August is Itchy Pet Awareness Month! This was created to help spread information and awareness about skin disease in pets. This is one topic that is definitely going to be very relevant to many of you. Our furry pals do get quite itchy sometimes! Itching may not be an immediate, life-threatening emergency, but it is generally an indication that there is something going on that needs to be addressed. A local Kerrville, TX vet offers some information on this below.
There is an official medical term for itching: pruritus. This is just as uncomfortable for pets as it is for people! Itching can be caused by a number of things. Parasitic bites—especially from fleas—are one of the most common culprits. It’s much, much easier to prevent flea infestations than it is to treat them. Keep up with your furry pal’s preventative care!
Allergies are another common cause. Fido and Fluffy can be allergic to all sorts of things. Seasonal allergies would include pollens, leaves, and grasses. Food allergies can also manifest as itchiness. Pets may also react to ingredients in their shampoos or certain materials. (They can also be allergic to fleas, which would make an infestation doubly irritating.) Medical conditions, such as mange, can also cause itchiness.
While scratching is the most obvious sign of itching, it isn’t the only one. Pets may also rub or lick themselves, or perhaps groom themselves excessively. You may also notice thinning fur, or redness or flaking of the skin. Any of these things should warrant a call to the vet. If your pet keeps scratching, they could end up with scabs, hair loss, and/or bleeding cuts, which can lead to painful skin infections.
If your furry pal is itching, you’ll need to go to the vet’s to determine what is making him uncomfortable. Avoid OTC options, as you could be wasting time—or even making matters worse—by using the wrong product. Once the culprit has been identified, your vet will be able to provide you with specific treatment options. These may include medication, special shampoos, dietary restrictions, and/or various home care options. Your vet may also recommend an oatmeal or apple cider vinegar bath, though this of course depends on what’s causing the itch.
Do you have questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your Kerrville, TX animal clinic, anytime!