerful natural anti-inflammatory properties that may help to combat and prevent many inflammatory conditions (skin, arthritis, etc).
Pets with food allergies are usually allergic to one or many animal proteins (ie. chicken, beef).
Switching to a grain free diet will not necessarily help.
The only way to know if your pet has a food allergy is to do a DIET ELIMINATION TRIAL.
Ask your vet about this, if you are interested in learning more.
THE BOTTOM LINE – PREVENTION is KEY!
Recurrent or chronic non-resolving episodes of skin (and ear) issues can result in repeated steroid, antifungal, and antibiotic use. Chronic use of oral antibiotics and steroids are expensive in the long run, can lead to antibiotic resistance (i.e. MRSA), and adverse effects (weight gain, increased thirst and urination, stomach ulcers, endocrine issues, organ failure, etc). Thus, our goal is to find the right combination of prevention and treatment to keep your pet stable without skin flare-ups.