Pet Skin Problems are Challenging!

Pet skin problems are almost always a challenge to resolve. However while there is no doubt that the skin is a complex physical and physiological structure, we need to remember a few basic factors when dealing with pet skin problems .

1) The skin can only respond in a limited number of ways to a vast array of challenges. Thus few clinical signs concerning skin can be attributed to a single cause.

2) Many skin problems are multifactorial. So again, the clinical picture you and the vet see can rarely be ascribed to a single cause.

3) The above two points mean that it is often very difficult to make a quick, definitive diagnosis in skin cases.

4) The longer a skin condition exists before it is investigated, the less likely it is to be satisfactorily resolved.This is because over time, other factors are likely to come into play and complicate the picture and the diagnostic process.

5) Skin takes a long-ish time to repair and heal. Thus the efficacy of any treatment can normally only be judged over a period of weeks or even months.

6) Skin problems that start off occurring seasonally (typically summer) are usually linked to an allergy. However, not all allergies need start off with a seasonal pattern of occurrence.

7) In cats and dogs, the skin is typically the "target" organ for allergies. Thus almost all types of allergies can manifest clinically as an itchy skin.

8) Often one has to settle for managing a skin problem rather than curing it. This is particularly true of allergies where one cannot identify the offending allergen(s).

Remember however that hair or coat shedding is a NORMAL physiological process than should only be considered abnormal if there are bald patches of skin showing.

The cause of most pet skin problems (including dog skin problems ) will usually fit into one or more of the following broad categories:

1) Congenital (i.e. born with the problem)/ Hereditary

2) Allergies

3) External Parasites

4) Diet imbalance

5) Hormone Imbalance

6) Infectious organism(s)

7) Growths

8) Immune Mediated

Pet skin problems are almost always challenging to resolve and require dedication on the part of the pet owner to either overcome the problem or at least manage it in such a way that the pet has a satisfactory quality of life.